What I’ve Learned as an Intern for Do Good Events

My name is Cheyanne Thurston and I am freshman at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. I am studying Strategic Communications and Fashion Studies and I have had the lovely opportunity to be Do Good Events’ spring intern. Throughout my semester interning for Do Good Events I’ve learned many things personally, professionally, and about the company as a whole. This internship really allowed me to learn about this career hands-on, and that’s something I can’t get in a classroom. I’ve learned more about myself and have had more opportunities in one semester with Do Good Events than I could have ever imagined.

The first thing I’ve learned is what an AMAZING company Do Good Events is. I swear, this isn’t even a plug because I’m technically employed by them, I honestly just love them. Ask me on the street and I’ll say the same thing, maybe even better. They are the most knowledgeable and professional workers I’ve ever encountered. They have flawlessly executed every event I’ve been a part of, and I’ve never questioned whether or not what they wanted me to do had purpose. Whenever I asked questions, and trust me there were a lot of them, they didn’t fail to answer me quickly with a clear, sensible response. They just know their stuff! They’re also all about that Insta-worthy moment, and have the cutest social media ever.
Secondly, I’ve learned so much about the business and working as an event planner. I got to play around with how my personal strengths and weakness can complement this dream job of mine. I learned all about bidding programs, silent auctions, and event promotion. I had the opportunity to become comfortable with these aspects of the job that I wouldn’t have had I not been an intern. It’s the small details that make up this business and I’ve loved learning them all.
Professionally, this has been one of the best things I could have done for my career plans. I’ve truly gotten to see the ins and outs of this business and I couldn’t be more thankful for that opportunity. They’ve trusted me with things, big and little, and each task is as big of a learning moment as the next. Do Good Events wanted me to learn and let me be a part of as many opportunities as they could.
To sum it all up, my time with Do Good Events has been amazing. From working with their great crew to soaking up all the experience I could, I wouldn’t trade this semester for anything! I would 100% recommend this company for an internship or to plan your event, whatever the case—they really won’t let you down.
Highlight real

Pinot’s Palette’s One Year Anniversary Event – I had the privilege of co-leading this event. Knowing that they trusted me to represent Do Good Events gave me the little bit of confidence I needed to execute the event successfully. After the first three minutes I was totally in the zone and had that “ah-ha” moment, that this is truly where I want to be and what I want to be doing.

FINNEGANS Chef Food Fight Live Event – This was such a cool event. One of my favorite parts of this event was that I did a lot of the signage for it. Not that signage is a huge deal, but as a little intern it was really cool to see how the things I did play a role in an event.

All FEI Events – FEI, Financial Executives International, was my very first event and such a fun one. I got to go to a handful of FEI functions and every time was better than the last.

Top 3 Post-Event Musts

After the flurry of the big event, it’s natural to want to put up your feet and clear your brain immediately. Putting on a successful event is hard work! All of the details that go into planning and executing are sometimes enough to overwhelm even the most organized planners, hence why event planning is consistently ranked among the Top 5 Most Stressful Jobs. Give yourself some credit – you deserve it!

But before you treat yourself to some time off, if nothing else, make sure you take care of these 3 post-event necessities.

While the event is fresh in your mind, document everything! In this recap, you’ll want to make sure to record the following:
Basic Logistics (Number of registrants, number of attendees, dollars spent/earned, etc.)
What Went Well
Lessons Learned
Action Items
Create this document as soon as possible, even if you don’t intend to meet with your team to discuss the event for a few days or a week. Your recap will be more helpful and effective, if you do so. Also, share the document with your key players right away. Our preferred method is a shared document, such as Google Docs, so that each key player can see and contribute to the notes in real time. This accessibility will encourage them to add to the recap notes, as well. More thoughts shared = a fuller recount.

It’s easy to make a list. It’s a little trickier to assign the tasks. Most challenging of all is to actually act on what needs to be completed post-event, especially when you’re exhausted already. You’ll feel so much better knowing that all your T’s were crossed and I’s were dotted; get it done! Your action items might include everything from sending a post-event survey to following up with vendors on payment, and much more! This list of to-do’s is a blog of ours in itself. Check it out if you want to make sure your checklist is covered.

As you probably know, one thing that we love here at Do Good Events is showing heartfelt gratitude by means of snail mail. Putting on an extraordinary event takes a village; remember to thank the people that helped you make it happen. What we’ve learned is that a handwritten card dropped in the mail is more meaningful and appreciated than a quick email or phone call. Go ahead…brighten someone’s day! You’ll be building important relationships and setting your future events up for success by thanking those that deserve recognition.

Your post-event reflection time is when you can take an honest look at what your event planning and execution was like for you and your team. If you’re realizing that you might benefit from a little extra help, let’s talk about how you can partner with Do Good Events to take your future events to the next level!

6 Trends of Millennials that Impact Events

The biggest factor of any event are the attendees, without them the event wouldn’t exist! They affect the style, timing, food, feel and even goal of the event.

One demographic of attendees that is starting to change the landscape of events are the millennials. According to The Millennial Impact Report, millennials are contributing $300 billion of annual spending and by the year 2020, they will make up 50% of the work force. Finding ways to successfully engage the millennial generation is imperative in our world today. Within the conducted five year research, The Millennial Impact study found six recurring trends among millennials that shed light on the how and why they get involved with an organization:

  • Millennials give modestly to multiple causes in early engagement.
  • Millennials learn about and donate to causes digitally, using each platform distinctly.
  • Peers are a critical influence on millennial giving.
  • Millennials want to use and develop their skills through giving.
  • Among millennials, women give more money than men, larger donations correlate with
    higher total volunteer hours.
  • Millennials get involved based on intrinsic motivation.

So how does that affect events? Here are some trends that we are seeing in the event industry and suggestions for raising more funds by attracting millennials to your event:

Keeping ticket prices down. Millennials are not seeking out opportunities to spend $250 for a gala ticket, but would probably be interested in a Thursday night happy hour social to support a new cause for a modest price point of $30. By moving your event’s time and day around: weekday vs. weekend or lunch vs. evening event, you can cut out unnecessary upcharges on rentals and food.

Promoting the event through multiple social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Google+. Facebook is still the number one platform for millennials, so be sure to engage them by creating an event on Facebook that links to a way to purchase tickets. But don’t stop there, promote early and often using the other platforms to expand your audience.

Leveraging team captains. The Benevon model is a very trendy way to host events. A signature Benevon event is an hour long event that is free to attend. They leverage table ambassadors to fill their own table with their peers with the hopes after hearing the mission they will be compelled to give.

Young Professional Board run events are seeing big returns. Millennials are interested in gaining work experience and participating on a young professionals board is a great way to do that. Engaging the group to fundraise by planning an event often creates new connections to corporate sponsors as well as talented upcoming vendors. And what better way to have a millennial turnout than by having millennials plan it!

Boys just want to have fun, too! Millennial females currently are more engaged and likely to donate compared to their male counterparts, so that means there is growth potential to attract males to your event. Beer and “activity” events, like Whirlyball, Frisbee Golf, and Bags tournaments are all great examples of events that see a more balanced gender turnout.

Celebrate individuals and special communities! Millennials love recognition, so why not give it to them! Recognize or honor individuals who are dedicated to nonprofit or business by posting about them on social media and at events. It will make them feel good and it will encourage their network to be engaged. Come up with a catchy name for the community so members feel connected and special, too.

We love watching events evolve and adapt to the changes in our connected world. If you’re looking for insights and ideas, we would be happy to help!

Authentic Connections: 4 Tips to Elevate Your Interactions

Bringing people together, whether for work or play, has many benefits. Closest to our hearts is the ability to have authentic and meaningful opportunities to connect, share and build relationships. You could be attending a business seminar, supporting your favorite charity at their annual gala, celebrating love at a winter wedding or joining friends and family for some good ole’ togetherness. Whatever your gathering, make the most of it by utilizing these 4 tips for maximizing your relationships.

Make friends, not “contacts” We often forget: the best way to make a friend is to begin a conversation with a meaningful greeting. Use that person’s name and remember it. Take time to talk about the small things; it makes a difference. Treat every person you meet with the level of kindness and sincerity that you would want to receive yourself.  Relationships are so much more valuable if they are developed through genuine, human-to-human interactions. Place emphasis on quality over quantity; you won’t be disappointed.

Ask more questions You will undoubtedly become more engaged in conversation if you are asking questions. You will be forced to step outside yourself and pay closer attention. This might mean asking clarifying questions, looking for advice or diving into specifics on a certain topic of conversation. More thoughtful questions will result in more insightful responses. The conversation will reach a new level of interest and in the end, you’re much more likely to feel that it was time well spent.

Be Honest Challenge yourself to grow your self-awareness and give the most genuine version of yourself. Emotionally intelligent people will instantly recognize if the interaction feels forced and you will be perceived as less authentic. You can build more meaningful connections by offering a level of transparency about how you’re feeling that day or what life has been like recently. Be the breath of fresh air in a world where we’re expected to give cliché responses!  

Be Courteous In today’s world, we tend lose sight of human connection. We all know that it’s easier to check your phone than to initiate a new conversation at a party. To make your relationships stronger and more meaningful, we challenge you to reintegrate human connection and step away from technology. Spend time connecting without help from your phone and if you really want to make a lasting impression, believe in the power of snail mail. That’s right, we love hand-written follow-up cards. Show kindness and it’s sure to be returned to you.

As industry experts, we can tell you that the biggest way to optimize your time with coworkers, friends and family at any event is to not have to worry about the event details. Without the stress of event logistics, you’ll be much more relaxed and able to connect.  If you’re needing help with the planning, prepping or execution of an event, we can help! Contact Do Good Events today for a free consultation. What do you have to lose?!

7 Rules for Sharing Inspiring Stories at Nonprofit Fundraising Events

Guest Blog Post from Lori L. Jacobwith, Founder, Ignited Fundraising

Storytelling and events go together like peanut butter & jelly. They are simply better together.

When you put a face on your impact you make it possible for event attendees to feel more connected to you and your work.

And then they give more.

No matter what kind of event you have, you ALWAYS want to find a way to incorporate examples of how someone’s life is different because YOU exist.

Your stories don’t have to be very long. In fact, I call them “mission moments.”

I define a mission moment as any short, inspirational, example of how your organization is making an impact.

A Mission moment can be:

  • A board member telling how they felt to participate at your recent fundraising event
  • A staff person talking about the vet who was turned away that day last week because your program is maxed out
  • A volunteer saying thank you for allowing them to “work” with your organization
  • A donor sharing how they feel when they give or WHY they give

Mission moments are that special few seconds during your event when people pause and notice, really notice, how important your work really is.
Here are my 7 rules for sharing inspiring stories you share at your fundraising event:

  1. The best stories are about real people who need your help.
    [To pass a law, clean a river, train a service dog, mentor a child, feed or house someone, you get it.]
  2. Make sure the person in your story has a first name, age and describe how they felt when they came to you.
  3. Minds wander, get real quickly. In about 4 – 10 seconds your listeners tune out if you haven’t grabbed them. Don’t tell me you are going to tell me a story about someone…just tell it. Starting with the person’s name. age and a few descriptive words. So, Keep your story short. 6 words to 2 minutes.
  4. Use emotionally connecting words to describe the person and the conflict they are dealing with. The conflict is the oxygen in your story. Be descriptive.
  5. Make sure your story to causes listeners or readers to feel something. Anger, sad, happy, proud – it doesn’t matter what the emotion is.
  6. Your story should have a moment when people see themselves or someone in their own lives. Could be their aging parents, the person who changed their oil on their car or their own child or?
  7. The best stories are told by the person themselves. Clients telling their own stories are the most moving way to share how your organization makes a difference.

My best coaching advice: Take time to work with your speakers, your video and your print materials to create inspiring mission moments so you exceed your goals.

Want Lori’s free e-book Checklists for Successful Storytelling? Click here

Guest Author:

Lori L. Jacobwith

Named one of America’s Top 25 Fundraising Experts, Lori L. Jacobwith is a nationally-recognized master storyteller and fundraising culture change expert with more than 30 years’ experience helping nonprofit organizations raise nearly $300 million dollars from individual donors. And counting.

In addition to Fire Starters her must-read weekly blog, Lori is also author of Nine Steps to a Successful Fundraising Campaign and co-author of The Essential Fundraising Handbook for Small Nonprofits. She also created the Complete Storytelling System to help catapult nonprofits to unbelievable levels of fundraising effectiveness.

A longtime member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Lori holds a BA from the University of Minnesota and additional training from Indiana University’s Fund Raising School. In addition to her passion for fundraising, Lori has attended her native Minnesota State Fair—a favorite summer activity—for more than 50 consecutive years.

Top 3 Event Trends for 2017

With 2017 kicking off, we find ourselves anticipating what’s to come in the year ahead. As event experts  we’ve noticed some changes in preferences within the industry and we’re here to give the insider scoop on 2017 event trends. Elevate your next event by keeping up with the times! Here are three things to keep in mind as you’re planning your 2017 event:

Give the full experience: Mindfulness is not just for yogis anymore. Our world is putting a greater emphasis on being present and experiencing the moment. Incorporating experiential moments into your event will change the attendee’s involvement and overall perception in a big way. What does this look like? Guests are wanting to touch, taste, see and feel. Innovative, touchable tech is a great place to start, should your budget allow. Adding delicious food and beverage tastings to spice up your event makes everyone happy. Get creative with your visuals. Look for as many ways as you can to incorporate unique experiences! Feeling stuck on how to make your event more experiential? We can help!

Let them mingle: The concept of providing “Brain Breaks” is not a new one. If you’re dabbling in the world of entertaining an audience, you probably already know that an adult can only focus on a topic for 7-10 minutes before losing interest, even if the topic is of interest to them. When planning an event, you should always work in breaks and leisure activities to give guests not only a mental pause but also a chance to interact with each other in more relaxed environments where they can recharge. It’s a natural opportunity to network. Last year, one client added a page in the middle of their program for coloring and provided logo’d colored pencils as a giveaway to all attendees! Ask us for other great ideas to provide your guests a mental break  – we’ve got you covered.

“Niche” is the new black: Events focused on smaller “niche” audiences allow for focus to be on select attendees, limiting session and audience size. We’ve seen a huge rise in popularity of these micro-focused events, such as the Benevon Model. These events don’t waste time. They’re straightforward, usually in a more intimate setting and typically take about half the amount of time as a standard breakfast or luncheon. Don’t be afraid to focus your scope and streamline your event by utilizing this model. We’re well-versed in benevon style events and would be happy to offer our expertise!

Keeping up with industry trends is important in order to deliver the best possible experience  for your guests. As always, there are many things to consider, but this short list will help you prepare for 2017 events in style. And remember, we’re always here to help!

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