Rethinking Special Events

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I am writing this without once using bad economy, downturn or recession!

Are you planning the same events you held last year? There is a lot of talk in the community of true, honest and real donor fatigue.

Corporate sponsorship needs to be a true partnership that offers non-cash opportunities.  Buying tables at the gala may not “look” good to corporate investors or reap the ROI supporting a program will.

All that being said, we still need to raise general operating money and meet an events budget line (that may have been adjusted).

Here are some ideas to retool your events strategy. Creativity is the key and you can raise money and awareness. You can still raise money by charging for participation and asking for pledges. Brainstorm with your staff and leadership. Let me know what your ideas or if any of these ring true for you.

  • Move you gala or event from party or black-tie to mission driven.
  • Stay home – Is this year everyone stays home and sends you all or half the money they would have spent on tickets, attire, babysitters? Craft an engaging letter or invite asking for their support and your understanding of the current economic climate.
  • Day of service – instead of coming to an event, ask them to give time and money to a volunteer event and bring the family. Everyone can feel good.
  • Collaborate – can you work with another agency to host an event together?
  • Host a virtual event– Use your website, blog, Facebook and Twitter to launch the “event”. Engage donors in raising awareness and money using their social networks. Web 2.5 offers opportunities for your donors to reach their friends. Host an on-line auction.
  • Segment your donors – host smaller more targeted events to selected groups of donors. Engage potential corporate or business partners to help drive business. Create a win-win. Try a wine tasting, cooking class, investment seminar (?), afternoon tea, cigar and scotch tasting, spa night or karaoke.
  • Engage the whole family – Host a scavenger hunt, attend a play appropriate to your agency mission, coordinate a community garage sale.
  • Host a contest – essay, photographic, poem, painting, trivia or video. Create a theme.

 Let me know what you think. Share your ideas! Leave a comment or forward to a friend.

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