There may be snow on the ground (lots of snow) but we are thinking spring and summer events and have been for some time. Too many organizations that are stretched to the max leave their major fundraising events until a few months before to start bringing it all together. It can be done…. But the event will just never reach its potential.
For the most part, planning an event is a year round activity. Tasks start the day after your event with your guest surveys and thank you, sponsorship fulfillment packages and overall debrief. We start planning how to improve the event and what else we can do for our guests and sponsors as soon as the event is done.
Then, 8 - 10 months out you get into other tasks along the way like save the dates, sponsorship renewal and new sponsor solicitation and committee recruitment. When we are 5 – 8 months out we mix in kick off events, launch parties or acquisition parties to make some noise and stay on people’s radar.
For The Healing Cycle Ride on June 21st, 2015 we are hosting their kick-off event February 26th! This event will not only honour the volunteers and sponsors from last year’s event (a great way to keep them engaged) but will talk about exciting changes for the 2015 ride and have a great panel discussion about Supersizing your Fundraising – giving riders the tools they need to recruit team members and raise more money than last year! After this event registrations will spike, more sponsors will be committed and the enthusiasm about an event that is in the summer away will be high.
As professional event managers and strategists this is what we do for our clients – we give them the gift of time. With a clear plan and someone (us) to manage that plan the task of planning no longer seems daunting and our clients can focus on their jobs while we focus on ours – to make the event better than it was before!
Planning a fundraising event in a couple months is stressful and often inhibits creativity out of a necessity to “just get it done”. With the right lead time your event and event planning experience can transform into something great, innovative and with new partners engaged!
PS…. Not to freak you out too much but we are already well underway for events in October and November….. yikes where did the summer go ?!