The Non-Profit Team was thrilled with the great turnout at our recent “Raising the Bar for Your Non-Profit Special Events’ seminar at the Greater Delray Beach Chamber of Commerce on May 17.

We wanted to make sure area non-profits understood the importance of planning ahead for their seasonal events here in South Florida. It’s never too early to begin brainstorming, budgeting and building toward your major fundraiser or community outreach event!

Before we delve into the many details (and there are countless) of planning a special event, our fearless leader Andy Rose listed his six “Power Points” for planning a major fundraiser.

  1. One Moment in Time – Make It Count! – While EVERY moment of your event counts, a good exercise is starting with your “Call to the Heart’ and working your way out. How will you take your audience on a roller-coaster ride that builds to that point of the evening? Will you use a video or a live recipient sharing his or her story? There’s lots consider to making that magic moment count.
  1. Define Your Fundraising Goals and Tactics – Before you spend huge amounts of money – and time – it’s critical to set a specific financial number that you want to raise above and beyond your budget. Based on that, you can calibrate what you need to raise through sponsorships, attendance, auctions and your “Call to the Heart.”
  1. Be Crystal Clear on Who Fills Those Seats – Quality trumps quantity when it comes to the types of attendees to seek for a major fundraiser. Would you rather have 100 potential major donors or 200 that attend just to have fun or provide moral support for honorees? Keep your bottom line in mind before you end up bottoming out and losing precious resources.
  1. Get Creative – From Theme to “Thank You!” – When you begin planning your fundraiser, brainstorm a theme and design a graphic that will grab the interest of potential attendees and carry it through all aspects of the event, from the décor and your Power Point loop to your video presentations and party favor. And when you send the all-important “Thank You” note, keep the theme front and center for some creative closure.
  1. Follow a 5-Star Evaluation System – Before you even get started on your special event, do an exercise and imagine your “post-mortem” meeting when it’s all done (and the espresso is flowing). Use the following system:


  1. Profitable – Did you meet or exceed your goal?
  2. Meaningful – Did your mission come shining through the glitz and the glamour?
  3. Galvanizing – Did the crowd have a collective sense of giving together?
  4. Fun – Were the dinner plates empty and the dance floor full?
  5. Memorable – Are those who attended already looking forward to next year?
  1. Think Long Term – Build Your Event Over Time – Your first event may not be your best event. It may take a few years to build the right audience and generate a well-rounded 5-Star result. So be patient. We would say be “penny-wise” as well, but don’t necessarily skimp on parading your annual progress as an successful organization while putting potential donors on a pedestal.

Those are what we feel are the primary pointers for planning and executing a successful special event. If you need any help powering up your next big occasion, feel free to call in the Non-Profit Team. Whether its  branding and graphics, a highly effective fundraising overlay or the whole “kit and kaboodle,” we are here for you!  Contact Andy at or (561) 945-9356.