Special Events: Proven Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising / Edition 2

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As the philosopher Martin Buber wrote, "All real living is meeting." People like to get together. That’s why special events can often work so much better for nonprofit organizations than other, less social types of fundraising programs. From red-carpet galas to Saturday afternoon street fairs, special events offer nonprofits an unparalleled opportunity to both raise money and make friends. Yet for all the benefits–and they are great–inexperience and bad planning can make these events more trouble–and a greater financial drain–than they are worth.

Special Events: Proven Strategies for Nonprofit Fundraising, Second Edition is the complete guide to making your next nonprofit event the rousing success it can be. Packed with author and development professional Alan Wendroff’s realistic insights and pointers, this text provides a logical and comprehensive outline of event planning, with a special emphasis on fitting these events into the larger framework of the nonprofit’s organizational goals. Inside you’ll find such helpful tools as:

Seven goals for a successful event

  • The Master Event Timetable (METT), a proven organizational tool that provides step-by-step guidance through the entire event process
  • A case study explaining in understandable detail how to implement the advice and methods outlined
  • An accompanying CD that includes sample timelines, worksheets, checklists, budgets, writing examples, decision tables, and contracts

From choosing the right event to the best way of expressing thanks afterwards, Special Events covers all aspects of producing a winning fundraiser for your organization. In addition to the brass tacks of managing logistics, the coverage includes thoughtful discussions on how to take full advantage of the networking, volunteer recruitment, public relations, and motivational opportunities your special event can provide. This updated Second Edition features new information in these areas, plus an entirely new chapter on using the Internet for event planning.

With the needs of nonprofit organizations only growing as donations shrink, special events become more and more vital in sustaining the life of these organizations. Nonprofit lay leaders, professionals, and staff, as well as marketing professionals and event planners who work with nonprofits, will all find in Special Events, Second Edition a clearly drawn road map leading to fund-raising success.

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"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

"Alan Wendroff significantly upgrades every development officer's library with 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 advise 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

"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

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471462354
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 10/22/2003
  • Edition description: Includes CD-Rom
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 1,451,758
  • 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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Table of Contents



Introduction: Special Event Fundraising—A Beginning.

A Few Definitions for Fundraising Special Events.

Seven Goals for a Successful Special Event.

Dinner à la Heart: A Creative Special Event.

Who Will Benefit from This Book?

How to Use This Book: An Overview.

METT Checklist.


Chapter 1: The Master Event Timetable (METT).

The Master Event Timetable (METT).

To Do This Week: The METT in Action.

Master Event Timetable Applied to Dinner à la Heart.

METT Checklist.


Chapter 2: Choosing the Event.

Do Not Pass Go—Should the Organization Have an Event?

Key Elements for Executing a Special Event.

Choosing a Special Event.

Five Models for a Special Event.

Emergency Drill.

METT Checklist.


Chapter 3: Monetary Goals and Budgets.


Key Elements to Consider When Putting Together the Special Event.

Budget Strategy.

Event Pricing.

Calculating Revenue Sources.

Estimating Attendance: Calculating Minimum Revenue.

What Items Make Up Gross Revenue?

Packaging of Premium Tables and Advertisements.

Underwriters and Sponsors.

In-Kind Donations.

Revenue Considerations for Events in Smaller Communities.

Mastering Revenue and Expense Items.

Putting It All Together.

Computer Spreadsheets and Databases: Keeping the Event and the Budget on Track.


METT Checklist.

Chapter 4: Recruiting Volunteer Leadership for Your Event.

First Enlist the Stakeholders.

Agency Governing Board.

Agency Development Committee.

Reverse Networking.

The Event Chair and Agency Professional.

Co-Chair Responsibilities.

Who’s on First?

The Community-Wide Event Committee.

Honorary Chairpersons.

Volunteers and Communication.

A Case Statement for Special Events.

METT Checklist.


Chapter 5: Networking in the Community.

The Community-Wide Event Committee—The Marketing Team.

Committee Information Kit and the Agenda for the Committee Meeting.

Underwriting the Event: Corporate Sponsorship.

List Management.

METT Checklist.


Chapter 6: On the Internet: Plan an Event Online Real Quick!

Building the Structure.

First Decisions.

An Input Screen.

First Recruitments.

Required Documents.

The Marketing Process.

Save That Date.

Potential Enhancements.

A Very Clever Invitation.

In Internet Reminder.

An Actual Strategic Plan.

METT Checklist.


Chapter 7: Marketing.

Definition and Introduction to Special Event Marketing.

Identifying the Market.

Segmenting, Targeting, and Positioning.

Key Marketing Words and Actions.

A Special Event Marketing Plan.

A Special Event Marketing Plan—Example.

Riding the Internet Wave.

Getting Your Message to the Media.

METT Checklist.


Chapter 8: Special Event Administration.


The First Concerns: Location, Food, and Service.

Important People.

Negotiating Points in Contracts.

Event Staffing Requirements.

Don’t Be Stingy with Servers.

Designing the Site: Where to Place the Tables and Podiums.

Postal Matters.


Printing and Printers.

Additional Considerations: Decorations, Additional Administrative Concerns.

Financial Matters.


METT Checklist.

Chapter 9: The Final Weeks to Event Day.

Master Event Timetable Introduction,

Motivational Techniques for Event Committee Members.

The Hot-Prospect Scenario.

More Motivational Techniques for Event Committee Members,

Seating Guests,

Reception and Check-In Desk.


Setting the Pace for the Event.

The PDQ Checklist.


METT Checklist.

Chapter 10: The Big Day: Why Success Is in the Details.


The Final Countdown.

Event Day—Time Line.


METT Checklist.

Chapter 11: Thank You and Goodbye!


Always Say Thank You.

How to Say Thank You.



METT Checklist.


Special Resources.


Computer Software.

Professional Organizations for Nonprofit Agencies.

Reference Bibliography.


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