Galas. Extravaganzas. 5Ks. Auctions. You insert the action here – A-thons. Let’s face it, our signature events are a really big deal when it comes to strengthening relationships with our existing support base, as well as acquiring new giving relationships. These events are key platforms to increase the likelihood of hitting our fiscal goals, and are also a huge opportunity to broaden our giving networks.
Over the years, I’ve experienced both the privilege and pain of providing strategic oversight and hand-ons delivery for some great events, and some, well, not so much. I’ve recognized how important it is to differentiate between the desires I have for an event (lots of people giving lots of money) and the goals (recruit 75 Table Captains & secure 10 business sponsorships). And I’ve learned that the folks that we are inviting to participate in our events likely go to lots of these, so we have a unique opportunity to ensure our events stand out.
We know that we are never going to please everyone. Most folks will love the food, others will not. Many folks will love what the Keynote speaker had to say, some will share they spoke for way too long. That said, we can really bolster the likelihood of most folks coming away from an event talking about our agencies and cause, full of energy and buzz, and, open to meeting with us as a result of follow up if we simply knock their socks off. And, to do that, often times its really about the little things. Here’s a few:
- Don’t take shortcuts on branding. A compelling design that is web-friendly, easily shareable on social media, and is not overly encumbered with details is key.
- At all costs, make sure your registration prior to the event and check in at the event are seamless. Research your vendors, test your software, train your volunteers, plan for troubleshooting. Maybe this is big thing.
- Make it fun. Provide a Photo Booth, create a hashtag, feature your sponsors in creative ways, do a Dessert Frenzy, signature cocktail, live painting, or consider some video messaging to promote.
- Have fun yourself. There is nothing more disconcerting than a haggard and frenzied development professional at an event that he/she is responsible for. Be cool.
Would love to hear some of the little things you do to make your fundraising events great? Join the conversation at @infosmallchange #ascblog