(Nonprofits+Politics)2.0

June 23, 2009

Let the world know about your events

Filed under: Nonprofit, Politics, Technology — Tags: , , , , , — kgilnack @ 2:22 am

The interwebs offer a variety of free tools to meet a variety of organizational needs.  One need that comes up frequently is to raise awareness of events and increase attendance.  Here’s a quick look at some of the free sites you can use to promote your organization’s events.

This is a work in progress that will likely be revised several times, but here’s a start (I hope you’ll let me know what I forgot)…

General Event Websites

  • Craigslist.com
    • Description:A very basic, community-oriented site for posting – among many, many other thingsevents.  While it’s a fairly bare-bones system, don’t miss the added exposure available from the volume of traffic that this site sees.   Users can also post topics of conversations in forums on politics, volunteers, local news, and classes (but don’t be spammy!)
    • Features: Free, easy event postings with a simple interface on a community site with lots of traffic.
    • Selling tickets? Bummer – make sure you include a link to where people can buy them in your post!
  • Eventful
    • Description: This service combines event listings with social networking, allowing users create profiles, find friends and share events.  While it seems to have been created to promote concerts, it has a wide range of categories that includes politics, organizations, fundraisers, neighborhoodshealth, learning, and more.
    • Features: This free tool will let you post your events and have them easily discoverable by people looking for them; however, you won’t find the robust promoter features of Eventbrite or going.com.
    • Selling tickets? Too bad – make sure you include a link to where people can buy them in your post!
  • Going.com
    • Description: “Going helps you find fun things to do and fun people to meet.”  Like Eventful, Going tries to combine event listings with social networking by providing far more features for event-seekers.  Users create profiles, join groups, and connect with friends – as well as sharing the events they’re attending.  Going seems dominated by social and recreational events, but there is no reason that many of the events nonprofits are holding wouldn’t fall under their culture, music, activities, neighborhoods, schools, and even networking categories.
    • Features: Track and print guestlists, sell tickets, and email your list, set vanity URLs, promote to 2 targeted groups, and make events searchable by category
    • Selling tickets? Apparently you can sell tickets through Google Checkout, but I couldn’t find the feature in posting an event and couldn’t find documentation.
    • Disclaimer/Disclosure: I recently joined this service to explore it and was incredibly frustrated when my attempt to uncheck the “Invite all of the friends in your address book to join us” feature failed.  I pretty clearly remember unchecking it, but perhaps the page refreshed or there was some human error.  Either way after emailing my full addressbook once, it sent a second unprompted or solicited reminder, again under my name of course (with the obnoxious subject line “Hey, you never responded to my friend request on Going”).  The latter part of that anecdote is what really concerns me about just how aggressive they are and made me question their ethics.  There was no indication that they’d email my contacts a second time, nor an option to prevent that from happening.
  • Idealist.org
    • Description: Idealist.org is “an interactive site where people and organizations can exchange resources and ideas, locate opportunities and supporters, and take steps toward building a world where all people can lead free and dignified lives.”  While this site has the lowest traffic of those on the list, it is also visited by people likely to be interested in getting involved in their community.
    • Features: Free, public, searchable event listings, which you can promote to up to three categories to increase search results, and event registration.
    • Selling tickets? Drag, but at least you can take RSVPs and try to drive traffic to your site.
    • Disclaimer: Judging by the amount of event postings compared to people, jobs, organizations, volunteer opportunities, and other types of postings, this is still an up-and-coming features.  As always though, if you have a free opportunity to reach a potential target audience, why not?
  • Upcoming (a service of yahoo.com)
    • Description: Upcoming is “a community for discovering and sharing events. It can help you find stuff to do, discover what your friends are doing, or let you keep private events online for your own reference.” If you’d like, read more about Upcoming.  The service also allows you to post public events, and while there are very few in our Politics category, that just means your events will be easier to find by Upcoming users and many nonprofit events are likely to fit into the Education, Other, and Social categories.
    • Features: Quick, easy, free event postings that include a link specifically to direct people to buy tickets (in addition to a general info link).
    • Selling tickets? That’s a shame, but it does allow RSVPs and includes a link in your events specifically to buy tickets.
  • Yelp
    • Description: Yelp’s purpose is to “connect people with great local businesses,” and while you might think of them for reviews, this is a great place to let people you might not have otherwised reached know about your upcoming fundraisers and other events.
    • Features: Like Upcoming, Yelp provides quick, easy, free event postings that include a link specifically to direct people to buy tickets (in addition to a general info link).  It also has an event category specifically for charities.
    • Selling tickets? Oh well.. but (also like Upcoming) it does allow RSVPs and includes a link in your events specifically to buy tickets.

Please note that my intent was to introduce you to the free, general event sharing services out there.  While some of them have a social networking aspect by allowing user profiles and friending, I plan to talk more in a future post about how you can use Facebook and other major social networks to promote events.  In the meantime, think about if you’re better suited for a Facebook Group or Fan Page, and if you choose Fan Pages, be sure to read these great tips from Beth Kanter.

If you want to pay a nominal fee for a service that allows you to build groups and share events with people you know want to attend events, check out Meetup.com.

Curious about the reach of these sites? Good for you! That’s an important question to ask when thinking about using any new tool.  As you can see right below, Eventful has been seeing lots of growth (though even if you can’t tailor content for every site, it will only increase awareness of your event and traffic to your site to copy and paste onto all of them!).

For context, Craigslist is now receiving more than 50 million every month.  But, that site attracts traffic for a variety of topics and that doesn’t make the other event sites any less useful.

As an added bonus for anyone interested in Massachusetts politics or nonprofits, here are just a few of my favorite listservs and blogs for learning about upcoming events…

Nonprofit

  • Boston Young Nonprofit Professionals Network: connects young nonprofit professionals in the Boston area to professional development resources, career development opportunities, and social networking.
  • Mission-Based Massachusetts: an email distribution list for people who care about nonprofit, philanthropic, educational, community-based, grassroots, socially responsible, and other mission-oriented organizations in the Bay State.

Politics

  • Blue Mass Group provides “reality-based commentary on politics and policy in Massachusetts and around the nation.”

Please help – this is a work in progress! I already know that I’m forgetting some great services, listservs, and blogs, so please leave a comment and remind me so we can have a comprehensive list.

Have other tips for spreading the word about your events?  Do tell…

Advertisements

3 Comments »

  1. […] I’m wondering if something like Eventbrite or the other services I’ve compared before might be a better RSVP tools for people coming form email anyway.  Unlike Facebook, these tools […]

    Pingback by Good Old Fashioned Rallying « (Nonprofits+Politics)2.0 — September 9, 2009 @ 1:30 am

  2. Had never thought of using Craigslist for nonprofits. Love it!

    Comment by melindaklewis — December 10, 2009 @ 10:25 pm

  3. […] until I read this post, I’d never thought about how nonprofit organizations might use Craigslist for their work, […]

    Pingback by Craigslist and Nonprofit Advocacy « Classroom to Capitol — February 11, 2010 @ 10:00 pm


RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: