Friday, January 12, 2018

Creating An Event To Raise Money And Awareness

As an entrepreneur, you already have a large number of useful skills. You’ve got
charisma and charm, and you speak well in public. You’re highly organised and
efficient. And you plan a budget and stick to it well. This makes you the successful
business person you are, and it is essential to the future of your company. These
skills are also rather handy should you even choose to manage an event.

Of course, entrepreneurs are very busy people. Chances are you don’t have a lot
of spare time to be organising anything like that. However, there are plenty of very
good reasons why you should get involved in a community event. Perhaps voluntary
or charity work might be on your bucket list or vision board. You’ve enjoyed a lot of
success and perhaps you would like to pay that forward now? After all, there are so
many good causes out there that desperately need help with raising awareness and
cash. There are probably one or two that are particularly close to your heart.

There is, of course, nothing wrong with you associating any event with your business or
product brand. Consider it a little payback for all the cost and effort you’re putting into
this. In fact, it is well worth seeking other corporate sponsors that would also like to be
seen acting in the interests of a good cause. Call it PR, or call it a goodwill gesture.
Either way, it can help you get underway with raising funds. It can also help you to
cover the costs of running such a high profile event.

Finding A Venue

Before you even consider what will happen during the event, you need to find a venue.
Every venue or space will have limitations and restrictions. Equally, not every venue
owner will be willing to donate or discount for the type of charity event you might
have in mind. And if you’re thinking more about a corporate networking event, you
might struggle again, depending on the activities you hope to offer.

Once you have a venue secured you’ll have a date in mind, a list of activities that would
suit the space, and perhaps an overall theme for your event. Most importantly, you have
specifics. These are essential if you want to start building interest and hype in your
forthcoming event. It might be a good time to start talking to a professional event planner.
Or maybe this is one project that is all for you?

Entertaining At An Event

Entertainment is a big part of the attraction for any event. You need to make sure people
are keen to come out and participate, especially if you want them to donate money. Perhaps
you can recruit a celebrity? Or maybe you would prefer to hold a competition? Singing,
dog shows, professional musicians, and celebrity appearances are all guaranteed to draw
big crowds. Participation and engagement are both important. It holds the interest and
encourages more generous donations or spend.

Big entertaining events attract bigger crowds and more generous donations
Of course, if people are to spend time here, you need a staging area and places for people
to sit. You might have to hire tables and chairs, and you’ll certainly need to encourage local
caterers to get involved. For a more upmarket event, you might provide wine, champagne,
and a buffet. Perhaps a sit-down meal is the whole point of the event? Add a celebrity chef
to the event, and you might be able to sell table tickets for a high price too.

Don’t Forget The Reason Why We’re Here

As you develop your list of ideas for entertaining the guests and visitors, it’s important you
keep your eye on the purpose of gathering them. If you haven’t done so by now, then
contact the charity or organisation you plan to support. They often have plenty of marketing
materials that can supplement your own efforts. They will also have a large number of
social media followers helping you to publicise the event. Your associated charity might
even have some great ideas and suggestions. Come up with ideas for activities and
entertainment that would suit their cause.

Whatever your cause, you must present it well
You will be expected to present their story. You might hand the mic over to the charity’s
founder or speaker. But it should still be you that should speak at length about their
mission, their aims or their objectives. You should have a story to tell that speaks of
your personal connection with that cause. Use imagery and video to help highlight
your key points. Don’t forget to detail all the different ways your audience can make
a big difference too.

Key Personnel

When you invite a lot of people to an event, you need a lot of people to look after them!
There will be a need for ushers to help guide visitors to the right places. For a big gala
or formal occasion, you might need people that can manage parking, coats, and seating.
Then table service, waiting staff, bartenders and licensed alcohol providers, and kitchen
staff will be required.

You’ll need a lot of help on the day
All of the people you pay or enlist to help you should be easy to identify. You might
provide uniforms that will give you another opportunity to display your brand logo.
At the very least, you should consider ID badges attached by a lanyard. This is a
fundraising event, so you don’t want to ring up a huge bill. You can find
some cheap ID carrying ideas online to suit each member of your team. High-vis and other
protective wear might be essential. It is likely to be your legal responsibility to provide it
and to check your workers are wearing it or using it correctly. It might be a good idea
to hire a health and safety expert who can manage training and the risk assessments.

There will be other third party personnel involved in your event too. You’ve hired a venue
so the manager of that site will be on hand. Your local authority is likely to need to oversee
what is happening as well. While most venues carry a licence for live and recorded music
and alcohol, you must check if any additional permissions are required. Certainly, the health
and safety risk assessments must be made and updated. If food is being sold and consumed,
you might need to provide certification too.

Marketing The Event

Raising awareness of an event to raise awareness of a good cause isn’t easy because
you’re trying to deliver two messages for two different brands. It’s difficult to determine
what percentage of the message goes to your company event. How much should be left
to explain why the charity is worth supporting? You will need to coordinate with the charity
so you can use their branding and logo. You might prefer to use a font and colour scheme
that is unrelated to you both. However, this is your event, represented by your brand. It
makes sense to use that in the marketing, and feature your charity logo within it. Check
the branding guidelines thoroughly.

Be prepared for plenty of interviews
Some publications are more interested in charity events and fundraisers than others. Do
prepare a press release in plenty of time, but don’t be surprised if some newspapers and
radio stations are non-committal. If you want some attention from media owners and
journalists ahead of time, you need to give them something newsworthy and current on
that day. You can then slip in the promo for your event.

Always offer interviews and quotes. It makes any article much stronger and more interesting
to readers and viewers. Include them in your press release. They can always be repeated
in a formal interview later. Be sure to include details of how supporters can get involved.
Offer information about what they can expect on the day too. Most importantly, make sure
the newsworthy point of the interview is delivered, so the journalist is more willing to cover
you again. What makes the charity or your company topical today?

You’ll need lots of printing booked in. Design leaflets or flyers. Make sure there are plenty
of large format posters available as well. Other businesses and stores might be willing to
display them for you. People are used to printing their own e-tickets these days, but they
will still need to be designed. You’re likely to need dedicated web pages and landing pages
with short links. Don’t forget a full social media campaign to keep the hype going!

Marketing Your Business

This is an opportunity for you to raise your profile and support your PR strategy. However,
you might also be keen to make a sale or two. Approach this objective with caution. It might
harm the work you’re putting into your PR campaign. They rarely coordinate well. Still, your
logo will be prominent. Each of your interviews will carefully discuss how your business is
connected with the charity and its work. Aim to increase brand awareness rather than
pushing a hard sell. Of course, there is nothing stopping you joining all the other corporate
sponsors with a stall or sample table! How can your company do more to raise money
and awareness for good causes?

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