From Galas to golf tournaments, nonprofits have diverse events, some of which have expanded into multiple day extravaganzas.
This lively infographic is hand-drawn by Urban Wild Studio at our 2019 Thought Leadership Summit and is the basis for the following article. The content is based on a presentation via Greater Giving team member Tracey leading the discussion with clients from the Emeril Lagasse Foundation and Medical University of South Carolina’s Collin’s Cancer Center. This is article 4 of 4 in this series.
If a typical nonprofit event lasts a few hours, some events have grown into huge multi-day events. What’s the winning formula?
Types of Events Standards and Diversification
Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer in New Orleans and Gourmet & Grapes in Kiawah, SC are two events that expanded into multi-day events.
Boudin, Bourbon, and Beer features more than 50 chefs and plenty of live music in New Orleans for a two-night event that includes a gala. The event raises money for the Emeril Lagasse Foundation which does…
Gourmet & Grapes is a five-day event at The Sanctuary at Kiawah Island Golf Resort. As the name suggests, it highlights area culinary talent and features acclaimed wines. The event supports cancer research and patient programs at Hollings Cancer Center.
There are proven ways to create successful events that grow into larger, multi-day events.
Recipe for success:
- Find out what guests like – What type of theme/event would appeal?
- Entertain them – Big events have “not to be missed” entertainment.
- Make it feel exclusive – VIP areas with special refreshments are always appreciated.
Most events that have grown into multi-day events include:
- Live music – The music can be a draw of its own and stimulate ticket sales. Choose area favorites to enhance the fun.
- Featured Food and drink – From award-winning chefs to acclaimed spirits, choosing a central type of food/drink can provide a theme for the entire event.
- Themed areas and tents – These can be “sponsored by” a company to offset costs.
Of course, you want to infuse hospitality throughout the event. It’s wise to start small and think through the details. Invest in industry professionals because they’ve already thought through hundreds of details.
As you grow, evolve your packages. Ensure you’re working efficiently, and the event doesn’t take over your mission. Consider underwriting or “made affordable by…” opportunities for corporate sponsorship.
Begin your donor outreach early. Build relationships, create a tribe, and let them be your ambassadors.
Incorporate your mission into the event. Share participant stories and use every opportunity to infuse purpose into your marketing and have hospitality “checkpoints.” That way, you know your mission is interwoven into the event.
Don’t forget your volunteers! These are your backbone as every event manager knows. Help them feel appreciated, build trust, and balance work with fun. Volunteers are also great ambassadors (and sometimes they’re donors too!) Be sure to make feed them snacks and make sure they have time to walk and enjoy around the event.
What about virtual events? Many of the same principles apply. For example, consider a series of events with layers of storytelling. For example, for a food event, you could work with participating chefs and restaurants to send boxed meals to their home. Have a coordinated time when everyone will open their meals together. Incidentally, this would make a terrific time for your emcee to welcome everyone, share a short story about why they’re together, and suggest a donation.
If music is part of your ideal multi-day venue, you can arrange for the musicians to livestream for your audience.
No matter what type of fundraising event you’re planning, you’ll need professionals to help. From the pre-planning, to logistics, and technology, fundraising professionals will help your event run successfully.