First in a two-part series

Many small to midsize nonprofit organizations face the perennial question of whether to hire an event planning company for their next fundraisers or do it with internal resources and volunteers. Although simple at first, this question is more complex than what appears at first glance. 

Almost all nonprofits depend heavily on fundraising events to secure or supplement their operating funds. To maximize the return on your efforts in producing a successful fundraising event, consider the following benefits of hiring an event planning company with experience in working with nonprofits [this list can also be used as a checklist of all steps involved in rolling out a successful fundraiser]:

1.    An event planning company can act as a catalyst in helping the organization formulate/enunciate a set of objectives for the event consistent with/in support of organization’s mission, cause, stakeholders, etc.

2.   An event planning company can ensure that the organization is properly registered and insured to host a fundraising event with all the required permits, if any, in hand.

3.   Work together with the organization’s committee(s) set up specifically to assist in the execution of the event, take minutes of the committee meetings highlighting any action plans identified.

4.   Help the organization is devising an accurate budget for the event, setting up realistic fundraising goals and monitoring progress against the approved budget with variance reports on a regular basis.

5.   Helping the organization choose a venue for the event that meets all criteria including: Size, location, appeal, technical capabilities, access and egress, etc. to draw the maximum attendees.

6.   Act as the “go-between” the organization and all the needed suppliers (catering, A/V, entertainment, décor, floral, etc.).

7.    Putting in place a promotional plan for the event such as collateral material (including the design of any printed material and the choice of a printing company, if required), regular social media postings, PR, solicitation of media interviews with the organization’s leadership, etc. 

8.   Assist the organization in recruiting relevant and high-profile speakers and/or entertainers, if appropriate, that could improve the success of the event. 

9.   Overseeing the actual rollout of the event and coordinating efforts on the part of all involved including the venue. Ensure all required signage are properly in place.

10.Arranging for guest registration and VIP seating, if applicable, and any handouts/gift bags. 

11. Staff assignment including roles and responsibilities for the volunteers, if applicable.

12. Preparation of “run of show” (i.e., how everything should run during the course of the event).

13. Overseeing all aspects of the event execution during the actual event with a proactive attitude in cases of unforeseen developments.

14. Preparation of a post-event report to the client including a detailed budget report highlighting revenues and expenses and any variances from projections. 

15. Attending one or more post-event meeting with all the stakeholders to assess the success of the event and lessons learned.

16. Armed with the lessons learned, plan the next event—and aim higher!

With the above list in hand, a nonprofit organization is assured success in their fundraising efforts while able to put their efforts in what matters most—i.e., fostering their relationships with their donors and other stakeholders.

In our second part, we will address the challenges of holding an auction in conjunction with a fundraising event.

Find out why Your Great Eventwith over 20 years’ experience in helping nonprofits reach their fundraising goalsis your go-to event planning company for your next fundraiser.