So, the nonprofit wants to create their fundraiser in a new way. They need to start by understanding what this event is about. Who is it serving? Who is the audience? What are the guests for the event? They need to be crystal clear about these equations. What is going to make this event different from any other? What is going to make people come? What worked or didn’t work last year?
Creating a strategy
These questions are doing one big thing – they’re creating a strategy. They’re creating a set of guideposts, directional points that will help the team figure out what it’s after. You can’t go anywhere if you don’t have a strategy in place. You will have no ideas where you’re going, what you’re trying to do, or who you are trying to serve. It’s asking what are we talking about, why are we here, and who are we speaking to.
Working with nonprofits
I worked with a nonprofit and came across a roadblock when the head of the organization refused to figure out what the message of the nonprofit was. Many times, people can fear deciding on a message because it can feel like they are giving up on other sources of revenue. But here’s the thing, if your message is not clear, you are losing out on so much more revenue than you can imagine.
No message hurts marketing
No message means no one understands what they are buying. No message means that your audience isn’t sure why they should support you. It does not matter if you are a theater company on 125th street in New York City, or an environmental organization in the Chesapeake Bay. Your message is utterly important. It drives people to you, it creates excitement in your organization, and it makes people see why you matter. When we talk about drama, deciding on a message that reaches people – that’s drama. That’s creating a story behind your cause. Than’s creating a level of awe in audience members. That is what a message can do for you.
When you are thinking of your message, ask yourself this: what am I about, what do people love about my organization, and what am I bringing to the masses? When they come to my building, my theater, my boat – what do I want them to feel? That is where your message lies. Right there.
Putting a strategy in placr
Once the strategy is in place, the nonprofit can begin to build our their tactic. This is where the fun really starts. What are you going to make? What will it be? What wild it look like? And what kind of impact are you going for? This is where you have to think about the drama. Drama and impact, the two of them are intertwined. The drama creates the impact.
So, if I am the nonprofit, I have to think about my fundraiser. I don’t want to do what’s been done before. So, will I do? Well, I better have my message in place. Yes, even your fundraiser needs to have a message behind it. Once that is good, and the strategy is good, the trick is going to be creating something that is going to reach people.
One tactic I like to consider is the power of performance. When I was working for one organization, I would always get chided for wanting to bring in theatrical performance too much. I never understood why because the performance portion is what audiences would always seem to remember the most.
Performances is a fabulous way to create drama and get your story out to the audience. If you’re a hospital, trying to raise money, think about performance. I worked for a hospital client and we brought in performance for one of their galas. The event was all about how doctors, nurses, and emergency services answer the call to save lives.
I proposed bringing on veterans who also perform live music. This seemed like the perfect addition to the event. Our servicemen and women save lives every single day, just as our emergency care professionals do. They answer the call, just like our event theme. Showcasing these veterans, and giving them the space to perform, seemed like the perfect ingredient for success.
Making events pop
Knowing when to bring in performance is really key. As mentioned above, it starts with realizing what your story is. Performance for the sake of performance doesn’t work. It doesn’t make sense to add in a trapeze artist if the theme doesn’t go along with the choice. Now, you may say, “well what about for a casino? Why can’t I do a big showy glitz and glam thing for that? What does it need a reason? What’s the point?”
Everything that is happening in your event needs to have a reason for being there. Even if it’s the most extravagant casino opening, what you put on display needs to have a reason and purpose. Without reason and purpose, there is no drama.
Drama is what is going to get those eyeballs looking at you and off their phones. Drama is what will make them open their wallets, walk through that door, and want to know more. Drama is that thing that takes gets their hearts racing. But again, drama does not come without reason.