8 Tips to Successfully Plan, Organize, & Run a Nonprofit Event

Overview: Learn how to run a successful nonprofit event now and in the future

A post-pandemic world has resulted in more hybrid events. And it’s safe to assume that hybrid events aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. You might be familiar with auctions, galas, and parties, but when it comes to a nonprofit event, it’s hard to decide where to start. With this guide, you’ll be able to successfully plan your nonprofit event and leave a lasting impact on your attendees that will benefit your organization long-term.

1. Define Your Call-to-action:

What is the purpose of your nonprofit event? What are you trying to gain from it? Do you want to gain the support of existing donors, or are you hoping to attract potential donors? Either way, it’s important that you offer a clear call-to-action to your attendees. A clear call-to-action will enable your attendees to understand the expectation when they arrive and leave your event. For instance, if you want the attendees to volunteer in an awareness campaign, invest some resources in flyers that outline the specifics or direct attendees to your website for more information. Since events aren’t always lucrative in return, make sure you’re making the most of it.

2. Know Your Audience:

Do some research about the type of audience you’re trying to reach. It’s important that you learn their pain points and address them with empathy. This will help you learn who might be the most interested in your cause – their age, where they live, and other relevant pieces of information to establish your target demographic!

  • Age

  • Gender

  • Geographical location

  • Employment

  • Income

Research these areas of your target audience carefully, mainly the donors, and shape your event accordingly. As for the attendees, ensure that the segments you’re planning are fun and engaging so they don’t get bored or frustrated.

Still need help finding ways to reach the right people? This article might help.

3. Make a Budget... and Stick to it:

It’s always best to err on the side of caution than to lose a game. You know your financial circumstances, so make sure you’re planning your nonprofit event around your budget – this includes venue, catering, food, and the like. And if you intend to raise funds for a particular reason, don’t indulge in spending money on bells or whistles that won’t add to your ROI. If you’re unsure about funding, consider reaching out to some corporate sponsors to back you up. Nonprofit organizations have the advantage of being nonprofit. Companies will be more likely to support your event compared to a for-profit business.

4. Gather Volunteers:

Nonprofit organizations primarily rely on a team of volunteers to spread the word, carry out their mission, and provide assistance before, during, and even after the event. Having a written job description will help you onboard the best volunteers – from setting up the evet to making connections durig the event that’ll benefit your organization in the long-run.

5. Inspire Your Audience:

Get the community invested in your cause – show them how powerful the difference and change their impact could make. Use examples from the previous victories and inspire them. Make sure you’re being empathic to get people’s attention (and get them talking). If you’re providing value at your nonprofit organizational event, you’ll receive more than you have invested/asked for. Show them that your efforts are worth their time and money.

6. Decide the Venue:

After you set the budget and finalize the list of the guests, it’s time to plan how you’ll bring the vision of hosting an extraordinary event to life. If you’re deciding to host an in-person fundraising event, choose an appropriate space. Find a venue that’s climate-friendly, airy, and can comfortably accommodate your audience.

7. Plan for a Dynamic Experience:

Give people something to talk about! Since you’re doing a fundraising event to inspire people and donors, consider these points.

  • Invite the right people only. Don’t spend money on gathering an extra crowd – just a bunch of right people from the relevant fields, a group of donors, and a few volunteers. The fewer the people, the friendliest the budget.

  • Pay attention to your invitation – hire a professional to write exceptionally compelling copy and relate it to your cause. The suitable professional writer will make a call to act, including early bird pricing, and some exclusive benefits for early registrants.

  • Encourage ticket buyers to spread your word – they’ll do so when they believe in your cause. Make sure you’re making them feel in you.

  • Go Green! Send manual invitations to donors and special guests and sell tickets online.  

  • Solicit additional donations – both from the attendees and the donors. People pay when (1) they believe what you’re offering, and (2) they choose to give more when they’re asked/given options too.

  • A pro tip here is to open donation options from all means – allow them to do a bank transfer, Apple Pay, or anything feasible. This handy way will encourage them to donate more to support you.

  • Thank your supporters immediately.

Do something “out of the box” at this event such as arranging for some drinks via a cocktail hour for guests to converse with each other. Offer snacks and try to keep the environment of your event a light and relaxing.

8. Promote, Promote, & Promote:

Accept that there’s nothing wrong with promoting your cause. Form a written structure aligned with everything you offer and use your social media, emails, and website to promote the event. The more people know about you, the more chances your nonprofit organization will escalate.

Find supporters and friends who’re the most passionate about your cause – frankly, even more than you. Ask them to promote the event on their social media accounts – your volunteers can do so too. And take advantage of email marketing – it drives 2x more revenue than the generic mails, and can boost your guests’ list.

In Summary:

Following these simple but effective tips, we hope your event will skyrocket the funds. Once the event succeeds, fan the flames by sharing your success everywhere, reaching out to more people, and drumming up for the new event.