Five Things to Keep in Mind When Planning a Special Event
Special events are a great opportunity for a nonprofit organization to raise money for its cause, engage the community and increase awareness of the good work it does. But they often require a lot of work and a good deal of resources, and they can be tricky to pull off the first few times out.
In his “Guide to Special Events Fundraising,” CFRE Ken Wyman helps nonprofit fundraisers navigate the rough terrain of special events, discussing everything from ethics, getting as much as you can donated, the benefits of challenge grants, the ins and outs of auctions, and getting enough volunteers.
Wyman is a fundraising consultant and professor of fundraising who teaches a post-graduate course in fundraising for charities at The Humber Institute of Technology and Advanced Learning in Toronto.
Another topic he touches on in the book is how to guarantee income before you sell the first ticket for your special event, mainly through sponsorship.
“One of the most important and rapidly emerging areas is sponsorship, particularly corporate sponsorship,” Wyman says. “More and more, businesses want to have an involvement with special events, particularly in the areas of sports and arts and culture, because it’s an excellent way for them to build brand, reach an audience, sample products, drive traffic into retailers and achieve a variety of other goals. They’re often willing to pay very substantial rights fees for this, so we can have all the costs of our events covered long before we start thinking about attendance.”
Wyman says the first thing an organization needs to do when gearing up to get sponsors for an event is figure out what makes the event attractive to sponsors, which can require some calculations and some research. Sponsors naturally are more interested in events that are well attended or broadcast to a wide audience, but Wyman says it’s not always a question of sheer numbers.