Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Venues are Offering Deals Because of the Recession

Today I ran across an interesting post on the Association of Fundraising Professional's message board on LinkedIn:
The plus side to the recession: deals can be found on venues. The example used in the article above is a venue waiving the rental fee for nonprofit organizations for mid-week events. That's quite a deal.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Building Your Brand and Network with Every Event

Today I was thinking about how my blog reminds me a bit of the 'current events' assignment I used to have back in elementary school. We were required to scan the newspaper, pick an article, write a paragraph about it, and present it to class. Back then, the internet was still something that was only used by the government and computer geeks. Who would have known that assignment was preparing me for my blog many years down the road?

I came across an article in Biz Bash that highlights and organization that thinks of ways to use their fundraising events as a means of building their brand and network. I just finished reading a book by my favorite author, One Million Miles in One Thousand Years by Donald Miller. The book is all about story - how our lives are a story and the elements that make a good story. In one part of the book, Miller is writing a screenplay and explains how having a scene where two people sit in a coffee shop to hash out a conflict won't work because it isn't memorable. Miller points out that good movies have scenes taking place in strange places, such as in a batting cage (Good Will Hunting), on the edge of a cliff (Garden State), or in a meat locker (Rocky). This theory applies to fundraising events as well. To make your event memorable, it helps to have it in an interesting place or with an unusual activity going on. Positive memories are what help to build your brand, and entice donors to give (as well as remember you in the future and tell their friends about you).

Most Valuable Kids held a Ping-Pong Tournament fundraiser. Since the organization largely sends kids to sports-related events, they use sports events as fundraisers. As the organization's president put it: "When five of us started Most Valuable Kids in New York in 2006, we didn't want to do the typical events. For us, it's all about building our brand and building our network with every event." They are also planning a tennis, swimming, and golf triathalon this summer.
The event brought in 250 - 300 people, most of which were new donors.


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Have More Smaller Events That Cost Little or Nothing

This article from the Chronicle of Philanthropy caught my attention for a number of reasons.

A Sleep-In Captures Donors' Attention: http://philanthropy.com/premium/articles/v22/i04/04001502.htm

GlobalGiving hosted their second annual "Great American Sleep-In," encouraging people to sleep-in on Black Friday and instead make a donation. First of all, I love anything that takes our minds away from materialism and towards helping others. I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who feels this way, which is why events like these are successful. Secondly, I like the point that the development director makes: "If we can do a number of smaller events where we make a little bit of money and they don't cost us much, if anything, that will supplement our income and really raise awareness about who we are and what we do." This is a powerful and effective philosophy to go by in planning events for small nonprofits with little resources. It's a great philosophy for large nonprofits to make their dollars go farther, as well.