5 Mistakes a Nonprofit Makes When Planning an Event

Do you want to plan an event for your nonprofit? Take a few minutes to read these 5 Mistakes a Nonprofit Makes When Planning an Event and get the best results.

There isn’t a single soul in this world that starts out trying to plan a lousy event. Event planners put their best foot forward to create the best event possible, but that does not mean it always pans out.

Unfortunately, sometimes things go south. Some events will fail and not only that, they’ll fail so spectacularly that instead of a successful event that meets all of your nonprofit hopes and dreams, they do the exact opposite. This means that your organization loss precious resources and now you have to get creative with PR to recover from the whole thing.

That being said, there’s a number of ways you can avoid having a much bigger problem on your hands during your event planning efforts with your organization. How can you make sure that your nonprofit event that you’re planning is a resounding success?

I really wish I could give you a one-size fits all solution, but we haven’t quite gotten that algorithm down yet. There are, however, certain mistakes you can avoid during your event planning efforts that increases your chances of success.

Here’s a few mistakes to avoid that should help your event go a little more smoothly:

1. You Don’t Have A Contingency Plan

Event planning is ground zero for unwanted and unexpected situations. They’re inevitable and it’s up to you and your event planning team to minimize the impact they have on your attendees. If you’re really good, they won’t notice at all- but that takes planning.

You need to take all possible scenarios into account. Weather, backup dates and venues, and communications prepared should the need to postpone arise.

2. You Aren’t Rolling Out The Red Carpet For Key Donors

Nonprofit events are complex in the sense that they’re multifaceted- fundraising is only one part of an event’s purpose. The event gives you an opportunity to speak with donors in a fun environment and connect with them in a way you wouldn’t be able to do otherwise. This is your time to build strong relationships with your donor base.

One ‘amenity’ you can offer is assign a volunteer or staff member to high profile donors who will be in attendance at your event. This makes these key people feel valued as you make the extra effort to get to know them and greet them.

3. No One Knows Your Fundraising Goals

Being transparent in a nonprofit environment is incredibly crucial these days and this is no different with your fundraising goals at events. Transparency with your goals helps you achieve two different things:

Building trust equity with your donors.

4.  Provides a strong call-to-action

Tell your event attendees the specifics that you’re trying to accomplish often during the event. Even better? Tell them ahead of the event itself. Giving donors a clear direction will help them understand how their role benefits your organization.

No ‘After Party’ Engagement Plan

Perhaps the biggest mistake an event planner can make in this space is not strategizing and having a post-event engagement strategy in place before the event even happens. If they do have it, they often make the mistake of not implementing it immediately following the event.

Reminding attendees of the experience they just had and saying ‘Thank you’ with a text is a great way to start the engagement post-event.

When it comes to major donors, however, don’t just send a text! This is where it’s time to pick up the phone and thank them personally for attending and contributing to your organization.

5. Lacking A Time Driven Agenda

When events don’t have a time driven agenda, they tend to run too long and wear out their welcome. Attendees will be more focused on leaving and getting home than they will be on your cause.

This is the moment to create positive experiences through refining in three stages:

– Registration: If you focus on nothing else, optimize the check-in. There are tools like RSVPify that make this process as easy and convenient for attendees as possible.

-Event: Focus on keeping attendees engaged. This is your major priorty as if you don’t, they may not show up to your next event. Utilize staff and volunteers intelligently and place them at key places to direct attendees from point A to point B.

-Ceremony: Create time slots for key speakers at the event and let them know what you expect before the event even starts. Keeping your speakers from going off topic will help keep attendees engaged and interested.

All of these mistakes are common, so if you have found you’ve made one or two of these nonprofit event planning faux paus, that’s alright. Learning from them is the most important thing. When you plan your next event, take the time to plan for some of these points so that your event will be smooth, successful, and hit goals!

Author Bio:

Kristen Bowie is a marketing leader, forging the path with data-driven decisions. When she’s not writing for thought leadership and creating sponsorship proposals at Qwilr, she’s hanging out with her two urban dwarf goats, painting, or is out watching a local band.

Over to you

Share your thoughts about planning fundraising events for your nonprofit in the comment section below. I’m really looking forward to reading your comments.

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