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Tips on Hosting Successful Nonprofit Events

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At the first annual Ocean County Nonprofit Conference on April 11, several presenters addressed the hot topics of concern for nonprofits today.

One such challenge everyone is facing is in regards to ensuring successful fund and friend raiser events.  It was suggested that for an event to resonate, the nonprofit needs to focus on the values held by the target audience. If the program is relevant across all generations it can use a variety of social media platforms and promotional tools to support it.  However, if the event is clearly focusing on a specific generation, such as the millennials or baby boomers, then the approach can be tailored to the attitudes recognized as most common to the group.

Knowing the demographics helps with identifying the topics, speakers, venue and the marketing and branding initiatives as well as how to best leverage technology throughout the process. 

For example - studies indicate that millennials prefer online invitations and online registration opportunities. If this is your audience, you might take this into consideration when putting together the details of the event plan. Activities at the event can also be more successful with a customized approach. More and more fundraisers are using bidding APPs to manage their Silent Auction process as well as using tablets to facilitate 50/50 raffles and other on-site, same day initiatives.  

Similar advice is helpful when establishing the theme and choosing presenters. The more you learn about the people in the room, the better you will be at selecting the most relevant speakers and topics, coordinating the theme with the interests of the participants. When the effort is made to ensure that a topic or speaker resonates with the audience, the nonprofit gains greater support and credibility as well as developing a more loyal following.

And finally, spend the right amount of time following up immediately after the event.  (And ‘immediately’ means within 24 hours!) A key part of your events planning must include a phone call or note to thank attendees for joining you- to not only attract new donors but to reinforce your appreciation to your existing donors. 

It is a worthwhile investment to make the time to truly understand the generation(s) and demographics of your market before you plan your next event!  

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