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Special Events Mishaps You Need to Avoid

By Heather Brown
October 14, 2016

Nonprofits utilize special events as a method to increase awareness and raise money for their mission. They are a powerful resource and extremely successful when strategically planned. Some Nonprofits brainstorm ideas, start the event planning process, and ultimately fail at getting the desired results.

Common Mishaps

Poorly planned special events lead to great disappointment. Avoid these common mishaps to make your next event better than ever.

  1. Lack of planning. Planning starts with an idea but it does not end there. Before going full-force, brainstorm every possible step required for successful implementation. Answer the common questions: What, who, how, where, and when? What is the event? What is required to make the event happen? Who is in charge of the event? Where will the event be held? When will the event be held? How will we fund the event?
  2. No goals. Nonprofit goals come in many forms from financial to awareness. Identify your main goal in the beginning. Determine what you need in regards to sponsorships, donations, etc. to reach your goal.
  3. Take on more than you can do. Events fail most often because those in charge take on more than they can do. Appoint an event planning committee with individuals or teams in charge of donations, sponsors, venue, advertising, logistics, and safety prevention. Make sure you delegate the tasks! Holding on to too much only hurts the end results. If you find yourself thinking,”If I only had time to “. you are doing too much.
  4. Forget the passion.  Make it impossible for individuals and businesses to say no to participating in your event. Ignite passion by showing enthusiasm and passion for the cause and special event. Others will see this and want to feel the same excitement.
  5. Refuse to be flexible.It’s not possible to predict every circumstance or outcome. Know this up front and be flexible when things do’t go as planned. Make changes to embrace hurdles.
  6. Ignore the risks. Risk is a factor in everyday life. Identify potential event risks and make a plan for them. A safety committee is vital to the day-of operations. Make sure they meet often and plan accordingly to keep attendees, sponsors, and vendors safe from harm.
  7. No idea on who to market to. The first step to successful marketing is to know who you need to market to. Create an ideal attende” profile. Who do you want at your event? What type of personality? Is there an ideal household income? Whose attendance benefits your nonprofit the most?
  8. Forget policies and procedures. Policies and procedures for special events are necessary to manage overall risk and create a positive event culture. Look at your existing policies and procedures for normal operations and identify how these can be applied to special events. Hold volunteer training sessions for any event volunteers.
  9. Go over budget. Create and stick to your budget no matter what. Going over budget takes away from your event goals.
  10. Skip evaluating. Once your event is over, evaluate the results. Did you meet your goal? Did you have only ideal attendees at the event? What went wrong? What successes need celebrated? What can you do better next time?

Make your nonprofit special event a success by avoiding common mishaps in the event planning and building phases. Successful planning leads to a greater return for your nonprofit.

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