We have just experienced the annual fundraising marathon of non-profits in our area. From January to May, almost every weekend is filled with conference room dinners, donations, table sponsors, silent auctions, live auctions, and of course a few slideshows to pull on our emotional strings.

Are these fundraising events bad?  No, not at all.  They are beneficial for the community both at home and abroad.  We are supporting members of many different types of organizations, so this article is not to bash, but to help improve the areas of weakness we have observed at fundraising events.

Most organizations have a committee that coordinates these events.  These committees are the backbone and do an amazing job.  However, there are typically certain areas in which the committees recognize their shortcomings and seek professional help in.   Most committees don’t have expertise in audio, video production, catering, etc., so they hire professionals to handle those specific details.  Why?  Because those are crucial areas.  If the attendees can’t hear the emcee or they are served PB&J for their dinner, the fundraising results could be compromised.

So, how are areas deemed crucial?  How is it determined that an expert is needed to handle these areas?  Is it because of a good sales person?  Is it an industry standard?

I want to suggest that the most crucial part of successful events is almost always overlooked; the expertise of a event producer or event director.  This is often simply filled with a “warm body” by the committee member who is willing or most available.  However, just imagine for a moment the snowball effect this crucial area can have.  You have an emcee, sound tech, video tech, national anthem singer, keynote speaker, catering, auctions, games, sildeshow, videos, and much much more.  Of course, all of these will work on their own, but how much better would they work with simple continuity and a more streamlined process? Successful event production, on a large or a small scale, is all about creating an environment for the attendees to understand and get behind the vision of the organization.  How much more can someone understand and believe in the vision if all elements compliment the others, work seamlessly together, and develop a consistent surrounding.

Studies have shown that the conditions have an impact on the attendee.  If an attendee isn’t distracted, but is ushered into a setting that they can connect with, understand and get excited about, revenues go up.

Like I said at the beginning, events happen everyday without the expertise of a professional event producer.  But envision how much better the event would run and how much better the end result will be.  90% of events will ignore this area and will continue to raise money.  The remaining 10% keep this area in the crucial category (or redefine it as such) and continue to increase funds, increase their impact and increase their overall mission.  Will your organization be just another weekend benefit event or be the event that highlights all functions to bring forth a better organization? Remember, your event is a reflection of your organization.  Make it professional and make it count.