Stories I Will Long Remember
Yesterday my day started as one of 800 guests attending the Imagine a Place Breakfast at the DoubleTree Bloomington. By the time 9:00 a.m. rolled around, I had laughed, cried, and made a gift supporting Gilda’s Club Twin Cities.
The stories I heard from people affected by cancer, including the 52-year-old son who lost his dad nine months ago and the young mom living with cancer, will stay with me for a long time. Next time someone I know receives a cancer diagnosis, Gilda’s Club will be top of mind.
Focusing significant time on creating a program that inspires, engages, and informs is the best investment you can make in your event planning. Read on for ideas for creating a program that hits it out of the park.
Focus on What Matters Most
As our friend and colleague Glen Fladeboe of Fladeboe Auctions says, “for every minute spent on things like décor, food, and silent auction, spend five minutes crafting your program.” Here’s how we tackle that challenge:
- Infuse your program with stories. The most effective way to connect guests with your mission is through stories. Have each speaker share one or more stories of how your organization’s work makes a difference.
- Choose an emcee with a connection to your organization. Your ideal emcee will be charismatic, entertaining, and have a personal tie to your mission.
- Less is more. Focus on creating a tight, mission-focused program. Have a goal of keeping each speaking and video component to no more than 3-5 minutes.
- Don’t skimp on audiovisual. If guests struggle to hear or see, the impact of your program and the potential for fundraising will be diminished.
- Write a complete script. Working with each speaker to craft their detailed remarks will ensure all key messages are covered, the program flows seamlessly, and there are no surprises.
- Prime the pump. Securing large lead gifts and matching or challenge gifts is some of the most important pre-work you can do. The introduction of these pre-committed gifts at your event will create momentum and inspire generous giving.
- Communicate gratitude and significance. Within the first few minutes of your program thank your guests and express why the event is important to those you serve. Share your financial goal, and continue to express gratitude throughout the program.
- Appeal to both the head and heart givers. Some guests will be inspired to give because the program moves them emotionally. Other givers need facts that demonstrate how your organization is making a difference.
Ann Plans is delighted to welcome Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation as our newest client. Consider joining us for the Recovery Cup charity golf and tennis tournament on Monday, July 23 at Town & Country Club.
We hope you take time this weekend to focus on enjoying those things that matter the most!