Make your event messages strategic

A special event provides a nonprofit with one of its best opportunities to sell itself to supporters, so make the most of it.

Be strategic in planning and creating the communications for your gala dinner, annual luncheon or other special event.

Start by setting your goals for the event. How much money do you want to raise? What do you want participants to learn and do?

Then determine the audiences you need to reach to achieve those goals, and the best ways to reach them. Which donors, sponsors and prospects should attend? Which communications vehicles and channels are the best way to reach them?

Then find out everything you can about those audiences. What issues and causes do they care about and support? What, if any, is their connection or history with your nonprofit?

In your save-the-date note and invitation, and in your news release advancing the event, focus on the purpose of the event and why it matters.

Weave into the event script and printed program the core messages you want to communicate to your audience.

Repeat those messages in your thank-you notes, follow-up appeal, and post-event news release, and in the article you write about the event for your newsletter, website and annual report. And gear to your respective audiences the message in each of those communications.

A special event provides your nonprofit with a great opportunity to make your case to donors and supporters. Use it wisely.

Want help?

Philanthropy North Carolina is a consulting practice that provides writing and strategic communications support for nonprofits, foundations, colleges and universities, and others working for social good.

To find out more about hiring Philanthropy North Carolina to work with your organization to improve your communications, contact Todd Cohen at 919.272.2051 or

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