Published on June 4th, 2012 | by Jill Bastian1
4 Tips for Managing Events for Non-Profits
Most, if not all non-profits have some kind of annual fundraising event to help raise money and keep things up and running. But getting your events to run smoothly can be tough and all that effort can be put to waste if not handled correctly. Here are 4 tips to keep in mind as you plan your upcoming event:
1. Who’s invited: Who are you inviting to the event? Is this going to be a general fundraiser that includes your community? Or are you targeting a certain group or business type for your event? Are you going to need volunteers to help things run smoothly? Make sure you know who you want involved in your event before you get started. This will make getting your invite and volunteer list together easier. And knowing ‘who’ will be a good start to planning your marketing strategy.
2. Get the word out: This can be daunting, but there are tools to help you with this, and VerticalResponse is here for you. Email and social media marketing are easy and inexpensive ways to let people know you’re having an event and can get them to sign up on the spot. But think about your overall marketing plan and what will work best for the type of event you’re doing (for example, using mailed invitations may be expected for an upscale fundraiser).
Using something like the VerticalResponse Event tool will make it easy to set up a registration page for your event. Fill in the info about your event, set up tickets, and publish. This kind of system will allow you to share info about your event on social media through built-in plug-ins and send email invitations. Also, think about promoting information or fun facts about your event through social media on a regular basis. Setting up a social media campaign to regularly update your followers can help incite interest and sign-ups too.
Email is also a great way to follow up and remind people that they’re attending or have volunteered for your event. Send out 1 or 2 reminders to your attendees, including the date, time, and location for the event. Send your volunteers emails about when they are needed, where to meet, what their duties are and the time and date they are doing them. You can create a list of attendees or volunteers easily to help manage these reminders. Plus, email stats will let you know who is reading your invitations or reminder emails and help you manage non-responders.
3. Ticket sales: Once you get the word out about you’re event, you’re going to need to manage attendance and/or donations. When your event page is live you can manage sign-ups, plus take money for ticket purchases or even accept donations for your organization. You’ll need to decide what the pricing will be for the event and what that will include. For example, are there different contribution levels, group discounts, early bird pricing, VIP level or extra charges for meals or t-shirts? This is where an online management system will come in handy: once the tickets are set up it will manage all the different levels for you.
4. Follow up: One of the most important things to remember about wrapping up your event is to send out a thank you, to everyone. This includes of course, attendees and donors, but don’t forget your volunteers and staff! If this is an event you do annually, sending out a thank you can help ensure a great turnout next year. It’s a simple thing to do, but often overlooked. Again, email and social media will be easy for this: post a thanks to everyone on your Facebook wall, and send out emails to everyone who signed up or helped out in some way. If you send out a monthly newsletter, give a shout-out to those who helped as well.
These are just a few suggestions to help you manage an event. There are, of course, other things to keep in mind as well. For more info on planning events for NPOs check out the websites for NTEN (Non-Profit Technology Network) and the Fundraising Authority.
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