Crafting Memorable Events as a Social Organisation: A Guide

The key to crafting memorable charity events is setting yourself up for success early. Learn how to make your next event a hit!

Crafting Memorable Events as a Social Organisation: A Guide

Imagine this: Your nonprofit hosts a benefit dinner in which you thank your volunteers to wrap up the year-end giving season. The night goes well and no problems are encountered. Then, a few weeks later, you begin reaching out to the attendees to invite them to take additional opportunities to get involved with your nonprofit

As you make phone calls, you start to notice a trend. When you ask how your supporters enjoyed the event, you get responses like, “Yeah, that was nice,” or “It was alright.” There are even a few times when you have to remind people they attended the event at all! 

All told, you don’t get the reaction to the event that you were hoping for. So, how can you prevent this in the future? You’ll need to craft memorable charity events that will leave lasting impressions on your community. 

It all starts with fine-tuning your event planning strategy. In this quick guide, we’ll walk you through a few planning tips so that you’re hitting the mark with your events every time. Let’s begin by taking a closer look at the benefits of hosting memorable events for your social organisation. 

The Benefits of Memorable Charity Events 

According to CharityBids’ guide to nonprofit event planning, “rather than a bookend to a fundraising push or a one-and-done celebration, events are vehicles of opportunity.” This is why it’s critical to make sure you’re planning events that your supporters will remember—so that you can fully leverage the opportunities that spring from these special occasions. 

Here are just some of the opportunities that come with memorable events:

  • Raise awareness for your cause
  • Build relationships with supporters 
  • Offer volunteer opportunities 
  • Establish a positive brand image
  • Strengthen your local community 
  • Pull in fundraising donations

Knowing these benefits can help your organisation set its sights on what really matters when it comes to events. Instead of fixating on the minute details, you can view your events as part of a holistic strategy to further your cause and empower your volunteers. 

Now, let’s dive into a few event planning tips!

Tip #1: Establish an event planning committee. 

Begin the event planning process by establishing an event planning committee. By delegating different tasks to various committee members, you’ll have all your bases covered by the time your big event rolls around. 

Here are some typical roles you might create on your committee: 

  • Committee Chair: The chair will lead the planning committee, ensuring that all committee members complete their tasks and that the entire committee’s activities are aligned with larger event and organisational goals. 
  • Event Designer: The designer will take care of all of the event's details, including lining up the venue, catering, entertainment, and decor. 
  • Sponsorships Coordinator: This individual will cultivate relationships with companies that can sponsor your event. Once a company agrees to sponsor your event, your coordinator will also make sure that the business receives the promised benefits in return. 
  • Volunteer Coordinator: Your volunteer coordinator will be responsible for recruiting volunteers, training them, and managing them during the event. 
  • Communications Manager: This specialist will lead the charge on all of your event marketing efforts and will let the media know about your event, if necessary. 
  • Auction Item Procurement Specialist: If your event involves a live or silent auction, you’ll need a fully-fleshed-out catalog of items and experiences your supporters will be excited to bid on. Locating and gathering donated items will take some time, so creating a dedicated position on your committee will ensure that this aspect of your event is properly prioritized. 

Once assembled, your committee can work with your social organisation’s leaders to determine goals, create a budget, and set a timeline for your event. This will ensure that your entire organisation is on the same page ahead of your event. 

Tip #2: Get the details right. 

Like creating a precise line of dominoes, finessing the details of your event will lead to a seamless execution of all event activities on the big day. So, make sure you’re giving your team plenty of time to iron out all of the moving parts. 

Here are a few examples of details your team might want to pay extra special attention to: 

  • Venue: Your venue should be well-suited for the event you’re planning. For example, a venue for a concert should have excellent acoustics, while a park where you plan to host a fun run should be large enough to accommodate a race course. As you scope out different venues, consider how well the space fits the type of your event you’re hosting, and pay attention to things like parking and the number of bathrooms available. 
  • Catering Menu: Consider your attendees’ needs as you select the catering menu for your event. Your menu should offer a variety of allergy-friendly options so that everyone can enjoy the food. If you’re serving alcoholic beverages, you should also have some non-alcoholic options for your guests. 
  • Fundraising Strategy: Plan how you’ll raise money during the event, if applicable. For example, you might be hosting an auction, but you can also add a raffle and wine pull to your activities. Or, you might have your board members circulate during the event to make in-person asks. A strong fundraising strategy is crucial to the outcome of your event.
  • Technology: The last thing you want on the day of your event is to have things derailed by technical issues. Make sure you’re familiar with how to use all of the tech you’ll be relying on throughout the event, including your donation form, your text-to-give platform, and, for virtual or hybrid events, your livestreaming tools.  In the unfortunate yet common event that technology fails on the big day, it’s important to have a plan B in place and ready to go. Except for Deedmob technology, of course ;). Your backup plan should give you enough time to troubleshoot the issue and to get things back on track, ensuring a successful event despite any hiccups along the way. 
  • Follow-Up Strategy: More than getting people to attend one event, you should aim to have your supporters feel inspired to participate in your charity’s other involvement opportunities. Consider everyone involved. Plan how you will thank event attendees and sponsors for participating, retain your volunteers, and build off of the momentum generated by your event to boost future campaigns and events. The stronger and more personal a relationship you can build with your supporters and volunteers, the better. Volunteer appreciation is particularly important. Not only are they giving their time and energy for your cause, but they also can be some of your organisation’s biggest advocates. Be sure to communicate your gratitude through a variety of mediums beyond thank you messages (though those are a great start). Consider creating a volunteer recognition program to highlight the efforts of your volunteers.

While these details are important, getting caught up in them can be easy, especially as you’re trying to perfect your event planning strategy. Keep your big-picture goals in mind, and remember the real reason you’re hosting an event: to engage your community!

Tip #3: Promote the event. 

You can make a memorable impression on your attendees weeks or even months before your event takes place—through your marketing efforts!

As you spread the word, you’ll not only encourage people to register and to add the occasion to their calendars, but you’ll also generate excitement and curiosity about your event, which you can then capitalize on the day of. 

The best way to start your marketing off strong is to segment your audience. This involves dividing your community of supporters into groups based on their similarities. Then, you can choose specific marketing channels and assets for each group. For a great example, check out how the Order of Malta uses social media to attract and engage volunteers!

For example, you might segment your audience by communication preference, noting that some of your donors prefer to receive communications via email and others prefer direct mail. You could then create an email stream for one group and mail out promotional flyers for the other.

As you promote your event to potential attendees, don’t forget to promote other opportunities for involvement, too. For instance, by creating event-specific “job postings” for different volunteer positions ahead of time, you can recruit and train all of the volunteers you’ll need. 

To retain interest and further support, your charity needs to plan memorable events. Optimise your event planning strategy with these tips so that you can reap the rewards of having supporters who feel inspired to continue giving to your cause. 

And, if you’re looking to make the event planning process even easier, consider partnering with an event production company. The right team can help you bring your vision to life, taking care of all the heavy lifting for you while bringing new ideas to the table! 

Some highlights of 5 years at Deedmob

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Gerbrand Holland

Growth Manager

Gerbrand Holland is Growth Manager at Deedmob