When creating events for non-profit organizations, two important purposes are almost always the driving reason behind the event. Events help to raise awareness of the organization and its mission. Most non-profits struggle to keep their name in the public eye without seeming too needy. The same event usually doubles as a fundraiser for the non-profit organization. It is important to keep in mind that whether it is a stated goal or not, the event will draw some attention to the organization. Because of this, the event must not only raise money, but do it in a way that enhances the non-profit’s image in the community.
Decide on an event that matches the knowledge of the planners.
It is critical that the planners of the event have enough experience in this type of event to be able to cover all of the bases as it is put together. If the planners are short in the experience department, it is best to either choose a different event or recruit knowledgeable help. For example, someone planning a golf tournament needs to at least understand the basics of the game of golf and have some idea of what golf courses will draw the best teams to participate.
The event should fit the needs of the organization.
The needs of the organization is to raise money and be represented well. If the plan is to raise $10,000, a local bake sale will not likely meet this need. Likewise, if the organization is church affiliated, a party featuring strippers is not likely to fit the way that the non-profit would like to be viewed. As a general rule, having more people attend is better as long as the crowd can be managed.
Once the type of event is selected, begin laying the ground work for the event to occur at least 3 months from now.
It is better to give yourself at least 6 months to put together a quality event. However, some have assembled great events in a few days or weeks. A lot depends on how big the event is, and how it will be advertised. Once the date is selected, begin to build in the steps needed to make the event happen. For outdoor events, you will have to locate shelter or tents and portable restroom facilities. Seating, tables, food, and special groups may need to be arranged. Factor all of this into your time line.
Establish a working budget for the event.
After laying out the event and the steps needed to bring it into reality, you will need to gather up the cost of each item for the event. By making a budget early in the process, you will be better able to control cost. This will also let you solicit sponsors to help underwrite the cost of the event. By having all or most of this cost in hand ahead of time, the money raised will all be available for the original purpose.
Keep good records of each step in the process.
This will give you accountability to others after the event. It will also give you guidelines and a map for doing the same type of event at a later time. Many non-profits like to do similar events each year. If other sister organizations want to know how you did it, this record will be a help to them, too.
Find a venue to host the event.
This can be a city park. It might be a golf course or civic auditorium. Depending on the type and size of the event, make sure that the venue has all of the amenities necessary to make the event a success. You will want to locate 2 or 3 choices to get the best mix of cost and event site. Sometimes paying a little can be better than free if the site is more visible or more readily accessible.
Do sufficient advertising.
Pull out all of the stops with this one. Use every type of advertising that you can afford. You cannot get the word out too much or too soon. Make fliers and other ads attractive and informative. Get help to make sure that the event is well publicized.
Plan for set up and clean up.
You need to arrange a group to set up for the event. Have a leader and a couple of teams so that the work can be divided. The same is true for the clean up teams. They need to leave your site the same way that you found it. This will help make the site available to you for future events.