Maximizing Your Events
Cha-Ching…Your non-profit organization holds various special events throughout the year, and you rake in a decent amount of money for your mission. …oh but the countless hours of planning, prep, and details are leaving you exhausted and wondering “How am I going to get us to that $1 million dollar annual revenue mark? (Or to your next level of growth or sustainability?) “There are no more hours left in my day!”
Does Daddy Warbucks attend your event year after year to buy that same dinner for 12 by Emeril? Or maybe you have a handful of business owners, financial planners, dental hygienists, engineers, attorneys, physicians, and…you get the picture…who regularly attend your gala.
Here are a few ways to transform these one-time, transactional opportunities into an invested relationship:
1. Recruit a Group of Regular Event Attendees to Help
We know, we know… ANOTHER committee!?!….you are thinking. But really…you can only be in so many places talking to so many people at one time during your event. Remember, you will have spent countless hours getting a large number of people to your event—doesn’t maximizing it make sense?
This group will be hyper-focused on only a few responsibilities:
* Generating a plan with specific objectives as to how many attendees and which attendees you are going to focus on cultivating
* Creating an action plan of communication/next steps before the event, during the event, and after the event
* Evaluating your progress/process 3 months following the event
When real relationships are established with attendees and supporters, they are likely to become more involved in your mission both with their time and financial commitments.
2. Reach out Before the Event
Briefly introduce yourself (if you haven’t met before) and include a simple “we are looking forward to spending a great time with you at (named event) while sharing the impact our mission makes. (the more specific you can be the better. i.e. …We are excited for you to hear from one of our Littles, who despite having an incarcerated parent, recently received a four-year scholarship to Harvard--our one-to-one mentoring program was a game changer for him.)
3. Plant the Seed During Your Events
Each committee member and you should meet and greet a handful of previously assigned prospective major supporters. Point them in the direction of “hot” auction items or event activities, point out when/where you highlight your mission during the event, and plant the seed that you would love to get together after the event.
4. Create An Emotional Connection
Supporters feel connections with organizations that hit home. You have attendees captured at your event; now is the time to pull at the heart strings.
Emotional connections still trump.
By sharing personal stories or videos during your event, an attendee can begin to see your event as more than an opportunity to get that 7-day trip to Barbados for a bargain, but as an entry into connecting with the work that the event supports.
5. Follow Up After the Event
Reach out to those attendees that you touched before and during the event. Congratulate them for any “winnings”. Share the event’s overall success. Invite them to visit program sites, see the behind-the-scenes of your operations, or meet with beneficiaries of your programs or leading experts in the field.
Be sure to let them talk, too. Lead with questions like What part of our mission/programs do you connect to? Why? What motivated you to attend our event? etc.
Do NOT make an ask at this first meeting. Your only objective is to get to know the supporter and their interests. Then, develop a next steps action plan to brief them on a specific way you would like to help them become more engaged whether that be through volunteering, becoming a monthly recurring donor, or by becoming a society member.
It’s a continuing cycle. Remember relationships take time. The return on your investment will be exponential. Your bond will not only grow with them but they will support your mission for years to come
Still not sure where to go from here? The Root Agency is happy to help.