A Nonprofit Guide to Event Planning [2022]

A Nonprofit Guide to Event Planning [2022]

Events are considered to be one of the top most funding sources for most of the nonprofits today. Through an event, you can attract new donors, connect with new volunteers, raise awareness for a cause and grow brand recognition. Additionally, you can showcase the work you do and introduce upcoming projects to supporters.

It’s really fun to host an event, however it requires a lot of hard work, proper planning and execution to be successful.

Here is an 8-step guide on how to plan an engaging and unforgettable event for your non-profit organisation.

8 Steps to Successful Nonprofit Event Planning

Step 1: Assemble an event planning team

It takes a lot of time and energy to plan an event. You need to assemble a team to handle and manage various event planning tasks such as attendee registration, catering, managing guests, venue setup, marketing etc.

If you are planning for a big event, you can even hire a professional event planner but you’ll still need an event planning team to direct them throughout the event.

Get the right people on your event planning committee that have good planning, communication and networking skills.

Step 2: Define a clear goal

Before you plan for an event, you need to decide what you want to achieve. You can have multiple goals for an event but you need to define a primary goal. Your primary goal can be to raise funds for a specific cause or purpose, upgrade recurring donors, celebrate your success, raise awareness, announce a new project etc.

Step 3: Choose a right type of event

If you decide for an event to raise funds for your nonprofit, you’ll then need to choose the right type of event keeping in mind a) audience interests b) conducting it virtually or offline c) available volunteers or team members to staff the event d) within a specific budget.

Step 4: Recruit volunteers

Sometimes you may not have enough or zero volunteers to support and work for your events. It might be a good time to recruit some new talented volunteers with skills, experience and interests that match your nonprofit organisation.

Step 5: Decide upon donation collections & sponsors

In this step, you need to finalise on how you are going to collect information and accept donations from event attendees. Are you going to sell tickets to attend the event? If so, what will be ticket pricing, the registration process and selling of tickets managed etc. Also, if you are planning to get sponsors for the event, then you need to think about creating a proposal, define sponsor packages with an outreach plan.

Step 6: Design your event

This is an important step in the event planning checklist. Things that you need to consider in this step is a) venue for event b) day, time and duration of the event c) event floor layout / decor / setup as per defined activities and expected audience d) transportation options to reach the venue e) parking facility f) decide upon specific roles for volunteers and staff g) plan to tackle any emergencies etc.

Step 7: Promote your event

To make your event successful, you have no choice but to promote, promote and promote. You can reach out via email, call or social media to your staff members, existing volunteers, donors and supporters to get the word out about the event by telling their friends, family, and colleagues. Additionally, you can run social media ad campaigns to promote your event.

Step 8: Post event follow-up

Soon after the event is over, you can immediately send out “thank you” emails to all attendees and gather their feedback via surveys. To all donors, you can give a pleasant surprise by making a phone call or sending a handwritten letter. Also, it’s a time to list things that worked great, things to improve and things that didn't work at all.

Key Benefits of Nonprofit Event Planning:

  • Increase awareness of your cause

  • Sell tickets to raise money or ask attendees for donations

  • Help attract recurring donors

  • Opportunity to recruit new volunteers

  • Increase brand recognition

  • Gain support from event sponsors

Whether your event is large or small, the above steps will help you in effective event planning to deliver an unforgettable experience for your donors, volunteers and supporters.