Emily Davis, author of the new book Fundraising and the Next Generation, has been working in the nonprofit sector as an , staff member, , , board member, and volunteer for over 15 years. Here she offers some helpful tips for creating your own next-gen event.
More and more nonprofits are planning to host or are hosting events for young professionals as a way to raise money for their organizations and bring awareness to their causes. Next-gen professionals are taking it upon themselves to organize their own events benefiting organizations they care about.
Young professionals’ events are useful in a number of ways:
• Introduces your organization to young professionals.
• Raises money for your cause.
• Opens up new networks for your organization through young professional donors already connected.
• Creates ambassadors for your mission.
• Provides an entry point into new relationships.
Before you host an event targeted towards young professionals, be sure to follow the steps below. Have planned and strategicand calls to action after the event.
Here are five easy steps to creating a young professionals’ event:
1) Recruit existing next gen volunteers and/or donors to organize a fundraising event. Your organization will need at least three individuals to start the planning. Be prepared to use staff time to support the group before recruitment starts.
2) Develop the planningby organizing fun and meetings. Ask the founding members to recruit one or two of their peers onto the . Provide training about fundraising and orient these individuals to your organization by hosting site visits and more.
3) Set clear expectations and include goals and parameters including budget. Position the planningfor success and ask what they need from staff and others to support their efforts. Provide examples of other successful events and be willing to take innovative strides.
4) Enjoy a great event and collect contact information from attendees. Be sure to demonstrate the value of getting involved with your organization. Ask that at least one board member and/or theattend and possibly welcome attendees.
5) Evaluate the event and process.Learn what worked and what didn’t work in executing the fundraising event and in the planning.There will always be mistakes to learn from so be prepared for that experience.If it doesn’t help you raise your fundraising goal, don’t be discouraged.It typically takes several tries to get the system to help you reach your goals.
Events are a great way to engage young professionals in the planning and provide a rewarding experience – remember the planning process and theare just as important as the event itself.
One of the strongest organizations out there doing this is GenNext through the United Way of Greater St. Louis. Watch and learn from other organizations to learn the best practices that might fit for you and your nonprofit.
What are some positive examples of next gen or young professionals’ events you have seen? What are some things to avoid? Share your stories here.