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Smashing through fundraising barriers.  A board bursting with pride at its own achievement.  A room packed to the rafters with the right people.  

Several Cause Effective clients have achieved this and more with breakthrough events this Fall.  So we asked them: "What are the secrets of your success?"

A Change of Scenery
Sometimes, to get away from the same-old, same-old, you have to change it up.   "We held our event at a more upscale location," reflected Sapna Executive Director and Co-Founder Alison Karasz, "which made us look more sophisticated and may have encouraged guests and donors.  Our board members were definitely more energized to invite guests."
Likewise, Brooklyn Legal Services Corporation A ("Brooklyn A") changed its venue - and while costs went up, the feel of the event shifted in a way that supported the group's fundraising goals and focused on the evening's high-profile honoree.

New Leadership
MinKwon Center for Community Action has a new board president who "worked very hard on the event," explained MinKwon Center's development director Cynthia Tomm.  "His energy and leadership kept us consistently focused on reaching our fundraising targets."
Sapna organized a host committee which energized everyone in the "old guard": "Having a host committee that included non-board members made the whole thing feel more exciting," noted Karasz.

Relationship with Honorees
Brooklyn A secured their honoree through a multi-year process that identified a prospect with deep connections, built linkages to him through several routes, and culminated in a 3-person asking team of long-time donors and staff.  "That was a great way to get donors more deeply involved," acknowledged Gloria Ramon, Brooklyn A's director of development and communications.   

Emboldened by previous honoree arrangements, the group asked directly for a $50,000 "get" - and ended up, through the honoree's corporate connections, with a single $100,000 gift which not only exceeded the group's expectations but led the board to understand that this event was going to be on a different level than events of the past.

The board came through, filling tables with individuals capable of interacting with a corporate honoree at a level they hadn't done in the past.  "This was the first year that the board saw that we have the capacity to get the right people in the room," remarked Ramon. 

Internal Cheerleaders
Getting one board member to keep beating the drum so that board members stay focused was really helpful for the MinKwon Center.  "Our board president is a big motivator of other people," explained Tomm.  "He's strong with getting the board to give, and getting them to get their companies to give."  Brooklyn A's Ramon set aside time to draft encouraging emails to the board - including ones that board members could send out to others under their own name.

A Team Effort
Everyone knows that events are labor-intensive on the day-of - but these organizations built organization-wide fundraising teams around their events.  "Our secret is having all hands on deck," said Tomm.  "All the board and staff are very involved - everyone takes ownership of making our event as successful as it could be." 
Any one of these elements can be a game-changer - and combining them can lead to a home run!
Cause Effective Can Help

Events can do much for your organization, but they require a considerable investment of time and money.  If your events strategy needs a tune up, drop us a line.


We'll be glad to think through the elements to enable you to build events that succeed in many ways.

Judy Levine 
Executive Director  
Cause Effective Around Town
Cause Effective is hiring, our clients in the news, new blog posts...and more! 
Join the Team:
Cause Effective is hiring a part-time Program Associate!
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Congratulations to Cause Effective client The Financial Clinic!
The Financial Clinic was just awarded a $1 Million grant from JPMorgan Chase to support a multi-faceted project that will build financial security for working poor Americans in New York City, Dallas/Fort Worth and nationwide. Well deserved!

From the Cause Effective Blog:
Board Behavior: From Doing to Governing
The absent director: Doesn't respond to emails, barely skims the material, misses more meetings than not. Nobody wants somebody like this on their board.

But consider the other extreme: board members who fixate on budget details, or fuss over the intricacies of newsletter design.

Sound ideal, to have a board that involved?  Not really.   [more]
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For over 30 years, Cause Effective has strengthened the nonprofit sector by increasing the capacity of more than 5,000 nonprofits to build sustainable communities of supporters.  We provide carefully tailored counsel to help nonprofits diversify funding, raise more money from individuals, activate boards of directors, and get the greatest value from anniversaries and special events so they can achieve long-term, community-based change.

To learn more, please visit www.causeeffective.org.