Nonprofit organizations spend a lot of time planning their annual event.
Thought is given to the invite list, the honorees and the funding they can help attract, the food, the flowers, and a hundred other details. However, when it comes to engaging guests and building support, many nonprofits fall short.
This is a missed opportunity because you have a captive audience, many of whom know little about what you do. Your event presents a chance to connect with these people and build stronger connections with existing supporters.
Here are some tips on how to make every minute count and better ensure that guests remember your organization long after they have left for the night.
1. Tell a story. Your organization likely runs many programs, but people never remember lists, so tie it all together with a story about your work.
2. Help write a script for your cast. Your honorees and presenters might not necessarily have strong ties to your organization, or they might only be familiar with one of your programs, so it's your job to educate them and provide them with suggestions or talking points to get them on message. Have each person play a role in telling your story. Honorees (or their staff) are typically thankful for having to do less prep work when accepting an award.
3. Identify your main character. Every story has one. Pick a person or two with a great personal story that is tied to your organization. This can be a staff member, client or participant, volunteer, or anyone who will be able to connect with an audience. Work with them on a script that aims to move people and tell a powerful story about your organization's impact.
4. Entertain them and leave them wanting more. Make your audience laugh, make them cry, wow them, do something to connect with them and have them remember your organization's important work. And keep it short. The last thing you want is people checking the time and wondering when the event will end.
There are many more things you can do to connect with your audience. Just put yourself in their shoes and think about what you'd want to hear, see, watch or read.
I wish you all a fruitful fundraising season.
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