February 14, 2020
Successful events can be a lifeline for nonprofit organizations to fulfill its mission. On February 11, it was standing room only for the first Nonprofit Lunch & Learn of the year on successful event planning. Katie Enzweiler from VonLehman CPA and Advisory Firm moderated the event with guest speakers Alyson Poling of the American Heart Association and Kurt Reiber of Freestore Foodbank. They provided insight on planning events and shared the following strategies and tips:
1. Start planning for an event as soon as possible. Alyson Poling added that she's scheduling for 2021.
2. Establish a purpose and goal for the event, such as to raise awareness or increase donations. Success is then measured by that goal.
3. Create an Executive Leadership Team (ELT). Not only will you have key decision makers on your team, but you'll have an open front door to the company.
4. Storytelling and consistent messaging are key. Tell your audience why your nonprofit is having this event and why it's good to be associated with the nonprofit brand.
5. Advertise the event. Spread the word and create excitement through your volunteers! Use social media and tag influencers or boost posts. Contact local news or pay for radio personalities to talk about events on air. Partner with other companies.
6. Leverage strengths to attract and retain sponsors. Consider asking companies for a multiple year sponsorship and and provide additional benefits for continued sponsorship. Poling added the importance of meeting formally on a regular basis. Reiber also reminded attendees that events are never going to go as planned, so it's important to touch base with sponsors for feedback and ensure the expectations were met.
7. Organize policies and procedures for volunteers. Designate a team leader so roles and responsibilities are clear.
8. Know when to discontinue the event. This decision is difficult, especially when volunteers and staff are extremely passionate about the event. However, ask some questions like how much staff time is devoted? Is the market saturated with the same type of event? What is the return on investment? Use data to support decisions.
The CBC is proud to partner with VonLehman to offer these nonprofit sessions to our members and clients. If you would like information about joining the Covington Business Council, please contact Executive Director Pat Frew at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by Molly Weaver, Capacity Coordinator, Covington Business Council