Academic Resources Blog

Event Management for Charities and Nonprofits

Friday, Nov. 9, 2018
Managing Events

Planning an event is tricky under normal circumstances, but pulling off a successful fundraiser for a nonprofit or charity comes with its own unique set of challenges. In a world where nonprofits and charities are jockeying for limited dollars and attention, event management is about far more than providing a few hours of entertainment. To be heard above the roar of an already-crowded field of fundraising events, there are a few things every event manager should consider.

Location, Location, Location

The first step in good event management is choosing the right location for the event, which is harder than it sounds, especially for nonprofits and charities. Selecting a swanky hotel, restaurant or museum is a great step toward ensuring that attendees enjoy themselves, but the costs of these venues and the message they send needs to be considered. For example, if a charity is trying to raise money to improve access to water in African villages, a hotel lobby full of beautiful fountains isn’t setting the right scene and the costs are likely to be very high. Instead, a venue where excessive water use isn’t on display would be the wiser choice.

While this is just one example, it's meant to underscore the importance of finding a location that lends itself to the cause.

The Entertainment

The choice of entertainment is as important as the choice of location. Events that offer unique entertainment gain a critical edge by offering something out of the ordinary and interesting.  It can be difficult to find an idea that hasn’t already been tried. From treasure hunts and silent discos to game shows and live circuses, nonprofit and charity event managers have outdone themselves in terms of creativity. The point is that, no matter how small or large an event is, creativity goes a long way toward garnering attention and attendees.

There’s no need to overdo it, either. There are some tried-and-true event ideas that stand the test of time. From engaging them in a fun carnival-like atmosphere with face painting and games to sponsoring a foot race, events can raise money, raise awareness and provide entertainment.

Timing is Everything

Choosing the right time for an event can be a quandary that needs some thought. It’s common for several fundraising events to be held toward the end of the year. Though many attendees would expect an invitation at this time, it’s important to note that they are likely to receive several invitations to other events. Hosting an event when there isn’t as much competition may be preferable. 

Raising a Hand

The next step in event management is finding the staff necessary to pull off a successful affair. The up-and-coming generation is very charity-minded; three out of four young adults are willing to help raise money for an issue that speaks to them. This is an incredible resource of talent that can help make any event better. From parking cars to manning game booths, people are often willing to donate their time in lieu of dollars, and this can help cut down the costs.

Trade It Out

Another easy way to save money while still hosting the best event possible is to look for ways to trade. For outdoor events, a local nursery may want to donate some flowers in exchange for some recognition at the event. A newly opened restaurant may donate some food in order to introduce themselves to the community. Monetary donations are hard to come by during the organization phase, but many businesses are more than willing to trade their services and products for some exposure, especially exposure that’s tied to a worthy cause.

Learn the Tricks of the Trade

Event management for a charity or nonprofit isn’t easy, but with a little planning and creativity, it can be very successful. It also helps to have a background in business, which is why Concordia University, Nebraska offers an online MBA degree . Our degree is offered through online classes, making it accessible to anyone at any time.