Committing your time and efforts to a charitable organization to plan a large event, typically the largest fundraising event of the year for the organization, can be a daunting task. However, when placed with the right committee members and when working for a cause that you truly believe in, the rewards and satisfaction at the end can be worth every minute. We are so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with multiple organizations throughout the year and really get an inside look at what creates their success.
Be passionate about your cause. Whatever your charity may be, know it and own it. Be passionate about it and share that passion with others as you work to raise money to find a cure, add to research funds, rescue animals, feed the hungry, free the captured, build a new facility, educate our youth, aide those who have served, shelter the homeless, protect the battered, and so on and so on. We live in an unbelievably giving and bit hearted society and the fact that so many have the means to be on multiple sides of organizations that lend a helping hand is a beautiful thing.
Be goal oriented. Set real numbers, whether it be people, money, phone calls, or total donation. This will help to keep track of the overall progress as a whole and when the goal is reached and passed. Most people are competitive by nature, giving your committee members something to strive for, making the end result even better all around; a personal feeling of accomplishment among those who have helped reach the goals, and the donation goal reached for the cause.
Know your budget and know your limitations. Every successful event needs a budget as a foundation. This helps keep areas itemized to know what should be raised, but also allows your committee members to have professional meetings with vendors to set perimeters from the beginning. This way your vendors know if it is within their realm to produce what your event needs are, and everything is black and white from the beginning.
Assign committees with dedicated members and leaders. Break up tasks among committees with driven members who all have the same goals. Make sure everyone has their own strengths but is equally driven to be involved. A few of the committees may include entertainment, decor, food, ticket sales and seating, and sponsorship. Having one chair for each committee means that there can be one collaborative meeting among chairs to take information back to the smaller groups, but that during committee meetings the focus can remain on that committee work.
Think outside the box. What is your draw? That really unique element that sets your event apart from the others in the area and makes the tickets sell like hot cakes. This can be the location, auction items, entertainment, food, decor or sold out guest attendance each year, but having that special something will keep the event hot year after year.
Wow your guests. Create the experience that will leave your guests asking for dates for the next event and asking how they can get more involved. If you can create instant buzz post event, it makes marketing for the next that much easier. Make sure your guests feel like VIP’s from the entrance on and know that they are attending a well produced event. This will make them comfortable and willing to donate more throughout the night, creating more success in the end donation.
Stay on your path. At the completion of your event, when you think the work is done, think again! Get together, calculate the results of what was raised or will be donated and give everyone a congratulatory pat on the back. Asses the planning and overall event with a SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis to gain a good grip on where the direction needs to be placed for the next function and set the next date to start the planning all over again!
We look forward to watching the production of each event again this year as the organizations strive to top last.