Embracing The Virtual Gala


Dear Colleagues,

It has been a while since I’ve checked in with you via video, so while on break from a virtual gala, I wanted to say hello and just to see how are you doing? If you are in the event planning field, how are you holding up?

As we shift from live events to virtual events, everything will seem strange at first, but I am encouraged by what I’ve seen so far.  Will there be challenges along the way? Absolutely.  But this is also a unique opportunity to engage donors and stakeholders who will be excited to support our efforts.  So, here’s to the Virtual Gala.  If you are an event planner, here’s to your success!



Positioning Your Organization to Host 7-Figure Events || Collaborating with Corporate Honorees


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to the Positioning Your Organization to Host 7-Figure Events™ series created to serve as a resource for non-profit leaders looking to host their first special event fundraiser, or reinvigorate a dormant event, but are overwhelmed by the steps involved.  In my previous article, I discussed Ways to Involve Donors When Making the Case For Support, which can be accessed by following this link.  As you and your team work to ensure dinner leadership and strategies are in place to strengthen your fundraising efforts, one of the most exciting moments occurs when a corporate chairman or CEO accepts your invitation to be honored.  

Collaborating with an industry leader, who understands the importance of positioning your organization in the philanthropic marketplace, can have a tremendous impact on fundraising efforts.  Your team is excited and ready to spring into action.  Before you leap, corporate honorees will need to balance your organization’s needs with the corporation’s social responsibility agenda.

Today, I am pleased to share some insights to consider when Collaborating with Honorees on your signature fundraising event. 

1. Corporate honorees have influence but do not have an open checkbook.  The good news is you are working with proven leaders.  Once they have a clear understanding of your needs and commit to the fundraising campaign, you will receive great support.

2. Corporate support may take many forms.  Do you make it easy for others to support your work?  Here are some options you can consider when seeking corporate support: (a) a one-time lead gift to fund a program area (b) a multi-year commitment to launch a new initiative, (c) a one-time lead gift to support the event coupled with a pledge to secure additional funding from their network.

3. Corporate honorees are careful with their investments.  CEOs take pride in knowing their resources (time, money, key personnel) add value to your organization’s bottom line.  At the same time, they take comfort in knowing your team will take an active role in fundraising efforts. 

4. Corporate communication generally takes place via a member of their executive team. Traditionally, this person will be a senior-level manager designated to assist you and update the honoree.  Please honor and work within this structure.

5. Business etiquette goes a long way.  Your organization liaison should have great interpersonal skills and be able to communicate with business leaders with professionalism and tact.  This will help build a lasting relationship long after the event is over.

In addition to raising funds for your organization, high-level events are a great way to solidify relationships for the future.  While there are many steps involved, with the right strategies in place, you will be able to plan with precision and execute with excellence.

If I can support your efforts please contact me at Monique@Eventstrategies4success.com.

Here’s to your success!




#philanthropy #nonprofitleaders #specialevents #specialeventfundraiser #nonprofitevents #galas #fundraisers

Positioning Your Organization to Host 7-Figure Events || Ways to Involve Donors When Making the Case for Support

shutterstock_307422212-2.jpg - July 16, 2018

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to the Positioning Your Organization to Host 7-Figure Events™ series created to serve as a resource for non-profit leaders looking to host their first special event fundraiser, or reinvigorate a dormant event, but are overwhelmed by the steps involved.  In my previous article, I shared strategies you can use to Create Momentum for Your Event, which can be accessed by following this link.

If you have been looking for unique opportunities to involve your most generous supporters, why not start with your event? Today I will share ways you can Ways to Involve Donors When Making the Case for Support.

1. Ask donors to collaborate. 

For donors with C-suite connections, invite them to help create strategies for soliciting contributions from others within this circle. Their insight can ensure your appeal is best positioned for a positive outcome.

2. Ask donors to lead.

For donors who enjoy the allure of events, and have the time and resources to ensure successful outcomes, invite them to take a leadership role on the fundraising committee. Excited and engaged donors are vital to your success.

3. Ask donors to host.

For donors who have access to networks critical to your organization’s long-term success, but cannot commit to a lengthy fundraising campaign, invite them to sponsor a pre-event activity or host private a reception to provide honorees with a more personal look at your organization.

4. Ask donors to mentor.

For donors who have served as ambassadors, but shy away from formal committees, invite them to mentor key team members and accompany them on in-person visits with prospects and community stakeholders.

When making the case for support, involving donors is key. With proper planning and patience, well-planned events can set the tone for six-or-seven-figure fundraising success.

If I can support your efforts, please contact me at Monique@Eventstrategies4success.com.

Here’s to your success!



#philanthropy #nonprofitleaders #specialevents #specialeventfundraiser #nonprofitevents #galas #fundraisers



Positioning Your Organization to Host 7-Figure Events || Setting the Stage for Success

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Welcome to the Positioning Your Organization to Host 7-Figure Events™ series I created to serve as a resource for non-profit leaders who are interested in hosting their first special event fundraiser, or reinvigorating a dormant event, but may feel overwhelmed by the process.

One of the first things you must do is obtain buy-in from members of your leadership team, the board of directors and a small circle of influential donors – who will each play an important role in the fundraising campaign.  However, without a blueprint to follow, where will you begin?

Today I will share 5 essential questions to help inform your discussions with these key stakeholders.

1.  Why are you hosting this event?

There are many reasons why you have decided to host your signature event, chief among them is to generate income from table and ticket sales. That said, you should be able to clearly articulate how you will use the proceeds.  Will you add new programs and services, or enhance ones that already exist?  Will you participate in executive level training to further develop your leadership skills?  How will you invest in your team?

2.  Can you afford to do this?

Planning and executing large events can be expensive, and many unexpected costs will come up along the way.   You must honestly assess how much you can invest, set a budget and determine the impact of these expenses on your day-to-day operations.  Equally important, you must decide if you have enough cash on-hand to sustain the organization until the fundraising campaign generates income.

3.  Do you have sufficient resources?

Please keep in mind, this event will unfold as you continue to manage your daily responsibilities. You must continue to serve your beneficiaries, collaborate with stakeholders and manage your team. Therefore, you should carefully determine how you will manage the interruptions that generally accompany events of this magnitude.  Do you expect staff to shoulder the additional responsibilities or will you hire a professional team to provide assistance?

4.  How will you engage your supporters?

Some organizations are challenged around ways to keep donors informed and engaged after the event.  As you work to build your financial future, the quality of your interactions will be key.  Among the high-level touches sophisticated donors will expect are invitations to curated cultivation and scholarly events, in-person updates on your beneficiaries progress and where you see them in your organization’s future.

5.  How will you tell your hero stories?

If you showcase your beneficiaries during the event, you must do this in a way that honors them and presents their accomplishments in the best light.  Remember everyone will watch how you treat those you have pledged to serve.

Hosting your first signature fundraiser is not easy. However, once your event is fine-tuned, and enjoys a loyal base of committed supporters, it will prove to be profitable for your bottom line.  With proper planning and patience, you will be positioned to achieve six-or-seven figure event success.

If I can support your efforts, please contact me at Monique@Eventstrategies4success.com.

With kind regards,



The Honoree/Organization Balance


Dear Friends and Colleagues,

As a fundraiser and event planner, one of the most promising moments comes when a client secures a corporate honoree (Chair and Chief Executive Officer of a global corporation). With this development, the organization is ready to implement a strategic fundraising campaign to meet, and exceed, the income goal.

Throughout my career, I’ve learned there is a delicate balance that must be maintained when working with a corporate honoree. It is equally important for organizations to acknowledge honorees also have expectations. This unique partnership can benefit both parties now and in the future. Today I am pleased to share some additional insights to add to your toolkit:

  1. Corporate honorees have great influence but do not come with an open checkbook. As leaders, they understand what is needed and are committed to supporting the fundraising campaign. As you enter into this process, please keep in mind support can take many forms, among them: (a) a one-time lead gift, (b) a multi-year sponsorship or (c) a one-time lead gift coupled with a pledge to secure additional support from their networks.
  2. Corporate honorees are careful with their investments; they take pride in knowing their resources (time, money, key personnel) add value to the bottom line. Corporate leaders will expect the organization to remain true to its mission, deliver on its promises and take an active role in fundraising.
  3. Corporate honorees are busy and their time is limited. Communication generally takes place via the honoree’s designee; an executive-level manager who works closely with Chair and Chief Executive Officer. Please honor and work within this structure.
  4. The organization should always work to strengthen its relationship with the corporate honoree. When appointing a staff member to work with the honoree’s designee, please select a senior manager who has good interpersonal skills and understands corporate etiquette. This will go a long way to building a lasting relationship after the event.
  5. The organization must be quick to say thank you and acknowledge all gifts, large and small, that come from the honoree’s efforts.

As always, I am here to support your efforts in any way that I can. For information, please visit http://www.eventstrategies4success.com. If I can be of assistance, please reach out to me at monique@Eventstrategies4success.com.

With kind regards,

Creating an Event Budget to Ensure Success

shutterstock_211973863Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Fundraisers and event planners know the important role budgets play when working with business and organization leaders. The event budget serves as a guide when hiring vendors, can serve as an effective negotiating tool and will help keep track of expenses. While this process can be layered, and usually requires several revisions, it cannot be minimized. Today I am sharing some insights into the expense budget planning process. I will discuss how the expense budget impacts fundraising goals in future posts.

Over the years, one technique I have found to be helpful is to group expenses into categories. This is a quick way to compare items from multiple vendors and make adjustments as needed.

Selecting the perfect venue gives leaders an opportunity to impress donors and stakeholders. When reviewing options, comparing the cost of each venue is key. Here are some items to examine:

  1. Venue (Room rental fee)
  2. Venue (Room taxes)
  3. Venue (Additional set-up time)
  4. Reception (menu)
  5. Reception (beverages)
  6. Reception (premium bar service)
  7. Reception (limited bar service)
  8. Dinner (menu)
  9. Dinner (wine and beverages)
  10. Speciality Dessert
  11. Catering Service Charge (ranges from 18 to 21%)
  12. Food & Beverage Tax (waived for non-profits)
  13. Tasting Fee
  14. Additional insurance usually in effect the day of the event and for a few days after

Once the venue is confirmed, the next step is organizing the campaign for support. I realize we live in a time where e-mail and social media are heavily used, I have come to realize many corporations, foundations and donors require – and appreciate – written requests for support. Social media and e-mail outreach can be used as a follow-up to a written request.  Here are some items to include:

  1. Save-the-date card (designer fee)
  2. Save-the-date card (printer fee)
  3. Fundraising package (designer fee)
  4. Fundraising package (printer fee)
  5. Invitation package (designer fee)
  6. Invitation package (printer fee)
  7. Postage
  8. Messengers and/or overnight delivery
  9. Programs and journals to be distributed at the event (designer fee)
  10. Programs and journals to be distributed at the event (printer fee)

As we know, large fundraisers involve many moving parts. For events with a 7-figure fundraising goal, and an attendee goal of 750 -800 guests or more, the organization’s mailing list will need to be in the thousands. Coordinating these items before they are mailed requires hours of preparation. If in-house resources are not available, hiring an outside vendor is critical. Here are some line items to include in the budget:

  1. Mailing list preparation (includes bad address removal and updates)
  2. Fundraising package preparation
  3. Invitation package preparation

This is where leadership and the dinner team work with the event decorator to plan the look of the room, signature colors and the impression they want to make on donors and supporters. Here are some items to include in the decor budget:

  1. Linen
  2. Chairs
  3. Chair cushions
  4. Centerpieces
  5. Stage decor
  6. Step and repeat banner
  7. Speciality lighting package
  8. Speciality lighting (delivery, installation and breakdown)
  9. Fee for the delivery and pick up of all rental items
  10. Ropes and stanchions
  11. Pipes and Drapery
  12. Plants to use in key areas

Once guests have been seated, its time for the show to begin. Think of how embarrassed the President or Board chair will be to learn his/her remarks can’t be heard? If a video is planned, the playback must be exceptional. Here are some items to include in your budget to ensure a professional presentation:

  1. Podium
  2. Wireless microphones
  3. Teleprompters
  4. Video screens
  5. Video recorders
  6. Audio-visual technicians
  7. Video playback units
  8. Program producer
  9. Floor manager
  10. Floor assistants
  11. Entertainment/Musicians
  12. Entertainment/Instruments
  13. Professional photographer
  14. Stage construction

From special gifts of appreciation to honorees and guests, to saying thank you to dinner chairs and key staff members, planning for these items early in the process will ensure no one is overlooked. Here are some items to add to this category:

  1. Gifts and giveaways for guests
  2. Special awards for honorees
  3. Honorarium for emcee and keynote speakers
  4. Transportation for emcee and keynote speakers and other VIPs
  5. Transportation incurred for key staff participating in monthly planning meetings
  6. Hotel accommodations for emcee, keynote speakers and other VIPs
  7. Thank you gifts for dinner chairs, volunteers and key staff members who worked on the event
  8. Refreshments provided at monthly planning meetings
  9. Miscellaneous office supplies
  10. Delivery costs to send items to the venue on the day of the event

As my colleagues will attest, planning a fundraiser of this size requires great skill and coordination. Many organizations will look to a professional event planner to ensure the careful management and execution of details. Here are fees you should incorporate into your budget:

  1. Event planner fee
  2. Event planner overhead/administrative costs
  3. Event planner out-of-pocket expenses

Thank you for spending a few moments out of your day with me. I hope today’s post has been helpful to you. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at Monique@Eventstrategies4success.com.

With kind regards,






Lessons Learned From Leaders

shutterstock_128200328Dear Friends and Colleagues,

A dynamic group of young men and women have invited me to discuss my profession and the lessons I’ve learned from working with leaders.

As expected, summarizing my role as a fundraiser and event planner required some time as I am addressing a group of young adults. However describing what I’ve learned from business and organization leaders took a little longer than I expected. With so much to share, I wanted to provide information that would be useful, cause them to think and enhance their lives.

Here is my short list:

  1. Leaders value partnerships. While a large part of my job is to identify needs, assess risks and organize talent, I am signing onto the organization’s mission. I am wedded to its success.
  2. Leaders value time. I always plan to be on time and make the most of every minute we have together.
  3. Leaders value preparation. I always prepare an agenda for it shows I am paying attention to the organization’s needs.
  4. Leaders value professionalism. My skills, attitude and enthusiasm are always on display.
  5. Leaders need time to adjust to new partnerships. When working with a new client, I always allow extra time to build rapport.
  6. Leaders value flexibility. During meetings, I understand that the agenda serves as a guide, fundraising objectives may change and each team member learns at a different rate. As such, I must be prepared to make reasonable shifts when needed.
  7. Leaders value the bottom line. I am transparent about all costs, why additional resources might be needed and how the investment will add to the success of the project.

Thank you for spending a few moments out of your day with me. If I can be of assistance, please contact me at Monique@Eventstrategies4success.com.

With kind regards,


Do I Have Time to Plan A Successful Fundraiser?

shutterstock_58942066Dear Friends and Colleagues,

Time is certainly moving at a fast clip and we are already in the second week of February. At this pace spring will arrive before we know it.

Recently a member of a community-based organization inquired if there is enough time to plan a fundraiser in May, which is three months away. This will be their first major event and they are feeling a bit anxious. The date and venue will be finalized this week.

For me, this question cannot be answered with a simple yes or no. As a professional, my role is to outline the steps involved, create a strategy to ensure a successful outcome and help set the stage for future fundraising efforts. Last week, I met with the organization’s leaders to discuss their needs. I created an agenda and posed questions to guide our meeting and serve to set the stage for internal conversations.

Today I am sharing some takeaways from our discussion. If you find these tips to be helpful, I hope you will add them to your toolkit when planning your next fundraiser.

  1. What is your budget for this event? How much money would you like to raise? How much do you need to raise to break even? This will help determine how much to charge for underwriters and lead sponsors, tables and individual tickets.
  2. Do you have a list of donors and prospects? If so, what shape is the list in? Is it current? When was the last time it was updated?
  3. How engaged are your Board members and stakeholders? Can you count on them to identify additional prospects, make appropriate asks and provide their personal financial support?
  4. What is your vision for this event? Would you like to host a luncheon or dinner? If you plan to host a dinner, is this a formal or semi-formal occasion?
  5. Do you envision a special time before the event so that Board members and organization leaders can personally thank underwriters and lead sponsors?
  6. Have you thought about your support team? How will the event be managed and executed? In addition to partnering with a fundraising and event management professional, who will help with public relations and communications?
  7. What is the call to action? How will you engage supporters in your work after the event? Who will create the follow-up plan?

I will provide the answers to these questions, along with tips on how to plan and executive successful events, in future blog posts. Until then, if you have questions or if I can be of assistance, please contact me at Monique@Eventstrategies4success.com.

With kind regards,


Time to Reconnect

©Stephanie Badini Photography
©Stephanie Badini Photography

Dear Colleagues,

After a brief hiatus, it is good to be back. I look forward to connecting with you and hearing what you’ve been up to. I am also working on ways to engage you further in this process and allow you to share your social and fundraising event success with us.

Please stay tuned for updates to our Facebook page where you will be able to access additional resources and ideas. I am also working on a new Pinterest page that I will unveil in the new year.

Thank you for your patience. I look forward to helping you create success one event at a time.

With kind regards,

Tips for Effective Crisis Management

shutterstock_104446280 copy

Dear Friends and Colleagues:

There is one thing special event planners know for sure — the highs and lows of this business are real!

One week, we may be celebrating a successful event or product launch. The next week, we could be navigating a plethora of event-related challenges.  What happens when things go wrong?  What safeguards can we put in place?

Former NFL Senior Vice President Frank Supovitz, who is now President and CEO of Fast Track Events and Entertainment, planned Super Bowl XLVII and recalls vividly when the lights went out in the Superdome.  Today, I would like to share his sage advice on how to manage during a crisis.

Before I share the “Dos and Don’ts” here are Frank’s 6 Ps for event planning.


Here are Frank’s Dos and Don’ts for Crisis Management.

  1. Don’t Panic.
    Panicking doesn’t solve anything.  It paralyzes decision-making.  This is your time to Lead.  Even if you don’t quite know what to do, it is important to keep everyone working together for solution.
  2. Don’t React.
    This is a time for measured decision-making.  Keep in mind, you are reacting to a symptom of what is wrong, not the cause.  Do Assess What’s Going On.  Avoid paralysis through analysis.  This is a time for rational decision-making.
  3. Don’t Get Caught By The Predictable.
    Always think “what if.”  As the event leader, this is the time to play “preventive defense.”  Determine Plan A, Plan B and Plan C.
  4. Don’t Walk Alone.
    In order to be successful, you must have a great team in place.  Empower them to make decisions that can help you in your time of crisis.
  5. Don’t Be An Information Hog.
    Secrecy has no place during a crisis.  Always communicate with your team and provide updates as frequently and clearly as needed.
  6. Don’t Take Your Eye Off The Ball.
    Remember to prioritize.  Don’t spend your time focusing on what happened 2 hours ago.  Try to stay in the moment and manage what is taking place now.
  7. Don’t Blame.
    Assessing blame is the last thing that you should do.  After the event is over, you and your team should spend quality time investigating what went wrong so that you can build in contingencies for the future.
  8. Take Time to Rehearse.
    Bring together your team and rehearse your event several times before it actually begins.  This process will allow you to build trust and confidence and allows for contingencies.

In closing, I thought you would like to hear from directly from Frank.  Please follow this link to learn more about What To Do When Things Go Wrong At Events.

Frank Supovitz, President & CEO, Fast Traffic Events
Frank Supovitz, President & CEO, Fast Traffic Events and Entertainment

Happy Planning!



Frank Supovitz appears courtesy of Event Innovation Forum as recorded by Biz Bash Events and Entertainment – http://www.bizbash.com.