A Publication of WTVP

No matter the type of group or organization you belong to, there is a special event for you. In a community of our size, however, we often find ourselves competing for the same donors, the same dollars and even the same dates!

At any given time in Peoria, there are a wide variety of special events taking place. For nonprofits, these events can take a lot of time to plan and, many times, do not raise a significant amount of money. Even for those events that do raise a substantial amount of money “in just one night,” it actually takes months of planning behind the scenes to achieve that success. In fact, if management counted the time that paid employees put into organizing an event, they may find that they have actually lost money.

So how do you determine whether or not holding a special event will benefit your organization? You first need to ask yourself, “What is the purpose of our special event?”

Events can do so much more than raise money. They are a great way to accomplish many of the goals of fundraising:

At Children’s Home, our answer to the question, “What is the purpose of our special event?” is…all of the above!

Children’s Home is fortunate to have three major special events each year: The Maui Jim/Children’s Home Charity Golf Classic, The Children’s Home Youth Farm Campus Cattle Auction and The Children’s Home Spring Gala. These events are intentionally spread throughout the year and have proven themselves to be highly successful in terms of relationship-building, community awareness and dollars raised.

Our three events have many similarities and differences. In terms of staff time utilized versus volunteer time utilized, however, The Maui Jim/Children’s Home Charity Golf Classic is extremely unique!

In 2000, Maui Jim Sunglasses, having already established a relationship with our agency through volunteer work, approached the development team at Children’s Home with the idea to hold a golf Successouting to benefit the children and families we serve. Maui Jim President and COO Mike Dalton and his staff felt that Children’s Home was a “good fit” for their company, and after our initial meeting, we agreed. Thus, an extremely successful partnership between a for-profit and a not-for-profit began.

For any nonprofit, finding a good fit with a for-profit and partnering with them for a special event can be the key to success! Maui Jim has a golf committee that oversees every aspect of the golf outing. Everything from obtaining sponsorships and securing participants to the logistics of the day is all done by Maui Jim. During the six months of planning, a Children’s Home employee sits on the golf committee to keep lines of communication open between Maui Jim and our agency, but the bulk of the work (as well as the majority of the decisions) is done by Maui Jim. Therefore, when partnering your two organizations, trust and good communication is critical!

As the CEO or member of a leadership team of a for-profit, you may ask yourself, “What is the purpose of our involvement with a special event?” My answer, once again, is… all of the above! Sponsoring and/or hosting a special event for a nonprofit organization is also a great way for a company to thank their customers, attract new customers, generate awareness and, most importantly, show that you not only care about your community, but that you are committed to giving back to those who help make your business successful!

Special events are not necessarily a way to raise a lot of money immediately, but they can be an important part of an organization’s strategic plan. Be sure to spend enough time examining your company/ organization’s needs to determine that an event is the best strategy for you. Good luck! iBi