How to Host a Charity Event and Get Online Clients

Jul 26, 2019

By Tim Saye

In the previous article we looked at getting online clients via publishing guest articles in local newspapers, fitness magazines or even in your gym’s newsletter. This article looks at another offline method to get online clients. Here we give you a step-by-step rundown on how to plan, market and deliver a charity event to generate new leads for your online training services.

Step 1. Choose Your Target Market

Just like with any other fitness marketing effort, knowing who you're trying to attract is key to employing the right marketing strategy and designing an event that your attendees will not only enjoy but remember. Think about age, gender, profession and family status, even what fitness goals they may have.

Step 2. Choose Your Charity

The easiest way to choose an organisation is to pass on the decision to those whose money will be donated to the cause. Most people will have a story or will know someone with one. Talk to your clients, local friends and people in your circles to identify a charity that’d be supported by most of them.

Step 3. Pick Your Date

The date can make or break the success of your event. Avoid bank holiday weekends, dates when there is already a likely popular local event scheduled, holiday seasons, like Christmas, Easter or any other religious holidays observed in your area. School breaks can also be a bad idea, unless you're putting on a family event for everybody.

Step 4. Design the Event

Once you know your target audience, you can start working on what type of event you would like to run. For example, If you want to attract general population parents, e.g. men and women between 30 - 45 years old then you can launch family type of workout where they can bring their children.

Another example would be amateur or professional athletes who participate in running races, obstacle races, triathlons or any other sport, you might want to make the workout goal specific. A session on teaching people exercises and techniques to improve running speed, power or upper body and core strength for sport specific movements can all be great goals.

Step 5. Find a Location

The best choice on location will depend on weather, type of event and the number of attendees you’d like to see at your event. You can explore outdoor options, if you need specific equipment, you can look for specialised gyms or facilities that hire out their space. It’s worth looking for the best exposure though, so people passing by will see what you are doing and maybe pick up a business card or flyer.

Step 6. Price Your Event

In terms of pricing, handle it as any other event. Think of how much you would charge if it wasn’t for charity. That way the participants will have an idea about the value of your service. You can leave the maximum amount open by setting a minimum entry fee. This way those who can afford and are willing to contribute more will have a way to do so.

Step 7. Set Up the Fundraising System

There are a few ways you can organise how the money will get to the organisation.

- You collect the money and make a one-off transfer to the charity. If you have an online booking system, you can collect their details, get online payment, ask for their consent to receive marketing materials and even re-direct them to a PARQ all in one workflow. The downside is that some people may not trust the process as much, and you will also have to deal with the financial admin.

- You use one of the fundraising portals. That way you don’t need to deal with the money, but you will need to connect with the attendees manually about PARQ and confirmations.

- The charity does all the admin and sends you a list of the participants. If a charity has a system that can take the payments and collect details, you may as well use it, leave the fundraising side of the project to them so you just deal with the PARQ and event management.

Step 8. Market Your Event

How to market your event will depend on all the decisions you made in the previous steps. You can:

- Give out flyers in your local area.
- Put details up onto public notice boards.
- Ask local businesses to promote your event to their clients.
- Spread the word via all your social media channels.
- Provide the charity with marketing materials, both offline and online so they can promote it too.

Step 9. Get Organised

There are a few aspects about the operation of your fitness event you want to consider ahead of time:

- When or how are you going to have the PARQ forms filled and how, when and who will check them to ensure the attendees are fit for the session? If you are not requesting people to fill their PARQ online in advance, you’ll need to arrange a registration process on the spot.

- Are there any regulations in your country or state you need to meet? Make sure you have the right paperwork, licenses so nothing can pull the plug on your event last minute.

- Will you need assistance on the day? Depending on the size of your audience on the day, you may want someone to assist you with the running of the event so you can focus on delivering the session.

Step 10. Deliver Your Charity Session

Once you have ticked all the previous steps, all you need to do is to provide an experience people won’t forget and will make them feel amazing about their fitness goals. Find ways to engage the participants, get them involved in a way that will create a community feel. Think of how the best performers communicate with their audience from the stage and learn techniques on how you can do that, so they don’t just follow along a workout. At the end ask for feedback while going trough the cooldown to find out what they liked, what they found challenging, or if there was anything they didn’t enjoy. People relate to people, design time and spend energy to be approachable and engaging.

At the end of the session let everyone know about your training services and how they can get in touch with you. Stick around after the event and chat to anyone that wants some extra tips or to ask more about your training services.

Wrapping Up

All in all, the idea of organising such an event may feel overwhelming for most personal trainers because they don’t know where to start. The best way to handle any business goals is just like you handle fitness goals. Break it down into steps, create a plan and then follow through. This kind of event can bring you a lot of local attention, quite a few new clients, and can raise money for important charities.