I've just come more acquainted with Joan Garry, whose book "Guide to Non-Profit Leadership" is hot off the press. At the same time, I've been supporting one of my clients on an upcoming special event. I have mixed feelings about events. I love them when they are deeply connected to mission, but anything that involves lots of small talk, unhealthy food and maybe a bit too much alcohol and food is not my favorite.
Here's Joan's take on the perils of events:
1) They are expensive and risky. While typically consuming large amounts of staff and volunteer labor that isn't assigned a line item in the expense budget, you are putting a lot of eggs into one basket. The group that had an avalanche impede access to their conference and silent auction never recovered.
2) Do they really focus on the mission? A local Diabetes charity was raising a significant amount through galas with wine and food. That never resonated with me, nor my Endocrinologist. Besides the funds that are raised, perhaps there are other ways all that volunteer energy could be dedicated to more meaningful approaches to fundraising.
Buying a ticket is not the same as making a donation. Connect your donors with the mission and focus on diversifying the event-management energy into activities that build knowledge, increase engagement and start that fabulous process of relationship building.