How an unforgettable event takes shapeBy Vic McCarty
World-class fundraising events, the kind that create unforgettable guest experiences, require time, thought, care, and a range of specific skills. Successful events are critical because they are a direct reflection of the organization, often reinforcing or emphasizing the overall mission, and a great opportunity to highlight programs, services, and the population you serve. In addition, they are frequently the single point of entry for those unfamiliar with the organization or the services it provides.
Nonprofits should approach event planning with specific, carefully-considered goals, objectives, outcomes, and strategies. Event timelines and advance planning are vital to the success of every fundraising event, as is support from stakeholders: board members, donors, clients, volunteers, and others. Event planning committees and event chairs can also provide invaluable support for the staff member responsible.
Event supporters, sponsors, and participants are also essential in terms of financing and awareness. A nonprofit organization should rely on supporters not only to contribute financially, but also to promote the event and the organization. Encourage all stakeholders to join marketing and promotion efforts – they can influence those who might not otherwise become involved to participate in and promote events themselves.
Planning events well in advance, paying thoughtful attention to event details and logistics, is a must! Event professionals need to be highly organized, detail-oriented, interpersonal, flexible, and excellent with documentation, follow-up, and follow-through. Just as an event’s themes reflect the nonprofit’s mission, its execution and coordination reflects the nonprofit’s efficacy. A coordinator should therefore give each event one hundred percent, making each polished and professional.
Interested in advancing your event planning skills and understanding? Join me for a Master Class in Designing and Executing World-Class Fundraising Events. This small-group, hands-on course, designed especially for those with at least three years planning events, will provide close-up coaching, peer sharing, and open, informative discussion on creating and improving signature events. You’ll craft documents and toolkits to equip you for successful event planning; learn how to secure event stakeholders, sponsors, and supporters; and build strategies for engaging participants and highlighting the mission work on-site at the event. We’ll also address planning timelines, marketing materials, budgets, pre-event checklists, and post-event tasks. Each participant will be equipped to make immediate use of strategies, best practices, planning documents, and timelines developed through the course. At the conclusion, participants are encouraged to make a formal presentation on one of their organization’s events, giving them the chance to incorporate lessons learned and receive feedback from peers.
Vic McCarty serves as Managing Partner of McCarty Collaborative Consulting, LLC. He has worked with nonprofits to coordinate, oversee, and implement a wide variety fundraising events, which have netted a combined total of $3.5 million-plus. Among other highlights from his 17-year career, McCarty is responsible for creating Hemophilia of Georgia’s Trot to Clot Walk, and expanding the Walk For Wishes campaign for Make-A-Wish Georgia.