Using an Event Planner for Your Fundraising Event

Fundraising events are tricky. On one hand you want to be a good steward of your organization’s resources and spend as little money as possible putting on the event; on the other hand, you want to deliver as enjoyable an experience as you can to your guests so they will have fun, connect with your mission and contribute the funds you so desperately need.

There’s an old saying “They way you do anything is the way you do everything.” That might be an overstatement of how we feel internally about our own actions.

But this definitely shows up in the way we judge the actions of others. For example, if someone aggressively cuts us off in traffic, we tend to believe that person is probably a jerk in other parts of his life. By contrast, if someone risks her life to save a stranger, we tend to believe that person is a heroine and is probably a generous, caring person in every aspect of her life.

It’s part of our nature to make these types of judgments based on the behaviors we see in front of us. What does that have to do with you and your event?

What do your donors think when they arrive at your event and check-in is disorganized, your agenda is jumbled, the overall event is unprofessional and check-out is slow and sloppy? Maybe they forgive you and say, “Their expertise is taking care of the people they serve, not putting on parties.” OR do your guests silently (and unconsciously) think, “Hmm … this event is shoddy and unprofessional, so it probably means the whole charity is shoddy and unprofessional. I don’t think I want to contribute any money, because I don’t think they know how to deploy it to get maximum effect.”

This is where a good event planner can be worth her weight in gold. If people believe that “how you do anything is how you do everything” you want to make sure that your guests see your organization performing extremely well.

A talented event planner can help in many ways, including:

Know-How:  A good event planner has seen it all. While your experience is mostly developed through hosting your own event once a year, an event planner has done hundreds and maybe thousands of events, so his or her cumulative knowledge is very broad. She knows what works; she knows what doesn’t work, and she knows what possible, so she can help you dream bigger about what your event can become.

Problem Solving:  We tend to think of problem solving as a reactive process, but that’s only a small piece of the puzzle. Talented professionals solve most problems before they ever become problems.

Connections:  A good event planner has a lot of connections and they’ve worked with all of the vendors in the past, so he or she knows who does a good job and who doesn’t. They can help you acquire the best talent to ensure that you’re surrounded by professionals.

Polished:  Your event will be polished and professional, giving your guests – and potential donors – confidence that you will manage their donations in a thoughtful, organized way.

Overall, the best advice is to make sure you work with a good quality event planners who are experienced in fundraising and who comes highly recommended. Check referrals and do your own due diligence before investing in this important piece of your fundraising event pie.

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