Exhibition Displays Can Bring Great Returns For Nonprofits!
Here’s an application for exhibition displays that not enough people think about these days: fundraising for nonprofits.
Sure, whenever I visit a show, I usually see one or two exhibition displays for nonprofit or fundraising ventures, but generally not too many. This is a little puzzling because fundraisingneeds the sort of face-to-face contact that exhibition displays can provide, so it seems like a good fit.
Trade shows might a bit expensive initially, but there are all sorts of ways to cut costs on exhibition displays to make them affordable to just about any enterprise – and the ROI available on that investment can be extremely valuable.
The more connections you can make at your trade show, the more benefit you’ll get from it. So, here are a few tips we’ve culled from recent trade show outings to help your nonprofit or fundraising venture put up exhibition displays that impress!
Tips For Nonprofit Exhibition displays
- Have a plan: Never put up your exhibition displays without having a concrete set of goals for the booth: How many pledges, how much money, how many new leads and social media contacts, etc. Besides giving you a goal to shoot for, it will give you a solid benchmark so you can focus on making your next trade show display perform even better.
- Stay on-message: More than with commercial exhibition displays, your exhibition appearances are going to be mostly about your cause. Try to keep self-promotion to a minimum, since people often look warily upon nonprofits that seem to be pushing themselves ahead of their cause.
- Have plenty of reference materials: You shouldn’t be giving away free toys (more on that in a moment) but you should have plenty of pamphlets, books, multimedia CD-ROMs, USB thumb drives, and any other medium you can think of for providing information about your organization and your cause. No one should walk away from your exhibition displays without something in their hand talking about why your cause deserves their money.
- Save your real goodies for pledges: Just like at an old PBS fundraiser, bring along a few high-value (relatively speaking) gifts to be given out to people pledging higher amounts right there at your booth. Having someone win the proverbial big teddy bear with a large donation will make for excellent word-of-mouth around the expo floor. Don’t simply give away your swag, or you’ll be sucked dry and left with few legitimate leads.
- Push social media hard: Try not to let too many people walk away without at least agreeing to follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. Especially focus on Facebook, since it’s currently the leader in social fundraising by a large margin. A large enough collection of new Facebook followers can pay for your exhibition displays all by itself.
- Sell T-Shirts: With most commercial exhibition displays, we wouldn’t necessarily recommend selling merchandise directly. However, with nonprofits, this is a perfectly fine strategy. Have a selection of the usual branded goodies and accoutrements for people who want to donate but want something to show for it.
- Consider crowdfunding: As we’ve talked about previously, crowdfunding is making its way into exhibition displays and can be a great success. You shouldn’t start a crowdfunded project specifically for a trade show, but exhibition displays are a great way to push one once it goes live. Time your Kickstarter launch to coincide with an exhibition appearance for best results!
This is a great time to be promoting nonprofit ventures with your exhibition displays. Don’t just sit there waiting for donors to come to you – go out and meet them instead!