Brainstorming on an Evolution of Events

(This first ran on my LinkedIn page) I’m just thinking, a lot is evolving right now, including how we are designing events. We can no longer do what we’ve always done. So, let’s get creative. Events often provide the lifeblood of funding for nonprofits. However we are looking at a year or so of new ways to make up those revenue streams. Maybe it’s time we started thinking differently anyway. 

Here are some ideas to contemplate. Start with focus. We will stay on mission. We need to engage our existing and potential donors. We must celebrate effective and measured success for those we serve. We need to educate, and we need funding. 

What boxes do we need to check? Emotionally engaging, provides a connection to the mission, reaches like-minded leaders, celebrates, promotes our supporters, and of course, we need to spread out. Just because we can’t hold that huge lunch with a boring speaker doesn’t mean we can’t still raise a lot of attention and have fun supporting our nonprofits.

Would your fundraising project be adaptable for these or a combination of these?

  1. Drive through or drive up events. Can you move your event outside, and have the program projected onto a screen, a broad side of your building, or have it at an old drive-in? Can you put the stage in a place for parking instead of tables?
  2. An army of cohorts. For small groups, strategy sessions or associations that feature smaller groups that know each other well, you can establish competitions among the groups, red team/blue team takes prizes. You can use video for this, or just set up the teams. Perhaps have the subgroups come up with their own fundraising and compete against each other?
  3. Bigger rooms. Auditoriums instead of tight ballrooms; stadiums instead of packed auditoriums. Think bigger space and movement… We can go back into and support our hospitality industry, you just have to stretch out. Create experiences where a walk through adventure gets the message across. Set up stations of presentations instead of an agenda you watch. This is perfect for participatory learning through walk through events.
  4. Show of solidarity. We have all noticed the graduation signs in yards this year. We also have a church that has an inspirational message in yards. Why not inspire your neighborhoods? Folks like to put things on their car, in the yard, on their heads and lapels to show they believe in your cause. Fiesta medals might really be interesting this year?
  5. Family challenges/adventures. Everyone likes treasure hunts or driving tours you can create around your mission’s theme? It takes a little planning, however treasure hunts, adventure tours, or challenges to hike, bike or even dribble a basketball a prepared path is something to adapt to. Families, teams at work, neighborhoods and individuals can all participate. Gather seasonal flowers, a photographic bird hunt, visit and find special things at the San Antonio missions, the options are limitless. This is also incredible for social media campaigns.
  6. Contests. If you can create, dress up in costumes, video or dream it up at home then you can make it a competition for your clients and donors. Quiz and trivia contests can be packaged with treasure hunts online or in the backyard. Winners are celebrated everywhere, on the website, on social media and even advertising. 

There are a lot more creative and smart people out there, and they are probably on your staff. Use this as a creative design starter. Maybe this could be one of the great new evolutions for nonprofits. 

If you want me to lead you through a brainstorming of your own, give me a shout out! Doesn’t that sound fun?

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