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Planning a charity event can take months, but what’s the use of all that event planning if no one knows about it to show up? Promoting your charity event is a vital part of the process and needs to be a factor when considering your overall budget. While you want to make sure costs are covered when planning any event, the purpose of a charity event is to make sure that the funds raised can go directly to the charity.

When budgeted improperly, costs can add up quickly, but promotion is one area in which you can keep them low. Think of inexpensive or free ways to get the word out about your upcoming event. With a little brainstorming and creativity, you and your team can come up with what will work best for your event. Here are some ideas to get started:

1) Use Social Media

Generally, social media is free. You don’t have to buy into the advertising that is offered to share your event with the public. Create an event on Facebook that lists all the important information with regular updates counting down the days until the event. People like to see the details all in one place and keep track of who is going. If you are using Eventbrite to sell tickets, make sure this link is included within the Facebook event.  Also, use social media to share your event with online influencers who might be interested in attending and will help spread the word. Twitter and Instagram are two useful networks for planning posts to be released several times a week to increase viewership and engagement. It is also a good idea to find the sub-Reddit of the city or town that your event will be held in to notify those users as well.

2) Reach Out to Your Network

Put together an email blast to be sent to everyone you know. It is important that you encourage them to attend your event without feeling like they are being spammed. Make the email fun and include information about the charity and why it’s an important cause to you. Use a service such as MailChimp to create a template that will be eye-catching and informative. Let your network know you’d love for them to be part of your meaningful event and make sure all the details are included. For a tentative guest list, you can also set up a free Evite account online.

3) Get Creative with Signs or Fliers

Marketers have found that promoting brand messaging online has a better chance of being seen than paper fliers, but it’s still a good idea to put efforts into both, especially when considering your target audience. You can order signs online delivered to the event space to help spread word around the town of the event.  Create one simple design and share it across all the promotional materials you’ll be using to reach the people you already know and also the people in your community who may be interested in your charity. Since you can create signs in bulk, this cuts down on cost and makes it so you can reach a larger audience in a more cost effective manner.

4) Hold a Raffle

Everyone likes a chance to win something and when the money is going to charity, people are likely to be more generous. Contact local businesses who may be interested in being an event sponsor and ask if they’d be willing to provide prizes to be raffled. They’ll get additional promotion and you get fantastic raffle prizes – it’s a win/win situation. Prizes don’t have to be expensive or over-the-top either. They can be as simple as restaurant gift cards, gift baskets filled with products from a few of your sponsors, or even handmade items from your crafty friends.

5) Word of Mouth

People immediately turn to marketing online when promoting their events, but forget the power of good old-fashioned word of mouth. Most likely if you are spending months planning your charity event, your friends and family will be well aware of what you’re doing. Encourage them to tell others about the event and talk about it in your social circles. The more people who know about it, the better chance for a successful turnout you will have.

Although there is a lot that goes into planning and executing a successful charity event, these are just a few tips and tricks to make the entire process easier for you.  As a leader, you have a lot of choices and decisions to make.  Have you ever thrown a charity event? What worked for you? What didn’t?  Let us know down below in the comments.


America’s Backbone Weekly: Start Planning

Gaining a Competitive Advantage

By SooJi Min for America’s Backbone Weekly

In order to succeed in today’s competitive global marketplace, small business owners need to foster an environment that promotes creativity and innovation in the workplace. Following are four steps that any small business owner can take to get the creative juices flowing, no matter the industry.

Create Space

First and foremost, the human brain needs time and space to put ideas together in novel ways. When we are overscheduled or overwhelmed with the pressure of too much to do, we tend to operate on auto pilot, doing the same things the same way day after day. According to Franklin Lakes, N.J.-based Janice Marturano, author of Finding the Space to Lead and founder and executive director of the Institute for Mindful Leadership, the number-one thing that gets in the way of innovation is space. “We all have a to-do list that is miles long, a day that is packed with meetings,” says Marturano. “We need to cultivate the ability to have open space to allow the mind to be creative.” Productivity may actually increase as team members feel less overwhelmed and overscheduled.

Marturano suggests a few simple steps to create more space in the day. “It’s as simple as learning to train the mind to attend to the feeling of feet walking down the hallway from meeting to meeting,” she says, “or noticing while sitting at a meeting while the body is there but mind isn’t, and then using some physical sensation (breath, feeling of feet on the ground) to bring your mind back to the present moment.” Otherwise, the default mode is to “spend most of our mental energy ruminating or remembering the past, planning or worrying about the future,” says Marturano, which “zaps both your physical and mental energy.”

Promote Failure

Another important element is to create a corporate culture that tolerates mistakes. Behind every major success story, chances are that you will find many tales of false starts and even abject failures. “Failure is part of the creative process,” says Robert Bradford, CEO of Center for Simplified Strategic Planning, based in Waterford, Vt. “In business, you want to figure out how to fail cheaply and quickly and move on to next thing.” You want to feel secure trying new things and not be afraid of negative consequences. “The human brain is trained – going back 20,000 years – to always look for threat or what they are afraid might happen,” adds Bradford. “That’s not what creativity is about.”

Reward the Effort

Instead, be sure to reinforce a creative and collaborative culture by rewarding team members for taking risks and for cultivating an open mind. “It’s a really good idea to recognize when people contribute ideas and make them feel part of the team,” says Bradford, “even if it’s only a symbolic gesture. Every time that a reward is received, it stimulates dopamine.” Scientists have found that dopamine in the brain functions as a neurotransmitter and is directly related to motivation and behavior. Dopamine makes you feel good so that as a result, you are inclined to do more of that behavior or activity.

Look Outside the Box

Last but not least, business owners need to look outside of their industry for inspiration. “Chances are that if a business is only doing what their competitors are doing, they won’t innovate,” says Bradford. “You need to get ideas from outsiders that will stimulate conditions and connections that don’t normally occur. Really creative ideas are outside of the normal connection space.”

Indeed, in a recent study conducted by Harvard Business School, researchers recruited hundreds of roofers, carpenters and inline skaters to contribute ideas on increasing workers’ use of safety gear. A panel of experts evaluated their suggested solutions based on novelty and usefulness. The finding: “Each group was significantly better at thinking of novel solutions for the other fields than for its own,” and the farther the distance from their own field, the greater the novelty of the idea.

If you are serious about getting ahead of your competition, create a collaborative culture of creativity in the workplace by creating space, allowing failure, giving rewards and looking beyond your own industry for ideas.

SooJi Min is a freelance writer and nonprofit executive based in Ann Arbor, MI. She has written on small business topics for Crain’s, Imagination Publishing and The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.

Just Friggin’ Do It (whatever ‘it’ is)

You know the scene, it’s 2 hours after the deadline, you reckon you can slip it in late, but your house is really, really clean.

You get the picture.  You have this article to write and it has to be in by the 20th.  You open up a shiny, clean new page (real or virtual) and then you pull a massive blank.

Like so blank, you can’t even come up with the title.

You stand up, stretch and look out your office window.  And then you remember, you haven’t put on the washing yet this morning. So you go gather the load, put it on and while you’re there, just give the kitchen a quick wipe-over.

You go back to your office.

Write the title and 2 lines but feeling uninspired, you delete it all.

You check in to Facebook, hoping you might see an inspirational quote that will give you an idea for your article.

Instead you catch the title ’10 Weirdest Diseases You Probably Can’t Avoid in Your Lifetime’ – knowing it’s absolute garbage and a total waste of time, you click through.

You were right, the article is ridiculous but that doesn’t stop you reading it all AND clicking through to another one from the link and the crazy title at the bottom of the page.

45 minutes later you return to your blank screen.  You’re beginning to feel desperate, and hungry.

You go back to the kitchen, make yourself a cup of tea and open the fridge.  Then the cupboard, then the fridge again.

Armed with tea, a cookie (two actually!) you head back to your blank screen.

Rinse and repeat…until you end up 2 hours after your deadline, hoping and praying you can still get it completed; ashamed of all your wasted time.

Sound familiar? Don’t despair, here are some strategies that WILL help you, I promise – they’ve changed my habits and my productivity BIG TIME!

  1. Go for a walk before you even start, to clear your mind.  As you begin your way back home, allow yourself to think gently about what you can write.
  2. Choose the right time of day to write (do you know when that is for you?).
  3. Go into your office and shut the door.
  4. Then shut down Facebook (I mean really shut it down)
  5. If you are still distracted – go to a coffee shop and don’t leave until your article is completed!

Of course, the most important thing – just do it, get the darn thing done! You’ll feel so much better, and then you can go celebrate – you’re finished and you might even have a clean house

Lisa Bloom

About Our GE Network Expert - Lisa Bloom

Lisa Bloom is a highly professional and accomplished Storyteller, Professional Certified Coach (ICF) and Training & Development Expert with more than 20 years experience working in public and private sectors, high-tech and financial services environments. Lisa helps entrepreneurs de-stress the marketing, build their business with confidence by finding their success story at







The Simplest Business Loans Flow Chart…Ever
by Daniel Lieser, Co-founder of
Don’t let yourself get pushed around by salesy loan sites. There are hundreds (perhaps thousands) of finance sites that seem to promise you the best loan ever, then at the last minute pull the ole’ switcheroo. You know what I mean. “Oh hey, sorry looks like we couldn’t get you the kind of loan we wanted to give you, but hey, you might qualify for this other thing over here”. It’s usually just a coincidence that the other thing they wanna sell you is about a million times more profitable (ie, overpriced).
I know that learning all the little details and fine print of finance documents is not always the way you want to spend your free time. But honestly, just knowing the names of these kinds of loans or financing can be enough to save you from 1 or 2 unnecessary applications. Knowing the type of loan you need will also bring you higher quality search results in Google. Use the flow chart below and see what types of loans you should look into and which sites might be the best places to start.

 photo smbfunding_trustleaf_FlowChart_2015.jpg

About TrustLeaf
TrustLeaf is a platform for early-stage entrepreneurs to turn their social capital into startup capital. TrustLeaf lets users first know what different types of funding they should concentrate their efforts on, including the various ways that friends and family can provide financing. TrustLeaf then provides an intuitive process to show off the user’s business plan, gather feedback and commitments, document the loans with legal agreements, and track transactions online. TrustLeaf then uses this data to provide its users with expanded access to other funding options through its partnerships with institutional lenders. To learn more, visit

America’s Backbone Weekly: Go the Distance

Build a Winning Facebook Profile for Your Business

By Amy Beth Miller for America’s Backbone Weekly

Before customers visit a small business today they scope it out online, and Facebook is their preferred resource for doing so.

More than 60% of shoppers in a G/O Digital survey said Facebook is the most useful social media network for researching a local or small business. Facebook offers, along with positive reviews can have a significant impact on shoppers, G/O Digital reports in “Facebook Advertising: The Social Commerce Lifeline for Small Businesses.”

Posting to your Facebook page isn’t enough on its own to catch the attention of customers though, because only a fraction of your fans are likely to see any post. Facebook constantly updates the algorithm that determines which posts people see in their news feed, to better focus on content users consider valuable. So the more connected and engaged your fans are with your content, such as commenting on and sharing posts, the more likely people will be to see your posts in their news feed.

If Facebook has been an afterthought in your marketing so far, it’s time to take it seriously and start crunching the numbers. Studying the available analytics through Page Insights allows you to post more effectively and efficiently to your Facebook business page.

What the Numbers Tell You
After at least 30 people have liked your small business page, you have access to “Insights” technology at the top of your page. From the data available you can determine:

  • Whether your posts are reaching people. See how many people saw a post in their news feed under the Posts section.
  • What engages your fans. The Posts section also shows how many people clicked on a post and how many liked, commented or shared a post. You’ll see total activity on post, even after it has been shared by other people. For example, on your own Page, you will see only the number of people who liked a post there, but Insights can also show you how many people liked a post after someone shared it. Under Posts, you can see activity on a specific post, and under Reach, you can see the level of engagement over a date range. Examining trends allows you to identify what types of content your audience responds to most, such as photos, links or videos.
  • When to post. Page Insights tells you when people have liked your Facebook page, both day of the week and time of day. Under the Posts section, check When Your Fans Are Online. That allows you to post when your fans are most likely to see a new item.
  • How to lead people to your page. The Visits section under Insights shows which sites people were on before coming to your Facebook page. For example, learn whether they were searching on Google or read a news article or blog post that mentioned your business.
  • Whether ads are paying off. Insights show how many people saw your post through an advertisement, “paid reach,” and those who saw it without an ad, “organic reach.”
  • How your competitors are doing. After at least 100 people like your page, you can set Pages to Watch. That allows you to see how many people have liked and engaged in the past week with your competitors’ pages. Page administrators will know someone is watching, but not whom. So if you see a competitor gaining a big advantage on Facebook, you can study what strategy is working for them.

Under the Ads Manager tool you can also access Audience Insights, which shows information not only about who engaged with your page but groups of Facebook users you can define. It reveals more demographic information, which devices people use to access Facebook and their purchasing behaviors.

Analysis Beyond Facebook
Facebook data is only one of many tools you can use to analyze the impact of your Facebook posts and fine-tune your marketing efforts. With the Social Reports in Google Analytics, for example, you can track how social media sites are driving traffic to your primary business website. You also can see when people from those sources buy from your site or take other actions, such as signing up for a newsletter, even if it’s not on their first visit to your site.

Discover more ways to convert likes on Facebook into sales in “Turn Facebook Fans into Customers.”

Amy Beth Miller is a writer and editor helping people succeed in business for more than a decade. She has written news articles, features, blogs, newsletters, e-letters white papers and training manuals.

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About is a small business blog dedicated to providing business advice and resources to our community of aspiring entrepreneurs. Our specially hand-picked panel of Network experts regularly contribute entrepreneurial content and professional tips for small business owners worldwide.