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Those of you who know me (most of my readers) know that I hate events. Actually, it's not that I hate events, it's that I don't think they are an effective and efficient way to raise money -- for most small and mid-sized nonprofits.
Let's look at the pros and cons:
Pros: Gets people together, showcases the work of the organization, raises some money
Cons: Tremendous amount of man/woman power to plan and executive event, usually a small return on investment of time and resources, doesn't raise much money
Now...let's look at the opportunities and you tell me if your organization is capitalizing on those opportunities:
Is your Board trained to act as hosts at the event by welcoming guests, talking about the organization and talking about why they are involved?
Is your staff mingling throughout the crowd, sitting at tables with guests and talking about the program/mission? Are you recording names, address and email for every person who attends the event?
Are you taking pictures of guests and announcing that they will be posted on your website tomorrow ... right next to the DONATE NOW button?
Are you following up with a meaningful thank you note or thank you email?
Six months later, are you sending a photo/letter/article to those who attended the event to show them the impact of the money raised at that event?
Like everything in fundraising, an event must be part of a comprehensive, year-round program of cultivation and stewardship. If you MUST have an event, please remember to make it about your cause and about your donors.
By the way, in case you don't know it, several years ago I invented the Virtual Gala -- the perfect solution. Check it out at The Virtual Gala .
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Congratulations to Kevin Beerstecher, Editor, and his able staff of students at NYU's Heyman Center for Philanthropy and Fundraising on the launch of PhilanthropyNYU, an academic E-Journal edited by the Masters students at the Heyman Center. This great publication features articles, opinions, commentaries, interviews and book reviews focusing on current topics in philanthropy and fundraising.
In the Winter 2010 Issue, read about: capital campaigns, donor relations, grantmaking, nonprofit standards, community based organizations and more.
Check it out today at: www.philanthropynyu.com !
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