By Kristin Short, Senior Consultant, HUB Philanthropic Solutions
What is it about events that can make some go a bit crazy? Perhaps it is the clock-ticking with an event date fast approaching. With event season upon us, here are some key tips to keep your team and volunteers calm, cool and collected prior to and during the big day.
First and foremost, start planning early on. Create your one-year out monthly timeline. Think early on about your event leadership. Be thoughtful about your honorary event chairs and event chairs. Create a large volunteer committee with specific tasks and responsibilities. The chairs and committee members will help ensure the success of the event by increasing event attendance and bringing new people to your organization.
Set a realistic financial goal for the event. Stick to a budget and limit event costs. Develop a strategy to meet your goal. How much do you need to raise from sponsorships, individual ticket sales, auction and the paddle raise in order to meet your goal?
Secure event sponsorships early on. Create sponsorship packets with various levels with clearly defined benefits at each level. Once secured, recognize your sponsorships on the event invitation and the organization’s website.
Use this event as an opportunity to tell your story. Center everything you do around your organization’s mission. What are you raising money for? How can philanthropy impact your organization? On your promotional materials — save the dates, invitations, emails — make it clear what the proceeds from this event will benefit. Highlight those you serve and show how your organization transforms lives.
For the day of the event, create a detailed time schedule on how the event will run. Give volunteers and staff clear responsibilities from start to finish. The presentation should be included in the event time schedule. The program, video, paddle raise – all need to be well-scripted and planned to keep your event on track.
Even when the event is over, there is little time to relax. Some of the most important things happen after the event! Prepare a plan for post-event stewardship.
- Send an email and/or note to event attendees following the event thanking them for their participation.
- For those supporters who were unable to attend, schedule a visit and share the presentation (video) from the event and the program book.
- Send special thank you messages to your event chairs and volunteers.
- Review the auction bid sheets and paddle raise forms to find new donors to your organization.
- Start planning next year’s event.
Events are a great way to build your constituency and increase support for your organization. If you have a timeline for event preparation, clear goals and detailed instructions for the day of the event, your team will feel calm and empowered to carry on!