We hate to admit it, but we’ve seen a lot of great nonprofits crack and crumble under the weight of planning events that were just too big for them.
It’s such a tragedy to witness an organization biting off so much more than it can chew and then suffering for it. Some organizations will plan an oversized event for pride and the prospect of increasing awareness while others might just mismanage their budget and go extremely overboard. But however they get there, an organization that’s doing something far beyond its reach could have disastrous effects on the brand.
Like we’ve said here 100 times before, a nonprofit cannot survive without steady donor support and a commitment to maintaining that support through active fundraising programs. Fundraising is a year-round communal effort, supplemented by one or many fundraising events. These events are usually marketed to the public and targeted at potential key donors in order to spread awareness and make the community more familiar with the organization’s brand. It is, essentially, inviting people into your home and throwing a party in their honor. But if you spent too much money on food and entertainment and fail to send out invitations to the right people, then your party will absolutely be a bust
To us, it’s all about keeping your event scalable and manageable. Do you have enough people to pull it off? Are you keeping things within budget? Do you have the right marketing in place to get people in the door?
A lot of times, organizations will only focus on the “fun factor” without considering the realistic capabilities to put on the event. Anyone can plan a party, but it takes skill to plan a party that motivates people to write checks or become lifelong advocates.
If your event is short-staffed, or under-attended, or suffering from a series of over-budget expenses, people will notice and your reputation will suffer. It’s better to plan something small and manageable that will make a sincere impression than planning something gargantuan and cumbersome that could put you in the red and put your brand in jeopardy.
When it comes to your next event, think small and think doable