How I Do It
First, it starts with a story…
Have you ever walked out of an event and thought, “Well, that was nice, but nothing special.” Oftentimes, this is because those running the event spent the whole time talking at you, rather than talking with you. Your organization and your event should tell a story—a beginning, middle and an end. Everyone loves a good story that stirs passion and emotions. It makes them feel important, engaged and like they can make a substantial difference. So, the first secret to success is talking with your organization and figuring out what your story is and how we want to tell it through this event.
In our initial meeting, I sit down with clients and have an in-depth conversation in order to better understand their mission, message and objectives, and craft an outline of the event. If this is an existing event, we look at its history and how it can grow. My goal is to look deeper into the mission of the organization and the “why” for the event. When we understand the why, we can build a more engaging story.
Next, we look at the logistics of your event:
- How many guests do you have data for from last year’s event? How can you ensure 100% return participation?
- How much staff and volunteer time are you expecting to dedicate to the event process? Is this a realistic plan?
- Are you aware of any legalities and potential costs such as liquor sponsorships, permitting, insurance and security liabilities, or tax-deductible implications for your event?
Awareness of questions like these is vital while considering the details and structure of your event.
More importantly, we want to look at every department within your organization and what its role is going to be for the event. So often with nonprofits, individual departments have their own objectives and goals, so the overall mission and goals of the event are almost lost. Instead, we want to create inter-departmental collaboration to create the most effective event possible.
During the event, the goal is to engage every guest at each individual level. Oftentimes during fundraising efforts we focus on big-time donors. While they are definitely important, we also want to make sure and engage all potential donors, including the young newbies who want to contribute, but might not be able to give as much. We provide opportunities throughout the event to engage every guest and donor, no matter who they are or what their giving potential is. This allows the event to unfold organically, and connect with new and long-time donors.
Most of all, as your nonprofit event specialist, I become a part of your team. Your goals are my goals. I focus on collaborating to establish a plan for your event from the very beginning to the very end.