Gala event reception

Common Sense Nonprofit Event Planning Advice

Gala event reception

Let’s begin with the Big Kahuna piece of advice: Ask yourself WHY you want to do this event.

Were you to bring your event proposal to a wise shaman or mentor, this is the question they would ask you first – well before asking what theme or format you have in mind or what color scheme you want to use!

And yet this is the one question I find nonprofits failing to ask.  Does anyone in leadership on your staff or board think either of these things?

  • Events are an inevitable part of the diversified fundraising mix.
  • Events are the primary way to generate awareness and funds.

Events are neither inevitable nor primary.

Events are merely a means to an end.

And since they are extremely resource-intensive, one thing is critical — and too many nonprofits skip right over this step. Please, don’t let that be you!

Think long and hard before embarking on a strategy that could potentially derail other more lucrative and cost-effective approaches.

Events have their place, to be sure; it’s up to you to put them in their place. You must take charge, lest your event(s) take charge of you!

What is Your End Goal?

You don’t buy a drill because you need a drill. More likely, you need to create a hole. And there’s something particular you want to fill that hole with, right? Maybe the drill will give you that perfect hole or, perhaps, there’s another more effective tool. It depends on the size and purpose of your desired hole. The same is true with nonprofit special events.

You don’t create an event for the sake of having one.

No matter what one or more board members or other leaders think would be swell. No, you hold an event for a specific purpose. For example, to: