Guest Bartending Fundraising Success!

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In my last post I wrote about a fundraising event I was doing at AJ Bomber’s for the Urban Ecology Center and I am happy to report that it was a success!

AJ Bomber’s manager, Mike (@msorge), informed me that these guest bartending events typically bring in between $300 and $400 for the organization and that they most an event has raised is around $600. Having never done this before and not knowing what to expect, I was just hoping to bring in over $300. I sent out lots of tweets and facebook updates through my personal accounts and even got permission to send out a couple of messages through the Urban Ecology Center’s accounts (running their social media efforts is a big part of my job).

Only 11 people RSVPed ‘yes’ on the Twtvite created for the event, but there were many more than that present on Friday. It’s tough to say how many people came as a result of social media, but some of them definitely did. Here are a couple of things that I did to create some buzz about the event (most of these came from my wife Jill (@klinej), she had some great ideas!):

  1. I sent out a link to a twtvite. Joe Sorge, owner of AJ Bomber’s, set it up for me (as he does for all guest bartending events) and I tweeted and facebooked it like crazy! It served as a nice “landing page” for the event because it had all of the relevant information that people needed (like date, time, location, etc.) so that I didn’t have to try to include everything about the event in every message I sent. I was also able to update it with at facebook comment, which I did once I figured out the raffle prizes I would have for the night.
  2. I offered free raffle tickets for people who retweeted a message about the event and for people who RSVPed on the twtvite.

    This generated lots more tweets!

  3. I crowd sourced the name of the drink I was making. Most of the money I made from the event came from sales of a drink that I was allowed to make up. AJ Bomber’s gave me the vodka and other ingredients to use and I needed to come up with a name for the drink, what would be in it and how much it would cost. I really wanted a creative name for it so I asked people on Facebook and Twitter to send me suggestions. People sent me lots of great names! I settled on the “Urban Eco-Cooler” and announced the winning drink name to my friends and followers.
  4. I also sent personal invitation tweets and direct messages to some of the most influential people that I know on twitter. Many of the Retweeted my messages, sending the twtvite link out to a much larger audience!

Although my goal was to break $300, the event raised $545! I don’t know that any of these techniques would work for other events, but they did seem to work for this one! Have you seen social media used successfully to promote an event? Do you have other ideas that could be used to promote events like this? Please share by leaving a comment!

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