Planning and Promoting Special Events for Non-Profit Organizations

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Planning and Promoting Special Events for Non-Profit Organizations * Why do special events?
* 60%-80% of smaller nonprofit organizations self report doing special events for fundraising purposes * If done properly, special events can help build your pipeline for major gifts, renewed & increased sponsors, future planned gifts and loyal volunteers * Fact: $ Amount of charitable donations are staying the same, but donors are being more thoughtful to where they are investing. * Establish event that accomplishes organization goals

* Impact of your mission and vision
* Share imagination
* Foster creativity
* Encourage ingenuity
* Achieve frugality and provide resources
* Establish and grow connections
* Create mission moments
* Make sure event is mission related (i.e. a historic committee is holding a silent auction. They should auction off historic pieces instead of just random items) * Have the event pull at people’s heart strings (i.e. girl scout fundraising breakfast where girl scouts came out to sing a song then went up to every table specifically asking for donations) * Fire up your board and volunteers about the cause!

* Testimonials bring excitement and remind board, staff & volunteers “Why we are here” * Field trips & photos
* 1 or 2 irregular board meetings (different locations, etc.) * Make it fun!
* Board members are given many responsibilities: planning, ideas, volunteering, governance but the real reason they are on the board is for fundraising! They must be planting seeds all day long to get people to think about the cause. * Building a team or committee

* This is very important to do ahead of time
* Involve long standing contributors
* Get past board members on board
* Segment events to make volunteers feel important, empowered and a real part of things * Always try to bring in “new blood”
* Volunteers
* Volunteers need to be trained and board members need to serve these roles (as chairs and trainers) to keep other volunteers in check * When training, always use positive reinforcement

* Tell volunteers exactly what you want them to do, how long project will last, how much time they need to spend – give them an actual volunteer job description including responsibilities, volunteer list, emergency #’s, hours needed, etc. – to be most effective on recruiting * Keep 1-3 volunteers in your “back pocket” who don’t have any large responsibilities but can put out the “small fires” throughout the event or day of event

* No boring meetings!
* #1 Board should be generating most fundraising revenue * Have each committee chair send a short paragraph summary a week before the meeting with how they are doing – have all summaries compiled and sent out to committee for review. This way everyone can come to the meeting prepared with questions and meeting can be more productive (so nobody talks about logistics – generate ideas constantly) * Goals

* Set strategic, timeless, realistic goals (i.e. raise $20k, recruit 20 more volunteers, 15 amount of sponsorship proposals, engage 5 more companies, etc.) * Where do we want to be in the next 3-5 years? Does this event help us get there? * Budget Considerations

* Create budget to reflect expected expenses (round this number up) and revenue (round this number down) * Segment event and categorize items (i.e. food, entertainment, gat admissions, administration, etc.) * Consider outside circumstances when planning (i.e. is your event growing? How much to expand?) * Factor in staff time and other hidden costs (permit fees, licenses, insurance, payroll taxes, etc.) with expenses to see “Are we really making money?” - boardsource.org to calculate average volunteer...
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