Special Events: Proven Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising / Edition 2

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"This comprehensive and detail-rich book is a great addition to a fundraising library. Novices will find their anxiety banished and seasoned professionals will find they still can learn some things. If you want maximum mileage out of your events, use this book!"
––Kim Klein, Publisher Grassroots Fundraising Journal

"Applause for Alan Wendroff's book, Special Events: Proven Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising, called for a Second Edition––an encore. Alan Wendroff uses his return to the stage as an opportunity to expand upon and enrich his previously presented special event strategies. In this updated edition, Wendroff guides the reader onto the Internet with its cost-effective, timely, and considerable means for planning and conducting special events. The web-based strategies discussed in the Second Edition include volunteer enlistment, marketing to an expanded audience, and moment-by-moment stewardship. The newly presented strategies can further your event's success and attract greater returns for addressing organizational mission objectives."
––Skip Henderson, MSW Providing Fund Raising Counsel

"Alan Wendroff takes special events seriously. This updated edition of his work is essential for organizations seeking to involve today's potential donors and volunteers."
––Eugene R. Tempel, Executive Director The Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, headquartered at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis

"Once again, Alan Wendroff provides 'doable' step-by-step planning and strategizing for special events fundraising. His proven method is so sufficiently down-to-earth that both volunteers and staff can benefit tremendously from this simple implementation guide. In fact, it would make an excellent 'thank you' gift for volunteers. They'll feel empowered and more equipped to assist with the charitable cause for which they are willing to give time and money."
––Nancy May, Resource Development Consultant Good Samaritan Foundation

"Alan Wendroff significantly upgrades every development officer's library with Special Events: Proven Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising, Second Edition. In one volume, Alan provides specifics that are culled from his years of experience and delivers his counsel with the touch of a mentor and a sense of humor. This work provides additional and valuable resources for the experienced professional and sage advice for the novice."
––Paul I. Kuznekoff, Director of Development The Allen and Joan Bildner Center for the Study of Jewish Life at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471462354
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 10/22/2003
  • Edition description: Includes CD-Rom
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 745,648
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.63 (d)

Meet the Author

ALAN L. WENDROFF, CFRE, is a nationally recognized consultant, speaker, and writer for nonprofit organizations. He has worked as a senior development professional with a national human relations agency. He writes and teaches online and classroom courses for the continuing education Nonprofit Management Program at California State University, Hayward. He is the author of the first edition of Special Events: Proven Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising, and coauthor with Kay Sprinkel Grace, of High Impact Philanthropy: How Donors, Boards, and Nonprofit Organizations Can Transform Communities, both from Wiley. He also contributed a chapter on special events to the second edition of Hank Rosso's Achieving Excellence in Fund Raising, from Jossey-Bass.

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Read an Excerpt

Special Events: Proven Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising

By Alan L. Wendroff

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2003

Alan L. Wendroff
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-471-46235-7

Chapter One

The Master Event Timetable

The Master Event Timetable (METT)

The Master Event Timetable (METT) acts as a navigation guide throughout
the special event planning process. It is the central document in this
book. The minimum time line for the completion of a successful event is
26 weeks. When planning a community-wide extravaganza, festival, or a
run or walk of any type, plan to schedule the event at least a year in

This example of the METT is presented in a 27-week cycle: 26 weeks
for planning the event and an extra week (always add this extra week; thus,
a 39-week METT becomes 40 weeks, and the yearly planning METT
becomes 53 weeks) for cleaning up loose ends, such as invoicing, completing
reports, and mailing thank-you and acknowledgment letters (very

The METT is designed to "grow" for the more complex events by
expanding the number of weeks for each task: For example, the METT
shows planning and organization as first-week tasks. For a larger and more
extensive event, planning and organization will take two to four weeks to
complete and be approved by an agency's leadership committee(e.g., the
development and/or executive committee).

The worksheets, charts, tables, agendas, and other exhibits integrate
with the METT to give a complete plan, start to finish. To use the book
effectively, it is suggested that an agency integrate its own strategic overall
development plan with the METT. The additional lines on the form will
give an organization a complete picture of development activities (including
the special event) throughout the year; it will be possible to sort out
each segment (e.g., the major gift campaign) whenever a snapshot of that
activity is required.

A blank METT form is provided in the Special Resources appendix and
on the CD (RES A.DOC); information boxes indicate who is responsible,
with a check-off box. It will guide the development committee through
the event; completing the weekly tasks outlined in the METT will allow
for planning of the agency's unique event. The METT links the key elements,
tools, and chapters together. For example, week 1 in the METT
outlines what should be accomplished to get the event started (key elements:
planning and organization) and is described in detail in Chapter 1,
along with the worksheets and documents required to complete the tasks
for week 1.

Special event fundraising follows a careful time line, with a definite beginning
and an end. A chronology of tasks to be completed, as shown in Exhibit
1.1 (CH0101.DOC), is essential for success-not to mention peace
of mind. The METT can be designed for subsets of specific programs, such
as the community event committee process: Start with week 9 and detail
tasks, such as telephone follow-up before and after the meeting to make sure
the committee member letters are mailed, and so on, through week 26.

Each chapter details an entire phase of the overall planning process. If
this book has been purchased after the special event planning process has
started, check the METT to determine the specific weekly status and
begin at that point. Check progress by going back to week 1 to make sure
the tasks have been completed. Always double-check every task, and document

Make a copy of the METT and the completed worksheets and documents,
and keep them in a binder (or create a computer binder with a software
program) with numbered tabs corresponding to the week number.
(Doing so also enables the agency to file chronologically related documents:
letters, contracts, mailing lists, and press releases.)

The METT can be modified for a particular event. A week by week
explanation of the tasks will show the user how effective this tool can be
for producing a successful special event. After this explanation, Exhibit 1.2
(CH0102.DOC) illustrates the METT with an actual example taken
from Dinner a la Heart, described in the Introduction and shown in the
countdown mode, for example, beginning with week 33 and ending with
dinner day plus 1.

To Do This Week: The METT
in Action

Week 1: Brings together all of the elements that are required to begin the
strategic outline for a successful special event. Many of the elements have
been discussed with the board, professional staff, and lay leaders before this
formal beginning of the planning process. This is the week when the
METT is prepared.

Week 2: This is recruitment week. Everyone peruses the list of potential
leaders for the event and prepares a list of people that the event chairperson
can recruit for the event team. The computer programming is set up; a software
program is selected, or the agency uses existing database or spreadsheet
programs to design their own programs (see examples in Chapter 3).

Week 3: Recruitment begins. A date, time, and place is selected for the
initial meeting of the event chair and co-chairs. All recruited co-chairs are
asked for a list of names that can be used to invite those people to join the
event committee.

Week 4: Professional staff works with co-chair or committee member
who has been recruited to act as the marketing and public relations specialist
for the event; the marketing gurus assist in writing the press releases
and Save the Date notices (see Chapter 6, "Save That Date"). First draft of
invitation package is written.

Week 5: An agenda is prepared for the chair and co-chairs meeting.
Date, time, and place is set for the one-and-only community-wide event
10577_Wendroff_3p_01.r.qxd 8/27/03 10:08 AM Page 29
committee meeting. Staff begins discussions about other sources of revenue
with chair and co-chairs.

Week 6: Absolutely the last week to find a site for the event. If site has
been found and agreed upon, then negotiations with site catering manager
take place. If needed, apply for insurance and other permits. Mail the save-the-date

Week 7: Select printer and mailing house (if applicable); complete invitation
design. Work with volunteer coordinator and determine how many
volunteers are required and start to outline their duties (see Exhibits 4.5
and 4.6).

Week 8: Staff begins preparations for community event committee
meeting. Continue to recruit committee members.

Week 9: Mail community event committee invitation letters.

Week 10: Continue to gather names for the invitation list from committee
members and lay leadership.

Week 11: Start monitoring reservation returns, advertisements, and
donations received from community committee members.

Week 12: Continue week 11 activities.

Week 13: Continue week 11 and 12 activities.

Week 14: Community event committee's "one-and-only" meeting.

Week 15: Follow up with committee members regarding invitation list.

Week 16: Work with site manager on physical event layout, sound and
video, and decorations.

Week 17: Complete in-kind solicitations.

Week 18: Event invitation mailed. Continue to work with committee
members regarding reservations.

Week 19: Last week for committee members to mail personal invitation
letters to prospects.

Week 20: Prepare PDQ checklist.

Week 21: Deadline week for ad and camera ready copy.

Week 22: Begin final push for reservations.

Week 23: Continue work of weeks 21 and 22.

Week 24: Reconfirm arrangements for speakers and entertainment.

Week 25: Confirm all pending reservations and obtain names from table

Week 26: EVENT DAY

Week 27: Thank you and goodbye! Acknowledgments.

Master Event Timetable Applied to
Dinner a la Heart

The time line for Dinner a la Heart moves at a steady pace, with the planning
and goal-setting process beginning approximately 7.5 months before
event day. Thirty-three weeks of planning for a mostly volunteer-oriented
event is realistic. In Exhibit 1.1 the generic METT is shown as a 26-week
timetable; this example shows how flexible the METT can be, and that it
can be expanded or contracted with ease. Its weekly segments can also be
displayed in reverse, which is often referred to as the "countdown" mode
(as shown in the Dinner a la Heart example).


The METT is the basic guide through the special event forest. It prevents
the reader from experiencing the old cliche: You cannot see the trees
because of the forest!

The tasks listed in the generic METT can be added to and refined, to
meet the requirements of a nonprofit's particular special event. As
shown, the METT is flexible and can be outlined as a subset for each specific

Every hour spent detailing the special event tasks can save the nonprofit
professional or volunteer almost a day of frustration. Remember: Fundraising
is an art, not a science.


Excerpted from Special Events: Proven Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising
by Alan L. Wendroff
Copyright © 2003 by Alan L. Wendroff.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction: Special Event Fundraising - A Beginning 1
Ch. 1 The Master Event Timetable (METT) 23
Ch. 2 Choosing the Event 33
Ch. 3 Monetary Goals and Budgets 55
Ch. 4 Recruiting Volunteer Leadership for Your Event 83
Ch. 5 Networking in the Community 101
Ch. 6 On the Internet: Plan an Event Online Real Quick! 119
Ch. 7 Marketing 141
Ch. 8 Special Event Administration 155
Ch. 9 The Final Weeks to Event Day 179
Ch. 10 The Big Day: Why Success is in the Details 195
Ch. 11 Thank You and Goodbye! 203
Special Resources 217
Index 231
About the CD-ROM 239
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