Many not-for-profit organisations conduct events to raise awareness or as fundraisers to provide support to their core services. We conducted a half-day workshop on events and media in conjunction with Eastern Volunteers.
There are considerable challenges in managing events, particularly in ensuring that the activities support the aims of the organisation and provide a positive return. Many not-for-profit organisations do not have the resources available for a dedicated events team. Subcommittees can be useful in overcoming these constraints by encouraging staff and volunteer participation, while also enabling a range of people and skills to become involved in planning and conducting an event.
Events should be evaluated against objectives to justify the commitment and resources. For example, it may be useful to evaluate the effectiveness of an event in regard to fundraising, staff resources, financial return and awareness.
Business Sponsorship is often required to support community events and it is critical that an organisation is able to demonstrate tangible benefits for this support. Not-for-profit organisations should prepare information packages that outline the benefits of sponsorship, including the audience reach and ongoing coverage. It is often useful to determine whether an event attracts a particular demographic and to target businesses who wish to reach a similar target market.
Several levels of sponsorship should be provided, with clear differences in value between each package. Providing a range of sponsorship packages, enables several businesses to become involved and encourages the potential to upgrade support in future years.
Businesses should be encouraged to be present during the event and to see first-hand the results of their investment. Providing photographs and videos also enables businesses with ongoing materials from the event and can support discussions for support in future years.
Events also need to be sufficiently promoted and it is often useful to plan backwards when organising an event. This approach will help ensure that invitations, media releases and other promotional tools are dispatched in time.
Media releases should be relevant to the audience of the media outlet to assist in coverage. Often it useful to speak to a journalist directly to reiterate key points from the media release. Journalists will not be able to cover every aspect of an event so ensure that the essential information is conveyed in the media release and during conversation.
The Workshop received extremely positive feedback and will hopefully assist organisations in planning and conducting their events.