Social Media Catches Big Crowd for Fishing Competition

For its annual fundraising event to raise crucial funds , VMR Bundaberg uses Facebook to launch the annual Family Fishing Classic event, meeting its fundraising target and more despite limited resources

Interview by Shannon Woolacott
Additional Quotes by Dan Willersdorf

Officers: Graeme Morely, VMR Secretary, Fishing Classic Co-ordinator & Senior Skipper/Senior Vessel Commander; Graham Kingston, VMR Vice-President & Publicity Officer, Skipper/ Vessel Commander; John O’Callaghan, VMR WHS Officer & Unit Training Officer, Skipper/Vessel Commander
Years Active of the Organisation: 1972 to present
Website: www.vmrbundabergfishingclassic.com.au
Facebook Page Likes: 737 likes and counting

Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg  Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg Facebook

VMR (Volunteer Marine Rescue) Bundaberg’s Family Fishing Classic first began in 2002, but officially became an annual charity event under VMR in 2006, in which local businesses in the Wide Bay area immediately showed support for the dedicated volunteer rescue group. Every year since that, VMR held the Family Fishing Classic, which has become the largest fishing event in the region. n

The 2014 edition of the event was very special as it helped raise money to go towards the upgrade of their main rescue boat which is 19 years old.

According to VMR secretary Graeme Morely, who has organised and managed the event for the past years, utilising marketing tools such as television, radio and print advertising is an integral aspect of creating awareness of the event. To further engage and assess interest in the Family Fishing Classic, Social Media was used to inform and direct the target audience to the VMR website and encourage early registration.

The results were overwhelming as the days led up to the weekend affair. Excitement built up also, especially since enquiries about the restrictions and accommodations where asked online by interested parties. Even after the event was done and the prizes were given away, the momentum online kept up as those who were at the event shared their photos on Facebook.

VMR got a Social Media manager and he explains how to successfully advertise an event on Facebook the way VMR did with WRSM’s assistance:

“We were very pleased to have been able to help out recently by sponsoring the Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg Fishing Classic, which is the main fundraiser for this important community service.”

Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg

How To Successfully Promote An Event On Social Media, Step-By-Step:

  1. Ensure the page is set up correctly – visitors must be able to see what the organisation is about, they must be able to find your contact details, and you must select the correct category.
  2. Collect all the images, videos and stories you can leading up to your event. In the two weeks or so leading up to the event you must post once/day. You will need a reserve on content/information to be able to do this.
  3. Schedule posts for once/day leading up to the event. These posts should build anticipation for the event, as well as communicate important information to people coming. Ideas for what to post:
    • This was last year’s winner (photo)… do you think you can beat that this year?
    • Only x days to go to register! Tag a friend in the comments below to remind them to register.
    • What are you looking forward to doing at this year’s event?
    • What was your favourite part of last year’s event?
  4. Ensure that any members of your organisation that know how to use Facebook have installed the “Facebook Pages Manager” on their phone so they can take a photo and directly post it to your Facebook page.
  5. Monitor enquiries and questions on the page and respond to them.
  6. Be ready to “adjust course” if people request it. For the VMR fishing classic people that couldn’t attend were requesting regular photos of the leader board. We were able to provide this, which meant more engagement and interaction on the page.
  7. Consider how to get all the attendees to the event to “Like” your page on the event day. This will set you up well for getting more people to next year’s event. In the VMR Bundaberg case we ran a competition that encouraged people to post a photo of themselves having fun at the event. This requires a suitable prize to give away and you must post flyers around letting people know about the competition. But it will get excellent results because you will get more people to the page and more likes.

This was what Graeme had to say about the results:

“The results we got overall were phenomenal, having increased our Facebook ‘Likes’ some 20% and they are still growing. Importantly, we were able to get the word out there of what we do, not only for the Fishing Classic fundraiser but also our core service, that is safety of life at sea with search and rescue activities.”

Volunteer Marine Rescue Bundaberg

Moments during the annual VMR Family Fishing Classic; top right photo: VMR Bundaberg’s Graeme Morely

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