Whether you represent a large corporation, run a non-profit, belong to a college club or are an unemployed carpenter- a charity event will benefit you on multiple levels. For example, charity events provide the following:
SEO Rapid networking Brand awareness Free advertising Community ties
Also, let’s not forget making a ton of money for your favorite charity. So, follow these steps to get your charity event out of your head, and into the heads of thousands of people.
Why? First determine why you are doing this event. Are you just trying to raise money for a charity, or do you plan on your brand piggy-backing a notable cause? For example, I did a charity event for a local Italian restaurant in the interest of inserting their brand into the minds of their niche market while raising money for histiocytosis. Their market was middle income families who enjoy good food. So they cooked up a hundred pounds of pasta while we had several inflatable bouncer’s available in a local park. Guess who showed up? Yup, a couple hundred local families who love pasta and fun.
Where? If you plan to host your event at a public place, there is special criteria which must be met. Yo need to have a meeting with the city officials (most likely the clerk) who are in charge of the location where you plan to conduct this event. You need to fill out a permit request, as well as get permission from the local assembly to conduct the event on their turf. When I was in college I created a great event to honor the memory of a fellow student who died for our country in Afghanistan. Guess who forgot to call the city and tell them we planned on having a few hundred people running down a major street in the middle of the day? Luckily I had friends with political connections who helped me get the permits at the last minute. Always apply for permits at least 3 months before-hand
When? You need to take seasonality into account, as well as the time of day. 10-11 am is usually the best time to kickoff an event. Also, you must do your research to ensure no other event is being executed on the same day as yours. There can only be one center piece on each table. However, one client we had was in a bitter turf war with her competitor right down the street. When we got wind that her nemesis was hosting a promotional contest, we threw a huge charitable event on the same exact day that gave away cheaper versions of what her competitors’ contest winners would receive. My associate counted 16 people at the competitors’ event. We counted over 267 at ours. Guess whose sales increased by 36% over the subsequent months?
What? In terms of an event, you need something sexy and cheap to bring people in. I’ve done a lot of themes, but I’d say inflatable bouncer’s and crafts for families, contests for high school students, sidewalk art events for college-aged, walks for middle-aged, golf/gala’s for older people with big money and concerts for everybody.
How? In terms of promotion, you need a website, weekly press releases, constant emails to local relevant bloggers, social media marketing and accountability of who will be attending. Ensure your website has a place for people to register ahead of time, as well as exciting reasons as to why people should attend. If needed, enlist a team of volunteers to assist with advertising and the actual event itself. Some people live for this sort of thing, and you can usually find them on Craigslist. They are usually amazing people- so reward them!
Ensure your website has a place where people can donate money ahead of time. See to it that there is a link that leads donators to the major non-profit you are working with so that they get their money directly. Also they will need to be at the actual event to collect the money so there is no chance of discrepancy. Are you not sure exactly how this will work? Call the charity you wish to raise money for and they will walk you right through it.
Appeal to all of the senses and emotions of your potential attendees when explaining your event. To date, eight events I have hosted have had delicious free food. How? The night before the event I have my team go to every local Panero’s Bread for the boxed food they did not sell. It’s free, and people love pie and danish.
Why? I’m ethically resolved every time I host a charitable event despite how much myself or our clients prosper. This is because we ensure that every last penny we raise go to directly to our chosen charity. After all, the money you spend on your event is like buying advertising. Except your money is an investment in free media, internet presence, advertising permanence, SEO, B2B/B2C communications, PR and raising money for good will. When I was 10 I made the mistake of advertising that I was keeping a “portion of the proceeds” that I raised for the American Red Cross in compensation of my “hard work.” The event was a success, but I felt like a failure. Charity should be charity, end of story. Unless you are a non-profit, you should have a zero admin fee.
Despite their admission fee going directly toward charity, you must assume that people are showing up to your event for their enjoyment alone. Never-the-less they will have a lot of fun; and trust me, your brand will get equal enjoyment as well. Good luck to you.