Authentic messaging, we’ve heard it for years, but what does it mean?
“You’re true to your own personality, values, and spirit, regardless of the pressure that you’re under to act otherwise.”Mind Tools
This is truly an interesting concept as it applies to events, particularly fundraising events!
If your event purpose is to raise funds, there are a few boundaries that are proven to create success at events. So let’s talk about how to choose authenticity over expectation in the 3 largest components of your event.
Your program is the greatest opportunity to express an authentic message that captivates an audience. It’s well-proven that a seated audience will provide a more captivated audience. Many want to break out of having guests at tables, but this is an important time and a seated audience will engage! So once you have your audience’s attention, speak your truth. Perhaps this is through an expert, a client, or maybe it’s a passionate person from the team. There is no timeline to authenticity – say what you need to say, nothing more, nothing less. Your audience will appreciate your concise message that inspires them, and allows them to continue engaging with your event!
Everyone is interested in the newest, hippest venue, but are you asking the questions about what venue aligns with your brand? For example, if your organization has an expressed value for sustainability, make sure you understand the venue’s efforts on sustainability. Then take this to another level by promoting that alignment with your values and the impact it has on your organization. Other factors that you may consider to better align your organization’s values: Is there a gender neutral restroom? Is the venue accessible via public transportation? Is diversity shown throughout its staff?
This is actually the first decision to be made: what kind of event is authentic to your organization? Here are some ideas
- Formal Gala – engages the traditional donor
- Golf Tournament – great for sponsor engagement and networking
- Breakfast & Lunch Event – engages the business professional in a workday setting
- Also great for a table host strategy and engaging new donors!
- Happy Hour/Social – an approachable event for young professionals and ambassadors
- Get creative! Maybe your brand is about getting active and having fun. Perhaps a fundraising concert, bean-bag tournament, or a 5k race feels more appropriate.
No matter what event type you select, consider each element of the event and how it aligns with your mission and message.
As you craft your event, make sure that you don’t just expect the audience to notice the small details you considered while planning the event. Find ways through printing and messaging to showcase your brand and the ways that the event reflects your mission to further your cause. Have fun and your audience will have fun. Bring the energy and your audience will reflect it. Strive to connect and you will leave with a room full of engaged donors asking “What’s next?”
Overall, when striving for authenticity, don’t overthink it. Be true to who you are on an everyday occasion and that will shine throughout your event. The new generation of donors is looking for new fundraising approaches. They want transparency and they want to learn about heart of the mission. You’ve got this.