This week during Temple's PRSSA meeting, Julie Cassidy, the Director of Special Events and Group Sales at the Wilma Theater (and my previous internship supervisor) came to speak with students about some of the challenges and tips for success in regards to organizing charitable events. After interning with a few nonprofits as a special events assistant, I have experienced first-hand how difficult it can be to throw an event thats unique and exciting while having limited resources to work with.
The website Fundraiser Ideas posted a great article with six simple and effective ways to create an outstanding charitable event:
1. Reservations, please. Especially when there is limited space available and food and beverage are being served, requiring reservations eliminates wasted food and prevents overflowing crowds. Additionally, reservations serve as a useful way to evaluate the methods you use to publicize these events and fine tune your PR strategy.
2. Know your audience. Depending upon the type of event you are throwing you should shape your donation level accordingly. For example, if you are hosting a tailgate party, smaller donations are more acceptable whereas if you are throwing an elegant gala, donations should be on the higher end. By accurately gauging the audience you are targeting, the more accurately you can gauge the financial results for the charity events.
3. Keep the ball rolling. Planning events well in advance allows time for changes to be made and can provide a sense of momentum to your fundraising activities.
4. Put it in print. It's one thing to organize a spectacular event but it all means nothing if nobody is hearing about it. Promote your event through press releases and local newspaper stories to increase public interest.
5. Utilize online networking tools. Use Facebook and Twitter to their fullest potential! It's easy and free advertising for your event and can reach large audiences. Use these forums as a way to announce your upcoming events and allow guests to respond to your invitations. This can allow your organization to open up a dialogue with potential donors and create relationships that can help your charity or nonprofit raise funds more efficiently.
6. Say thank you. Thanking donors and guests for their contributions is incredibly important and will increase your likelihood of donations in the future. By expressing gratitude to your donors, you are enhancing your public reputation and make sure your organization is regarded favorably by those who make its work possible.
What are some pieces of advice you would share for organizing a successful charitable event? Let us know!