1. Effective Conference Fundraising & 2. Your CFC Ambassadors

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Sections of this topic

    1. Making Your Nonprofit Conference A Special Event
    by Natalie Lewis

    We in the nonprofit sector attend (and often arrange) our fair share of conferences; and, how many times have we walked thru an exhibit hall door and thought, “This place looks exactly like most of the other (boring) exhibit halls I’ve seen.”

    When was the last time you went to a conference, walked into the exhibit hall and were pleasantly surprised that it looked new, different or interesting?

    The old format of long rows of booths or six-foot tables is being replaced with some real imagination and creativity. Exhibitors are sharing space with cafes and other street scenes including park benches and a coffee bar. Attendees are following walking paths that curve and bend and lead to a cluster of exhibitors or a sound stage or an author’s corner.

    Gone is the boredom that hit you at the door when you looked out and saw a mass of booths and tables with water stations. Instead, you can now see a village with storefronts, cafes, lounge areas, and of course, the vendors … who are happy to see people (potential buyers) visiting and revisiting the area. Sales/contacts are up, vendors feel loved, and they’ll want to come back. What could be better?

    Strolling through the exhibit hall has become an activity beyond purchasing or learning about new products. There is more time to network and grab a cup of coffee or a sandwich. It is a place to which you want to return, many times, before the conference is over. It is a happening, and a destination.

    We recently did a conference and turned the exhibit hall into a village with space for vendors, cafes and some intimate learning sessions over continental breakfast. The exhibitors were thrilled with the new model and the increased traffic, while the attendees (repeatedly) found themselves checking out the village to see what was going on.

    Keep your vendors happy; show others that they could really benefit from being one of your conference exhibitors, and there will be more vendors who will be wanting to “sign up.” Would you object to having those additional vendor fees ??

    Just because “we’ve always done it the way we’ve done it,” doesn’t mean we should continue with the same-old-same-old. It is always time for a change. Your attendees and vendors will thank you for the redo!

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    Have a comment or a question about creating
    or expanding your special event?

    Ask Natalie.
    With over 30 years in conference and event planning,
    she can help you turn your vision into reality.
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    Look for Natalie’s ebook on Special Events.
    It’s part of
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks

    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99 – $4.99)
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    2. Your CFC Ambassadors
    by Bill Huddleston

    Where the basic definition of ambassador refers to the relations between countries, the definition, in its broad sense, more accurately fits everyone associated with a non-profit. All are, in some way, actual representatives of your organization. Hopefully, they are “ambassadors” of goodwill.

    Since everyone associated with your non-profit (paid staff, volunteers and board members) will talk to others about “their” organization, do you make sure they have the proper/appropriate training and orientation?

    In many instances, the training program you have for your volunteers may be the most important training program you have. Why? Because the volunteers don’t sit in on staff meetings or receive the staff-mail messages; and, with the exception of your board members, they are not at board meetings. So, they may be getting a more limited view of your non-profit than is ideal for your “ambassadors.”

    What is the relationship between the paid staff and the volunteer staff? Obviously, in some non-profits it’s great, while in others, it’s dismal.

    Obviously the first-step is to have a great non-profit, with a compelling mission and a dedicated and passionate staff. But that’s still not enough, once you’ve taken care of those basics, how are you going to tell your stories? Through your people, and “your people” includes everyone who’s associated with your organization.

    This does not mean that everyone should be empowered to talk to a reporter who calls, far from it.

    You need to have controls and procedures in place for that circumstance, but you also want to let your dedicated volunteers know what the top three priorities are for the year, and how they are helping “their” non-profit achieve them!

    In our next couple of CFC postings, we’ll look at some ways to assess your CFC effort as part of your non-profit’s overall sustainability program.

    Resources:
    http://www.pointsoflight.org/signature-events/national-volunteer-week
    http://www.pointsoflight.org/sites/default/files/resources/files/nvw_celebrate_service_resourceguide10jan13.pdf
    Global Youth Service Day GYSD.org April 11-13, 2014

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    During his 25-year career in the Federal sector, Bill Huddleston, The CFC Coach,
    served in many CFC roles. If you want to participate in the Combined Federal
    Campaign, maximize your nonprofit’s CFC revenues, or just ask a few questions,
    contact Bill Huddleston
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    Have you heard about
    The Fundraising Series of ebooks.

    They’re easy to read, to the point, and inexpensive ($1.99-$4.99)
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    If you would like to comment/expand on either-or-both of the above pieces, or would just like to offer your thoughts on the subjects of this posting, we encourage you to “Leave a Reply.”