When was the last time you logged onto Facebook because you really wanted to see what was going on at work? Probably… well, never.

That’s because social media outlets are a place we go to catch up on what our friends and family have been up to. To see what’s funny or interesting. To find things that we truly like and connect with.

So where does that leave your organization in terms of social media? In a place where you’re going against the grain, there are certain things you need in order to succeed. Especially when you’re trying to get the word out about a fundraising event on social media. At the AFP International Conference on Fundraising, Ritu Sharma presented on how we can leverage social media to make those steps a success.

Stage 1: Before the Event

Where to begin? First things first—you’ll need a registration page so that the floods of people can sign up to attend (we’re sure this will be the case, because your nonprofit ROCKS).

Easy enough—but not so fast. Your event should have a specific look, and your organization’s website should too. Sharma stressed the importance of making sure that your registration page matches the overall look of both your site and event. Plus—Sharma points out that you should drive every social touch to your registration page.

And now that you have a registration page, make sure to create an event on Facebook. That way, people that are already signed up can say they’re coming on the social media site. When they join the event, it’ll show up in their friends’ news feeds. That’s free publicity for you! Plus, they can invite their friends with the click of a button, helping to spread the reach of your event.

Next, build a list of key influences are interact with them. Who is influential or passionate about your cause? Who could help you spread the word about your fundraising event? Seek those people on social media and interact with them. They just might help you spread the word.

And as always, Sharma emphasized that the little things make a big difference. So, make sure you’re consistently doing these things:

  • Post regularly
  • Use more pictures and videos
  • Invite attendees to RSVP
  • Tag VIPs, attendees, partners & others so that their friends will see the post

Stage 2: During the Event

You’ve hyped it up and congrats are in order, because the big day is finally here. But in certain cases, you might want to live-tweet or cover the event. This rings especially true if you’re trying to reach a goal throughout the night and can update people who may not be in attendance. By setting up online donations, you can get those people who aren’t at the event to still contribute.

Plus, set up a hashtag for the event and then display the tweets rolling in by following the hashtag using a Twitter wall. Basically, these sites allow your organization to have a visually pleasing way to display what’s being said about your event or your hashtag. Try checking out sites like tweetbeam, twitterfontana or eventjoy.

Stage 3: After the Event

The event may be over, and you can breathe a sigh of relief for that. But that doesn’t mean your job on social media is done. There are ample opportunities to reflect on the event that just transpired and to lay the groundwork for the future.

Start by posting all of your coverage from the event. These are the types of things we talked about that you should be doing regularly—post any multimedia from the event that is engaging and your event attendees will want to see and interact with. Photos and videos are a great place to start.

Also, use your social media outlets to spread the love to your event volunteers and donors. Show your appreciation and thanks in front of the world. It’ll make them feel special. Plus, if you tag them in the posts you have a greater likelihood that their friends will see them.

If you’re still looking for more tips, check out this great resource for social media and your next event.

How has your organization used social media to leverage your fundraising event?