Friday, December 25, 2009

Holiday Volunteering Parties

Piggy-backing on my last blog post, I saw this in today's Daily Candy:

Money, Time, & Energy
What: Contact local orgs to volunteer at shelters, foster a lonely pet, serve lunch, and be part of The Holiday Project.
Why: The winter doesn’t have to feel so cold.
When: Carve out some free time.
Where: Think local.

Nonprofits: you can market this in an email or on your website as a way to encourage your donors to get involved this holiday season.
Individuals and nonprofits: you can encourage your friends to get together for a holiday party where you visit a shelter together, serve lunch, or visit institutionalized patients. Take an hour or two out of your holiday party to do one of these activities. Afterwards, you can reconvene at a bar or your home for the holiday volunteering after-party, so you don't miss out on the fun holiday baked goods or drinks and you can share stories of your time volunteering.

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Practical Guide to Donating Time or Services this Christmas

Although the holiday season is coming to a close, I wanted to fit in an article about event planning and the holidays (since this is a huge event planning time of year, as well as the time of year when many charities are trying to get year-end donations).

I came across this blog article from a few weeks ago with practical suggestions on how to encorporate donating time or services into the holiday season. It's a great guide for nonprofits to suggest to their donors, even with 3 days left until Christmas. After all, many will be taking time off from work between now and New Year's and possibly looking for ways to make their holiday season more meaningful.

The Giving Spirit: Donate Your Time or Services this Holiday

Friday, December 18, 2009

Quick Update; Inviting Websites for Party Planners

It's been a busy December. I've been caught up in the typical holiday activities; throw into the mix work events plus my final presentation for class and now I have a cold. Those are the excuses behind my neglect of the blog.

This will be a quick update since I've been kind of drowsy with this cold.

A coworker brought to my attention an interesting article in the NY Times:
Inviting Websites for Party Planners
It's a nice breakdown of the different online invitation tools out there. The article does complain about Evite a bit. I'm an Evite fan, except for the fact that invitees always seem to wait to see who else is attending before they respond, which isn't really an Evite flaw as much as a social networking flaw. Still, it's nice to know that there are other options out there.

Have fun at your holiday parties and keep in mind these tools for inviting folks!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Don't Be These People

Nobody likes a party crasher. I thought we all outgrew this after college. As an event planner, unexpected guests, as well as last-minute RSVPers (and cancellations) irk me. I can't help it, it's in my brain cells... even though I have been one of "those" people many times. In the non-profit fundrasing world, last minute guests can mean more money or publicity for your cause. However, crashing a party that you weren't invited to is never a cool thing.
Couple Crashes Obama State Dinner:,8599,1943072,00.html

Here is an article about a non-profit organization, "The Moth", that serves as a venue for all types of people to come together on certain nights and tell non-fiction stories about the chosen topic of the night. Being known amongst my friends for entertaining, non-fictional, often wacky "Jen Cole stories", this is definitely an organization that sounds interesting to me. Additionally, I've been learning in class that a big part of being a good fundraiser is being a good story-teller (basically, you are telling the story of the organization in order to raise funds). Those are some reasons why this story interested me, on top of the fact that they threw a masquerade ball as a fundraiser. Happy reading and hope you had a happy Thanksgiving!
Masked Raconteurs Tell Tales at Moth Ball and I Have a Blast:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

A Practical Way That One Non-Profit Raises Funds Through Special Events

"Charity Makes Money From Renting Ballroom"

I love this story from the Chronicle of Philanthropy about how a non-profit that provides affordable housing to low-income people with AIDS purchased a dilapidated old hotel, fixed it up to it's former glory to provide housing for it's constituents and raise funds from renting out it's ballroom. You can have your event at the Prince George Hotel while helping this nonprofit - Common Grounds - support itself. What a great way to raise funds and be self-sufficient! It's my two favorite worlds meeting - special events and a social service organization.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Special Events in a Recession

New York Times had a great special section on giving yesterday. It can be accessed here:
There was an article that was especially interesting, "Galas Dispense With Some of the Froth":
It highlighted how the Special Events industry has been reacting to the "Great Recession". As one event planner put it, it's forcing planners to become more creative because charities do not want it to look like they are spending all the money that they raised on the gala. Some interesting ways they are making events more economical include toning down the formality of the events to make them more casual, offering chicken instead of beef, and changing centerpieces to short stemmed flowers (which are cheaper) with more candles. The article goes into more specific examples.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Google Grants - Marketing Your Event

On Thursday I attended a seminar at Google on the use of Google Tools for nonprofits. The seminar also covered the process for getting a Google grant, which gives nonprofits free use of AdWords (the featured advertisements to the top and right of your search results). Since Google grants has become popular, they warned that it may take between four to six months before you hear if your proposal has been approved or rejected. However, if you have an annual event or know well in advance that you have a big event coming up, applying for a Google grant is a great way to get free, very targeted and effective marketing for your event. Even if you don't get the grant, AdWords allows you to name your own budget and therefore can be an economical marketing tool for your event.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Inaugural Ball

Welcome to the inaugural post of my blog! Forgive the cheesey post title, I'm new to this! I'm aiming to post once or twice a week until I get the hang of it, then we'll see if I can pick up the pace a bit. If you are a kindred spirit who loves parties, making a difference, the non-profit world, or just stumbled across the blog and find it even midly entertaining, please follow me. I'm always up for making connections (somehow the phrase "meeting people" didn't seem as applicable on the internet), so let me know that you are out there. I want to follow you, too!
Now, for my first, very basic post.
One of my favorite websites for event planning is BizBash. It's essentially an event planner's Bible. Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, LA, Miami, New York, Orlando, Toronto, and Washington are all featured cities on the website where you can find venues, caterers, suppliers, event planners, and industry news.

I told you this was going to be basic. :) However, as I learn more, I plan to make this a little more in-depth.

Thanks for reading!