Harness the memorability of events to share your organization's mission with the public.

 

Events offer one of the most powerful, memorable ways to connect with and engage the community around an organizational mission or cause. Here are five reasons why. 

Shared Experience

When communities come together, they enter into a world of shared memories and relationships and begin weaving a common story that previously did not exist.

This shared experience creates a bookmark in ones memory and binds people together around matters of importance. The desire to make the world—or at least a small part of it—a better place, takes on new meaning.

Context for the Cause

Events provide a singularly brilliant opportunity to provide context for a cause through personal story telling. According to a Forbes article, facts delivered through storytelling can be 22-times more memorable.

For example, at this year’s Positioned to Prosper event, SocialVentures of Columbus shared the details of the uncommon growth of social enterprise in mid Ohio by helping people understand success in terms of outcomes like jobs, life transformation, economic impact and potential for entrepreneurial growth. In this way, the mission of the organization was given relatable context.

Purpose Over Profit

Events inherently offer multiple revenue streams and other growth opportunities for mission-driven organizations. To see themselves as stakeholders, people must understand and believe in the mission and trust the organization to be a good steward of its resources.

Events provide the opportunity to convey organizational purpose in an emotionally connective way, making “the ask” a comfortable, and in many cases, welcome part of the experience.

Columbus-based Design Outreach set a fundraising goal that was presented during this year’s Give Water Gala as volunteers, employees and missionaries shared personal stories about their work in African and Haitian communities. They outlined how the funds would be used to transform villages, and shared real “water is life” stories.

To help convey the urgency of the need, attendees were invited to carry full water jugs—weighing about 40 pounds each—while trying to comprehend how this might be the job of a four-year old child in a water-insecure village.

Design Outreach exceeded its fundraising goal, and won a lot of hearts and minds along the way. By focusing on purpose, the desire to help becomes contagious, raising both awareness and critical funds for the cause.

Memorable and Measurable

With any investment, the ability to measure success is vital. Events provide measurement touch points, and each can become part of event formation by bench-marking and outlining preferred outcomes in advance.

About 70 percent of nonprofits are said to measure return on investment through PR and social media engagement metrics, with donations down the list at 47 percent. Why? Events lead to growth and success that’s accomplished many ways and measured over time.

Beyond raising funds, the organization may also set goals for acquiring volunteers, newsletter subscribers, social influencers, sponsors or future event attendees. Post-event survey participation may also be on the list.

News releases, as well as email, social media and direct mail campaigns can be great tactics to promote events, especially when used in tandem, and each offer unique ways to measure success across a variety of metrics.

By mapping desired outcomes first, measuring success becomes achievable and helps inform future strategies and tactics.  

Collaborative and Creative

Events bring the community together in a shared celebration that is collaborative, creative and fun. 

Collaboration is the key to social problem solving, and collaborative events with local partners offer a special opportunity for co-branding, team thinking and promotional dynamite.

With a solid leadership roster, a shared vision and a list of thoughtfully delegated action items, collaboration can lead to greater success and future opportunities to leverage relationships for common good.

For these reasons and many more, events can be a great way to quantum leap awareness, community engagement, relationship building, media traction and funding to maximize positive impact.

Tracy L. Teuscher is an Accredited public relations consultant and owner of The Buzz Maker Public Relations, an award-winning public relations and creative firm.