Nonprofit events are an effective way to spread awareness and raise funds for your cause. It can be difficult to know where to start when planning your first event, but with the right strategy, it will soon be reaping the sweet rewards. In this article, we will share key tips on why you should hold a nonprofit event and how to plan one successfully.
🤓 What is a nonprofit event?
A nonprofit (or fundraising) event is an event or activity which is held with the intention of raising money and awareness towards a charitable or nonprofit organisation. This means that the person or persons holding the event are doing so, solely to raise funds for a great, charitable cause and don’t actually earn any money for themselves.
🤔 Why should I hold a nonprofit event?
Outside of the main and most obvious reason to host a fundraising event (to raise money and awareness towards a valuable cause), there’s a whole host of benefits for you as a business owner/entrepreneur.
Any fundraising event, naturally, wants the focus of the charitable cause to be at the epicentre of the event; ensuring that the guests have a full understanding behind why they’re there and, most importantly, why they should want to donate.
In turn, you’re showing the public as well as fellow business owners that your company is invested into giving back wherever possible – brilliant for brand awareness.
Fostering and nurturing relationships
Hosting any kind of event relies strongly on great organisational skills and teamwork. A fundraising event works in exactly the same way, except you have to account for the fact that a lot of the vendors involved, such as caterers, entertainment and venue hosts are all involved at a discounted rate (or in some cases, they donate their time). This means sourcing and working with likeminded business owners who are equally passionate about the cause at hand – always advantageous from a networking perspective.
Outside of the vendors, you’re also relying heavily on volunteers who are the real MVP’s behind your nonprofit event being a success. You’ll find that when people are coming together for the sake of a charitable cause, the morale they bring to the table is entirely different. Meaning that you are creating and strengthening business relationships that you will lean on, and equally be leant upon time and time again in the future.
Build your email lists
When you’re looking to advertise a nonprofit event, usually you’ll find that potential attendees will be required to complete a registration form. This is the perfect opportunity to add their details on to your marketing list – allowing you to connect with them as a potential client or customer in the future. Win-win for everyone!
🥂 Different types of nonprofit event
A nonprofit event is event or activity that is held without financial gain or just for fundraising is referred to as a “not-for-profit event, you’ll find that, though the name doesn’t always strike up the idea of a “good time”, a non-profit event can be really entertaining and make for some of the most fun events that your guests experience, at least for those lucky enough to be invited!
Some of the most popular nonprofit events are:
- Gala Dinners – A nonprofit gala dinner is an event where people can come together to support a good cause. The proceeds from the event go towards the cause or organization that is being supported. These types of events are usually formal and include a sit-down dinner, entertainment, and dancing.
- Benefit concerts – A nonprofit benefit concert is a concert where the proceeds from ticket sales go to a charity or cause. These concerts are usually put on by well-known artists who donate their time and energy to support a good cause. Nonprofit benefit concerts are a great way to raise awareness and funds for important causes.
- Auctions – A nonprofit auction event is an event where individuals or businesses donate items to be auctioned off with the proceeds going to a designated charity or cause. Nonprofit auction events often feature both live and silent auctions. These events can be a great way to raise money for a worthy cause, while also providing attendees with an enjoyable evening out.
- Sporting events – A nonprofit sporting event is an event where the proceeds go towards a cause or charity, rather than to the athletes or organizers. This can take the form of events like a walkathon or golf tournament, or even a professional sporting event where at least a portion of the ticket sales goes towards a cause.
💪 How to plan a successful nonprofit event
If you’re planning on hosting your first-ever nonprofit event, you may be wondering where to start. That’s where we come in.
Set your SMART goal for success:
Specific – Begin by clearly stating what the goal for your event is – what are you trying to achieve and why?
One key consideration would be setting a fundraising target for the event. Let the attendees know what the goal is and what the funds are being used towards. This will motivate them to want to help you achieve the target and thereby, be generous with their contributions.
Measurable – Consider how you are going to monitor and measure your specific goal throughout the event.
If you are looking to set a target fundraising goal, you’ll need to make sure that you have a system in place to monitor and measure the income throughout the event. You can also nominate someone to give updates on the total raised at incremental periods throughout. This keeps you on track and on schedule.
Achievable – If any goal seems too far out of reach, it can often be off putting or even detrimental to the cause at hand.
Make sure that what you’re working towards is realistic. Setting an attainable goal, helps set the project up for success. For this, consider; how many guests will there be as well as the size of the venue – this helps determine your fundraising target.
Relevant – When setting your goal, you also need to ensure that it is relevant to the cause at hand.
We mentioned in the “specific” section that deciding what the funds are being used for is a key factor in setting the target to begin with. Ensuring that the goal is relevant to the cause simply makes good sense.
Time-bound – Your goal for your nonprofit event should have a specific time frame set from the beginning.
This helps you stay on track and accountable as you’re working towards the goal. If your target is to work towards a specific fundraising goal, how long do you want to give yourself to achieve that – and remember to be realistic with this point too!
Organising a budget for any event is always going to be the best place to start, but more particularly when planning a nonprofit event.
Reducing unnecessary costs ensures that the majority of the funds goes towards the cause at hand, rather than the event itself. So, be sure to spend some time from the outset looking at all the potential areas for expenditure – identify any hidden costs that could crop up as you go.
Once you’ve set the budget, you need to ensure that you stay within it – which can sometimes be the trickier part. Micromanaging the budget is one of the key parts to ensuring you succeed in achieving your fundraising target. This is your opportunity to get creative and think outside the box; sourcing cheaper alternatives and even doing some DIY bits and pieces wherever possible – something which can often work to your advantage and is also half the fun!
Note: Eventee’s discounted packages, exclusively to those setting up nonprofit events, are available on demand. Simply send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll be happy to learn more about your event!
Another key element of a fundraising event is to source sponsors and donors to contribute towards your efforts. This could be small, local businesses or bigger, better-known brands. Ensure to choose companies that fit in with the ethos of the event and whose values align with your own.
Often the marketing department of larger companies will already have a budget set aside for events just like this. If they don’t, they can still contribute in other ways so that they can benefit from a sponsorship – like donating items or services to an auction. In return for their contributions, they will want to see their branding promoted at the event.
Plus, don’t forget to give them an honourable mention at key points throughout and thank them for their efforts.
The Key Details
Now that you have your budget and sponsor support, you need to start organising the finer details.
Begin with choosing your venue and date. Something you want to consider at this point is the format that your nonprofit event is going to take – do you want an in-person, hybrid or even a virtual fundraising event? Eventee can offer support for the event through the one-size-fits-all app, so, whichever route you choose will determine the venue/platform in which your event is going to be hosted.
Next, move on to your guest list. This alone is going to determine your attendee profile and, in turn some of the key elements of your event – deciding your attendee profile at this stage means you can establish what is going to drive them to attend, so make sure you have that susses so that you can find activities and features that are going to be of value to them.
Planning your agenda well in advance keeps the event flowing seamlessly and means less stress for you as the organiser on the day. The last thing you want is for your guests to be bored, so having quality entertainment that fits within your program for the event is going to be a big part of that. Eventee helps to engage your attendees with a user friendly event app that offers live questions, polls and networking features to keep your guests engaged with one another as well as the event itself.
Promoting your event in the right way is imperative to attracting your target attendee profile. When thinking about promotion angles, you need to ensure that you emphasise on the purpose of the event (go back to the SMART goals that you set at the beginning) and highlight that throughout your promotions. Often, the use of video promotion can be a hugely advantageous tool at your disposal – seeing footage behind the cause helps to engage your audience through the use of conveyed emotion on screen, meaning that your target guests are more likely to turn into attendees.
On the day itself, you’ll need to be highly organized to ensure that the event goes off hitch-free. A checklist is a great way to ensure that nothing gets missed – whether you’re in charge of that or another member of the volunteer team. Either way, it’s important that everyone involved knows what part they are playing in making the event a success. The very best thing you can do is plan ahead and organise as much as you can in advance, as well at preparing for some inevitable last minute changes. If that happens, there’s no need to go into panic mode, you’ve prepared for this eventuality so, take a breath, find the solution and implement the necessary action – you’ve got this!
Before you know it, the event is over and you’re throwing yourself into organising another fundraiser (because it was such a huge success the first time around) – but wait, you need to do some important administration first:
- Follow up with your sponsors – thank them for their support and generosity. Remember, you’re always building business bridges.
- Follow up with your guests – sending them an email letting them know the total funds raised will help them feel involved in the outcome. And don’t forget to let them see the end result of what their efforts achieved (this goes back to the “specific” part of your goal.)
- Consider other fundraising events that you or your company can contribute towards. Now that you’ve seen the impact that donations and sponsorship bring to an event from a hosting perspective, see what you can do to give back to the community.
- And finally, you need to evaluate your efforts – what worked, what didn’t work and what changes would you make next time you host a nonprofit event?
✍️ In conclusion
Organising any event doesn’t come stress-free, that’s just something that is inevitable. But, as a successful event planner, it’s in your nature to push the boundaries of your comfort zone. When it comes to planning a non-profit event you have even more to think about, be it finding and donating funds or being even more aware of social issues surrounding the event.
Hopefully you can take on board some of the advice in this article such as getting the correct financial plan in place, defining the goal of the event before you begin the planning process and not being afraid to utilize tech solutions like Eventee to make your event a complete success. One thing is for sure though, keep striving for bigger and better event successes – because there’s nothing more rewarding than seeing your hard efforts come to life, especially when they’re going towards a good cause.