Nonprofit events can be used to raise funds, grow brand awareness, network, and more. But planning them isn’t easy. It takes a lot of preparation and hard work.
So here are some tips for planning a nonprofit event and making it a success:
Here’s How to Plan a Nonprofit Event
Define event goals
The first thing you need to do when planning a nonprofit event is to define your goals. What are you hoping to accomplish? Do you want to raise awareness? Recruit new volunteers? Expand your services?
Whatever it is, please put it on paper so everyone is on the same page. And if you have multiple goals, prioritize them.
Set a budget
Next, set a budget for the event. This helps you stay within your means and gives you a way to measure success.
Your budget should take into account your available resources and projected expenses, including the cost of the venue, catering, entertainment, speakers, decorations, and more.
The more detailed your budget, the better prepared you’ll be. And don’t forget to budget a little extra for unexpected expenses.
Confirm the date and venue
Your event planning can’t go far without a date and location. So settle on a time and place that works best for the organization and potential guests.
That way, you can start planning and giving people enough notice to put the event on their calendars.
Build a team
Hosting an event isn’t something you can do on your own. It takes a team. So start recruiting staff volunteers to help you on the big day.
Assign different roles to volunteers based on their interests. You’ll need people to help with event registration, promotion, security, transportation, cleanup, and more.
Coordinate tasks with project management software and give volunteers free perks and admission to other events to show your appreciation for their help.
Choose an event format
These days, many events are held online. That means you can choose to host your nonprofit event virtually, in person, or some combination of the two (hybrid).
Whatever format you choose is fine, but it’s best to decide earlier than later as it will change how you plan.
With the date and format set, you’re ready to send out invitations. Send personalized messages via email or snail mail if you can. This way, you’re more likely to get a response. Attendees from past events are also more likely to come.
The invitation should include the event date, time, location, and schedule along with your contact information so recipients know where to go if they have further questions.
You can also create an online registration link for people to RSVP to the event. That way, you can keep a running list of attendees. Consider following up with anyone that doesn’t respond to your invite via phone.
Promote the event
After sending personal invitations, it’s time to promote your event online. You can do this on your website, your social media profiles, or even online ads.
Online marketing is a critical step for maximizing your event attendance and promoting your brand. After all, everyone is on the internet these days and you must stand out from over 1.5 million other US nonprofit organizations.
Finalize event logistics
In the last days before the event, make final arrangements. You should have all the technology set up and ready to go, signs and directions posted, reminder emails sent, and swag and gifts ready to hand out.
Use event tech software to further streamline your execution of the event and make sure everything runs smoothly.
Bonus tip: Follow up and evaluate
Once the event is over, the job isn’t done. Send a thank you to all the participants and volunteers and include a feedback survey. That way, you not only keep in touch but gain valuable insight into what went well and what didn’t.
Then evaluate yourself and ask what could have been done better. Collect all the feedback into one place and review it so you know how to improve your next event.