Best Practices for Managing Nonprofit Events


Nonprofit events are a critical part of fundraising for many worthwhile causes, but managing events is a complex, involved procedure requiring expertise in many different disciplines to be successful.

A checklist of what you need to do, along with fully-featured nonprofit event software, will help to ensure your success, regardless of what type of fundraising event you plan to host.

Set Your Goals

It’s easy to have your attention diverted every which way when you don’t have clearly marked goals. When you understand what you are trying to achieve each step of the way, you become a lot more efficient at directing your energies to where they can do the most good.

An excellent method for setting goals is to use the popular SMART method, which stands for:

  • Specific -Each goal should focus on a particular KPI you need to achieve (for example, number of attendees).
  • Measurable – So you know when you have reached your objective.
  • Attainable – It’s common to set goals that may be out of reach. Make sure they are ambitious but still rooted in the realm of possibility.
  • Relevant – A goal should connect with the overall mission objective (will it have a positive impact on the beneficiaries).
  • Time-Based – Every goal needs a deadline to keep you on track.

Use a Nonprofit Event Software

An all-in-one nonprofit event software is specifically tailored to handle all the requirements for effectively managing events.

With a nonprofit event software, you can manage just about every aspect of your upcoming event while enjoying the added convenience of accessing everything you need to know and do from one location.

You can control budgeting and expenses, create and manage to-do lists, track ticket sales, coordinate with attendees, collect online payments, collect abstracts and proposals, review proposals for acceptance, access real-time analytics, create event schedule, host virtual events, and manage client relations, to name just a few.

Create a Registration Link

It can be stressful tracking how many attendees will be attending your nonprofit event. An online customizable registration form created through nonprofit event software streamlines the attendee registration process and lets you review the numbers at a moment’s notice.

Registrations will enter the event CRM so you always know who to contact and when and will never be surprised by how many attendees you will need to cater for on the day.

You can create attractive registration & event ticketing forms to improve attendance and provide all the essential details your guests need to know, such as date, time, parking, ticketing information, and the experience they can expect when they attend.

Know Your Budget

One of the most significant challenges to hosting a nonprofit event is controlling the budget, but it’s a lot easier to do when you have set your goals and know what you are aiming for.

You can keep track of budgets in a spreadsheet, but by far, the most convenient and efficient way to track your spending is through nonprofit event software. You can quickly categorize your expenses using pre-configured categories universal to nonprofit events.

Plus, it’s straightforward to get insights into where the money is going via real-time analytical displays and graphs. Good nonprofit event software helps you focus on what’s most important, ensuring all attendees enjoy a positive experience.

Start Fundraising

When you have a detailed understanding of your budget, you will need to use various means to start fundraising for the event. A budget helps significantly because it sets the target you need to hit to create a successful event. A few strategies you can use for fundraising include:

Nonprofit event software can help you track and monitor your fundraising efforts, so you have up to the minute data on how far you have to go to reach your targets.

Build an Effective Team

It would be tough to plan and run nonprofit events on your own, so it’s critical to spend some selecting the members of your team, which will likely involve a mix of staff and volunteers. Find each team member’s strengths, and assign relevant tasks to those who have experience in those areas.

Some of the tasks needed to pull off a successful event include logistics, seating, decoration, food and beverage, registration, and online marketing. Many of these roles will require experience to ensure everything goes smoothly.

When you have a great team behind you, the chances of creating a successful and memorable event go up significantly.

Design the Event

Designing the event involves many moving parts, which is why a great team is essential. A few things to keep in mind when developing ideas for an event include:

  • Available venues for the event
  • The theme of the event
  • Decor
  • Food, drinks, and snacks
  • Floor layout
  • Handling registration
  • Security
  • Transport and parking options
  • Emergency services

The pandemic is still a potentially disruptive force, and it could have a significant impact on how you design and host your event. Changes in rules and regulations can happen at any moment, so developing a plan B just in case is always a good idea.

Online Nonprofit Event Marketing

When your nonprofit event planning is all but complete, you still need to get the word out and tell the world so you can attract as many attendees as possible.

  • Keep your website up to date with the latest information about the event, and get active on social media.
  • Facebook campaigns can access a broad audience. Regular Twitter posts can have enormous reach, especially if you get influencers involved and tap into their audience. Don’t forget LinkedIn, an excellent resource for networking with professionals, many of whom will be happy to help spread the word.
  • You will always get the best results from online promotions when consistent with your efforts. Post regularly, but not so often you annoy your followers. Once a day should deliver plenty of coverage on Facebook, while Twitter posts can be repeated several times throughout the day.
  • Get the board, volunteers, and staff members engaged with your online campaigning. People love to see behind-the-scenes images or video footage displaying the excitement of the organizers, volunteers, and staff as they prepare for opening day. Make it easy to promote your event by designing an email template and graphics they can share with their audience and followers.
  • Submit your events to event listing websites for maximum exposure to thousands of targeted audiences who regularly search for events and conferences of their interest.

Online marketing has the potential to reach a global audience. However, when you use a paid advertising campaign, it only makes sense to target a local demographic. Fortunately, every platform like Facebook, Google, and Twitter provide targeting options that allow you to do this fairly easily.