Let's see. Shall we plan a cocktail party, gala dinner, raffle, treasure hunt, street fair, film screening, house party? Awards dinner, concert, food drive, conference, sporting event? Casino night, workshop, lecture, house tour? The possibilities are intimidating, and the complicated preparations for managing a special event often seem overwhelming. But there is help: The Special Events Toolbox: A Nuts-and-Bolts Guide to Planning and Implementing Successful Special Events Campaigns for Nonprofit Organizations has arrived just in time.
Appropriately, the book begins by recommending an assessment of the organization's ability to engage in this type of fundraising endeavor. However, this particular issue is covered in more detail in other books (see Related Reading, below); Goldstein assumes the reader has already decided to produce a special event of some kind. The chapter on evaluating objectives is also brief. The book really comes to life in the following chapters that hone in on the process of selecting a specific event (more than 60 types are enumerated), preparing a campaign budget, fundraising, involving volunteers, devising program components, promoting the event, and coordinating logistical and on-site needs. Within each section, a case study is given, as are numerous worksheets, sample documents, schedules, checklists, solicitation scripts, and various other forms that can be copied and adjusted to an organization's specific requirements. This is the toolbox component of the book, and it is the most comprehensive and detailed treatment I've seen.
The book concludes with a chapter on evaluation of the event. This is an essential aspect of the endeavor, as special events are not always particularly successful in raising money, but may be excellent vehicles for enhancing visibility, attracting new volunteers, improving staff morale, or engendering sponsorships.
There is no dearth of published material about events management. For those organizations that have determined that special events are worth the perseverance and effort that they entail, the Special Events Toolbox is a wise investment for its wide-ranging and meticulous coverage, distilled from many years of experience in working with large and small nonprofits.
Cause Effective was established in 1981 as a technical assistance organization with the mission to help nonprofits plan and implement special events, train and develop their boards, manage individual donors, enlist and manage volunteers, and promote and market their organizations. Lauren Goldstein is the former Executive Director.
For citations to additional materials on this topic refer to the , using the subject heading "Fundraising-special events."