At BB Events, we love working with non-profits. The underlying commitment to community and positive change inspires us as a business for purpose ourselves. But hey, we know that we live in a world that still relies on money to make things happen and fundraising and donors are an important part of making the maximum impact possible. And that’s why we love creating events for non-profits. These are powerhouse moments to utilize the power behind a great event and fundraising for great causes. Read on for all the ways that an event can help you as a non-profit.

Not-for-profit organizations do not work for revenue gain; any money made goes back to the organization. Non-profits, however, aim to make as much revenue as possible so they can fund the people and programs that they’re supporting. As event planners for social change, we know that’s not always an easy feat, but at BB Events we’ve learned the intricacies that come with coordinating an experience that creates the optimal spaces for raising funds and bringing community together for the greatest impact.

Benefits of A Non-Profit Event

Events are more than just great catering and a chance for people to come together. Through creative and thoughtfully considered planning, you can create an experience that engages and inspires your community. Here are a few ways that an event can maximize your impact as a non-profit.

1. Storytelling

One of the best ways to inspire support for your non-profit is to reconnect with the reason that you exist. At IRC Northern California’s Force of Change Fundraiser, we used photo galleries and stories to immerse attendees in the emotional and physical journeys that refugees faced when coming to the USA, building empathy for their lived experiences.

2. Showcase your mission

Playworks is a national non-profit that helps keep kids active and build valuable life skills through play. But how do we have the adults (and their inner child) experience the work of Playworks? By creating an adult-sized playground complete with basketball hoops, a giant Jenga and hula hoops, of course! The Playworks Fundraising Gala was an exciting celebration for donors and sponsors to see the impact of their mission. A high-energy MC helped to bring the day together and carry on the playful energy throughout the formal proceedings of the night as well.

3. Celebrate your donors and sponsors

At the end of a long year, the Saint Francis Foundation team couldn’t wait to don their dancing shoes and raise a glass to the year at their ‘Hob Nob’ Party – And dance they sure did! Saint Francis Foundation put on a night that their staff, donors and sponsors would remember for years to come. Once the fundraising was done, it was time to party and cheers to the amazing healthcare professionals and successful year of the organization.

4. Fundraise

Yes, events are often tied to fundraising but that doesn’t mean the creativity has to stop there. We think outside the box when it comes to fundraising ideas. Experiential marketing is a way to build excitement around your cause and offer the chance to win take-home goodies. We suggest fundraising ideas like live auctions, a ‘spin the wheel’ wall of wine and pay to play stations!

5. Support the local community

Whether working with non-profit organizations or corporate businesses, we always suggest using local vendors for furniture, catering, bar and staffing needs. In the spirit of giving back, extend that to showing some love to small, independent businesses in the San Francisco Bay area. We’ve got an extensive list to choose from, all backed by us through years of partnership.

How to Get Started

With limited teams and resources, we know that it can be difficult for nonprofits to wrap their heads around planning an event. Here are three top tips to get you started.

1. Secure your funding

Unlike corporations with big budgets, non-profits need buy-in first. Speak to your current and past sponsors and work out your budget, as this will offer a clearer idea of what is in the scope. For example, a casual luncheon may be more affordable than a sit-down three-course elegant dinner. Other considerations include:

  • Host a live auction — Reach out to businesses to donate an item or experience for your auction.
  • MC/ host/ speakers — Lock in speakers and an MC who are close to your cause and passionate about your work.
  • Utilize your internal team — You need the time and people willing to make this happen. Get buy-in and a clear set of goals and responsibilities for the planning team that will be leading the way and working closely with your event partner like BB Events every week. Be sure to identify someone as your Accountability Lead who will rally your team, make sure things are getting down and helping to make critical decisions.

2. Clarify your messaging and guest experience

Once you’ve got funding — YES — think about what kind of event you’d like to host and how it will link back to your cause. Return to your brand statement and values, as these should shine through. The more we understand the how and why of your event, the easier it is for us to visualize what to do.

And then comes visualization…

Consider how your event will flow. You’re taking your sponsors and donors on a journey. We’ll put together a minute-by-minute run-through of the event day and use digital apps to show you table settings and room plans so that we can be sure no stone has been left unturned

BONUS TIP: Consider how your guests will move from one space to another. Will you use an MC, physical signage or push notifications to guide them? This is even more important in not-for-profit organizations as you take your sponsors and donors on a storytelling journey, educating them on what you do. The closer they feel to your cause, the more likely they are to act.

3. Hire an event planner who can guide you through

For event planners like us at BB Events, this isn’t our first rodeo. We are there to anticipate all the things that could go wrong and all the ways that we can maximize your opportunities as well. We’re your guide through this whole experience so you can create as much impact as possible! We want you to focus on what you do best – raising money and telling your story. It’s a partnership, where we work with you to achieve your goals. If you want to find out more about how BB Events can help your non-profit, contact us today.