A Year to Stretch
Greetings and Happy 2016 from the Ann Plans team! Now that we are more than halfway through January, and the temperature is moving above zero again, it’s not too big a stretch to believe that the warm days of spring and hot days of summer will soon return.
Each year I identify a word to guide our work with clients, and the word for 2016 is Stretch. This month’s newsletter offers strategies for focusing and re-energizing event planning efforts to stretch for bigger results.
A quote on my bulletin board is also an inspiration for 2016: “There is no finish line.” Every event comes and goes, and every race does have a physical finish line. We benefit from taking time to celebrate and learn from these experiences.
And, then the world awaits us with more important work that needs to be done, ways to make an even bigger difference, and new experiences to challenge us and enjoy. That’s why there is no ultimate finish line. Life is filled with so many opportunities and adventures!
I am so excited for what awaits all of us this year. It truly feels like a great time to stretch!
How to Stretch in 2016
When we talk about helping clients take an event to the next level, we are focusing on growing attendance, increasing revenue, and/or enhancing guest experience. Here are some of the ways we stretch with our nonprofit partners:
- Setting the goals needed to meet budget as well as stretch goals. Involve others in setting your stretch goals and share them with staff, board of directors, event committee and others who can help you get there. Remember that stretch goals should feel a little scary – and exciting!
- Continuing to grow and energize the event committee with passionate people who are cheerleaders for your mission and have connections they are excited to leverage. A client recently phrased it this way, “We are building a committee of go-getters!”
- Identifying and communicating clearly how Board and committee members can best help us stretch to the next level. One client now structures event committee meetings with half the meeting being smaller conversations of the auction item procurement team and guest recruitment team.
- Reviewing sponsorship levels. Is it time to increase the size of some of the levels? Which of your current sponsors might be ready to stretch to a higher level?
- Identifying a targeted number of new people who agree to strategically fill a table. Just think of the impact of having five or 10 additional people fill a table of eight or 10!
- Creating two or three new ways to integrate mission and fun into the event. Everything is game, including how your guests are greeted, reception activities, the décor concept, how video and entertainment are integrated, who speaks, and the guest departure experience.
- Maximizing the fund-a-need or direct giving moment. If you typically start this fundraising opportunity at $2,500, consider stretching to $5,000. Be sure that minimally there are pre-committed gifts at the top two levels. The messaging leading directly into this part of the event should be the most compelling part of your program.
Regardless of how you decide to stretch professionally and personally in 2016, think big, have fun, and visualize the impact this stretch can have on others. Let’s rally the troops and make amazing things happen!