The 3 Biggest Mistakes Non-Profit Event Marketers Make

For most associations, an annual convention or tradeshow can make or break its finances for the year. This means that non-profit event marketers must ensure that these events meet attendance and budget projections, with little room for error.

So what are the three biggest mistakes non-profit event marketers make, and how can these be corrected?


1. Assuming prospective attendees already know the basics.

Maybe your annual convention falls on the same date at the same location every year, but you can’t bank on attendees knowing this. Ensure that all marketing blasts include dates, locations, and—most importantly—the reason why they should attend the event. Have a quick and compelling value proposition about your event included in every communication so that prospective attendees understand exactly why this event matters to them.

Added tip: Don’t let your marketing look like acronym alphabet soup! If your association uses acronyms for special programs, designations or session tracks, be sure to spell these out so that first-time attendees understand what you’re referencing.


2. No clear call-to-action.

If someone came to your event’s webpage, would they know how to get to the registration page? Could they easily find the registration link in your e-blasts? Make sure that the website has easy navigation and that there is a “register now” link available from every single page on the site. Similarly, make sure that this link is prominent in your e-blasts; after all, you’ve already shown them that your event is a must-attend, so why make them work harder than they need to in order to complete the buying process?

Added tip: Use buttons instead of text links whenever possible, as these will stand out quickly and easily when a reader is scrolling.


3. Not adjusting your marketing plan as needed.

Because non-profit event marketers are stretched thin on resources, budgets and time, it’s tempting to “set it and forget it” when it comes to your marketing plan. But no matter how much you plan, there will be surprises along the way. Perhaps a speaker changes, or the hotel room block fills up. Maybe you reach record attendance and have to cut off registration in order to stay within your venue capacity. Or, perhaps registration is sluggish and you need to create a special offer to drive attendance. No matter what happens, you must constantly monitor your marketing benchmarks to ensure that you remain on course.

By avoiding (or correcting) these mistakes, your event and organization will be poised for continued success.