October 19, 2018 By Integrate Agency

How to Build Engagement for Charity Events

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While media outreach is a traditional component of public relations, our efforts at Integrate also include community relations. On behalf of our clients, we are highly involved in partnering with local charities, and the majority of our community relations activities encompass organizing events, building engagement, and increasing charitable donations for our clients.


But we really enjoy helping our clients develop lasting, sustainable relationships with worthwhile charities and developing campaigns that benefit both parties.


Orangetheory Fitness Logo


One of our most successful charity campaigns is “Torture the Trainer” with Orangetheory Fitness. By assigning exercise reps to a trainer of their choice, Orangetheory Fitness members donate money to support a local charity. In 2016, Orangetheory Fitness partnered with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Houston raising more than $20,000. The fitness brand upped its game in 2017 by partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Texas Gulf Coast & Louisiana to raise more than $50,000 – enough to grant six wishes for six Houston kids.


In order to make the campaign successful, Integrate worked closely with each year’s charity to engage the audiences for both Orangetheory Fitness and the charity. During the most recent Torture the Trainer campaign, Integrate utilized traditional media, social media and in-studio promotions as key methods for building engagement for the campaign, securing more than 2,232,318 media impressions. And during the Facebook Watch Party for the results announcement at the Torture the Trainer event, we reached more than 32,000 Facebook users.


The Dos, Don'ts, and Definitelys of Building Engagement for Charity Events


When building engagement for a strategic charitable campaign, you should include four crucial concepts in your planning if you want to increase involvement, support, and engagement from your client and your client’s audience.


  1. Select a charity partner that relates to your brand and audience.


Your city probably has a multitude of charities, but it’s best to select a partner your brand and target audience really connect with. For instance, ask the client representative what charities they personally support or have been involved with in the past.


If you can obtain information from your client’s customers about their interests, use that to narrow down your options. Orangetheory Fitness historically supported local charities that benefit children, which is why Big Brothers Big Sisters and Make-A-Wish were the benefiting charities for Torture the Trainer.


  1. Work closely with the charity partner to create a well-rounded campaign.


It’s highly important to work side-by-side with the charity partner to promote the fundraiser, not only to your client’s target audience, but also to their target audience. This helps promote the fundraiser to more individuals, and in turn, increases engagement.


We recommend creating a playbook, or suggested guidelines/timeline for all partners involved. This ensures everyone is on the same page, as it lays out all requirements for promotions on each party’s behalf.

  1. Utilize media opportunities to boost exposure.


You must involve the charity partner in media opportunities. Exposure via online stories or TV interviews boosts engagement for the fundraiser, while providing exposure on a larger scale outside your internal audience.


By including the charity partner in interviews and media opportunities, you paint a full picture for your intended audiences by detailing exactly where their donations will go. Interviews with both your organization and charity representatives only enhance the segment or story.


  1. Highlight the campaign and fundraising progress through social media.


Finally, it’s 2018 – your social media platforms should be a major component of building engagement for any campaign. This includes advance promotion, highlighting the progress, sharing the day-of activities, and showcasing the results.


Social media allows you to tell the story and post behind-the-scenes photos and videos. Your followers receive more information about the campaign with the ultimate goal of motivating and encouraging them to support it. Depending on the length of the campaign, scheduling daily or weekly updates keeps the fundraiser top of mind for your followers.


After the campaign concludes, it’s important to share the success and results. Don’t just post a static photo or graphic of the results – be creative! For example, announce via Facebook Live or Instagram Live, and then encourage your followers to tune in for the exclusive announcement.


You should explore every avenue possible to provide exposure for your client’s charity campaign. Use all parties involved and encourage involvement via media outlets and your social media platforms. Showcasing your campaign to all potential supporters through a variety of outlets – print, television, online, and more – will help increase engagement and involvement. And that’s what building engagement for a successful charity campaign is all about.