Whether you’re a fundraising professional fresh on the scene or a seasoned auction organizer, you know there’s nothing more fulfilling than seeing months of careful planning and preparation culminate in a successful fundraising event. However, you also know that event planning has a lot of moving parts— from finding a venue and securing sponsors to planning catering and booking entertainment— that can cause your team a great deal of stress.
One of the most important parts of event planning is getting the word out to your organization’s supporters and getting them registered for the big day. The most effective way to get the ball rolling on promotion and registration is to create an event landing page on your nonprofit’s website.
You might be thinking, “I’m no web designer— how can I set up an event landing page that actually gets results?” The good news is that you don’t have to know everything about coding and web design to create an excellent event page that pulls in ticket sales and completed registration forms.
Instead, all you’ll need is the right nonprofit website builder that provides you with great design tools, plus some knowledge of landing page best practices. Here are five tips you can follow to create the best landing page possible:
- Design with user experience in mind.
- Include all necessary event information.
- Offer easy-to-use registration forms.
- Encourage attendees to share event details.
- Sell products to boost event sales.
There’s no doubt that event planning is difficult, but with some guidance, you can use your content management system (CMS) to help take the stress out of the promotion and registration processes. Let’s jump in!
1. Design with user experience in mind.
We’ve all visited event landing pages that are designed poorly. Often these pages are dead set on delivering information just to get you to buy a ticket, but don’t provide easy access to that information. And sometimes pages like these just aren’t pleasing to look at.
Your organization doesn’t have to settle for a poorly designed event landing page, though. According to Morweb’s article on the best nonprofit websites, “You don’t have to sacrifice quality content for a captivating design.” This means that with a little attention to detail and the right CMS, you can have the best of both worlds.
Here are some user experience best practices you should follow when creating your landing page:
- Ensure the page is mobile responsive. It’s frustrating for smartphone and tablet users to use a web page that doesn’t fit their devices. This can force users to “pinch to zoom,” prevent them from seeing images properly, and set them up to deal with pop-ups they can’t “x” out of. Make sure the website builder you’re using allows for automatic mobile responsiveness so that everyone can learn about your event and register, no matter what device they’re using.
- Adhere to accessibility guidelines. Familiarize yourself with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) and take action to make sure your event landing page is ready for visitors of all abilities. These guidelines include providing alt text on all images, putting closed captions on multimedia elements, and using high contrast colors on all text and graphics.
- List information in a logical order. You can do this by thinking through what your potential event attendees will experience when they land on your event page. For example, you might provide dates and times at the top of the page, your registration and pricing information toward the middle of the page, and then encourage sharing at the bottom of the page. This will ensure that people quickly get the information they need to decide whether they’re going to register to attend the event.
- Utilize your organization’s branding. Your landing page should include the logos, fonts, and imagery that your supporters associate with your organization. This will help your event feel strongly connected to your organization, and, by default, your mission, reminding your supporters why they should register. Plus, when your event landing page’s branding is consistent with the rest of your site, your nonprofit will appear organized and professional, giving your reputation a little boost.
- Include strong visuals. Most often people support causes they care about because of a strong emotional connection. Tap into that emotional connection by including striking visuals on your landing page. For example, if you support at-risk school children by providing tutoring and school supplies, you might include a picture of some students you were able to help out because of your supporters’ contributions. Or, if your event is something like an annual gala, you might include an image from last year’s gala to show just how much fun your supporters can expect to have at this year’s event.
There’s no reason why you can’t provide a beautifully designed event landing page and all of the event information your supporters need to decide whether to register. Take a walk in your supporters’ shoes and try to anticipate their experience with your page— this will guide you as you design!
2. Include all necessary event information.
In the previous section, we focused primarily on the design of your event landing page. But you might be wondering what information you should include on your landing page, too. After all, you don’t want to overwhelm your supporters with too many details and give them the chance to jump ship. You want to give them the right of information to peak their interest enough that they register for your event.
Here’s the information you should be sure to include on your landing page:
- Logistics: Logistics covers the who, what, why, and where of your event. Clearly list the date and time for the event, and then list the intended audience for the event and what activities you’ll be doing. Make sure to connect the event to your larger fundraising goals and your overall mission to show supporters your “why.”
- Event format: The COVID-19 pandemic has gotten organizations more comfortable with hosting events in different formats. Specify whether your event will be virtual, hybrid, or in-person. If you’re hosting an in-person event, make sure to include information about any local COVID-19 guidelines you need your attendees to adhere to.
- Entertainment and sponsors: Get your supporters excited to come to your event by listing out the entertainment, whether that’s a local band, performing group, or a speaker. You should also list your event’s sponsors, not only as a courtesy to them, but also to get your guests excited about things like bidding for auction items donated by your sponsors.
- Pricing and capacity: Once a supporter is excited about your event, the number one question they’ll have on their mind is, “How much does it cost?” And supporters don’t want to be surprised by pricing information after filling out a registration form. Be upfront about pricing, and also answer capacity-related questions by letting your supporters know, for example, if they need to purchase an entire table.
If you want to provide some bonus information, try adding opportunities for further engagement at the bottom of your event landing page. For example, if your supporter feels inspired to make an extra contribution to your organization after registering for the event, give them the ability to do so easily— provide a link to your donation form. You might also include information about your volunteer opportunities, matching gifts, or your monthly giving program.
3. Offer easy-to-use registration forms.
The most important part of your event landing page is arguably the registration form. This is the tool you use to get your supporters committed to coming to your event and also collect their ticket or registration payment. What this means for you is that it’s well worth your time to work on specifically optimizing your form.
Taking inspiration from Morweb’s guide to donation page design, we recommend you do the following with your registration form:
- Ensure your form is mobile responsive.
- Keep the form short by only asking for necessary information and marking optional fields.
- Offer multiple payment options, including credit card, debit card, and ACH payments, and communicate to your supporters that your payment processor is secure.
When your registration form is fast, convenient, and easy to use, you’ll reduce the chance that your supporters will abandon their registration part way through, ensuring you’ll have a full house the day of your event.
4. Encourage attendees to share event details.
Whether your fundraiser is taking the form of a wine tasting or a family-friendly movie night, an excited supporter who has just completed their registration will likely be game to help promote your event. All you need to do is provide the tools for them to do so.
The right website builder can help you integrate your social media with your event landing page and allow you to provide social icons on your page so supporters can easily share your event details.
You’ll likely also need to encourage your supporters to take action. Try appealing to them on your registration confirmation page by saying something like, “Thank you for registering for our virtual gala! Share the event details with your friends and family so we can get even more people supporting our mission to save stray cats and dogs.”
You could also gamify social sharing. For example, put supporters’ names in a raffle when they share your event details on Instagram and tag your organization or when they share your event page on Facebook. You can announce the raffle winner at your event!
5. Sell products to boost event sales.
In addition to providing links to your donation page and information about matching gifts and recurring donations, there’s one last thing you can do to boost your event sales— sell some products on your event landing page! A nonprofit-specific CMS can help you set up an online storefront with a simple and secure checkout process, allowing you to pull in some extra fundraising dollars.
But what should you sell? This is where you can get a little creative. Try selling products that match the theme of your event.
For example, if you’re hosting a garden tea party, you might encourage your supporters to also buy some seed packets during their registration process. You could also offer branded merchandise like t-shirts, mugs, and water bottles. You can even sell branded face masks, a great option if your event will be in person!
Event planning can be stressful for everyone at your organization, but when you design a great event landing page, you won’t have to worry about event registration and promotion nearly as much. When you use an intuitive CMS and implement these five tips into your landing page design, you’ll be setting yourself up for a fun, successful fundraising event that can help you build relationships with your supporters and keep your mission moving forward.