7 Tips to organize a standout NPO event

7 Tips to organize a standout NPO event

Do you want to organize an event for your NPO soon? Whether it's to fund a project, share your ideas with a broader audience, or simply strengthen the bonds between members, organizing an event is an excellent idea. We have compiled our best tips to help you organize your event.

 

1. Four fundamental questions to ask when organizing your event

To maximize the success of your association event, we highly recommend starting by asking yourself these four questions to define a clear framework and objective:

  1. Why do you want to organize this event?

  2. Who is your target audience?

  3. What resources do you have available?

  4. Where and when will your event take place?

The answers to these questions will guide you throughout the entire event planning process.

 

2. Innovate in your event format to stand out: some ideas

Once you have clearly identified your needs, you can think about the best format and content for your NPO event. You can organize an event whose format and content are perfectly aligned with the nature of your NPO:

  • A sports club can organize a tournament.

  • A theater club can stage a play.

  • A professional NPO can offer a training seminar.

However, it is also possible to plan events that are not directly related to the main focus of the NPO. For instance, a sports NPO’s might organize a raffle.

To keep your community engaged and excited to participate in your events, don't hesitate to innovate in the format, content, and program of your event. Here are some ideas:

  • Go-kart racing.

  • Virtual reality video game events.

  • Music concerts with a zero-waste refreshment stand.

  • Picnics with jugglers and fire breathers.

  • Wine tasting activities.

  • Conferences with renowned speakers and prizes to be won.

These are just a few out-of-the-box ideas that can help you stand out. Remember to consider the framework you have previously defined: your target audience, available resources, event budget, human resources, etc.

 

3. Creating the backward planning for your NPO event

We can't stress this enough: anticipation is key!

Invitations, decorations, catering, photographer, signage, parking, hostesses, badges, presentation materials, regulatory constraints, ticketing… The logistics of an event cannot be improvised.

We strongly recommend defining a backward planning schedule to ensure you don't forget anything. To do this, you can use tools like Excel, Gantt, Asana, Monday, Jira, Zoho Projects, and Wrike.

Here are the major steps you can integrate into your backward planning. This applies to any type of NPO event, whether it's a festival, raffle, fair, or member congress:

  • Set the framework, objective, and target audience for your event

  • These are the famous 4 fundamental questions seen earlier :)

  • Clarify the goals of the event: fundraising, awareness-raising, training, networking, etc.

  • Identify the target audience.

  • Choose a date that suits your target audience and key participants.

  • Reserve the event venue.

  • Budget development

  • Estimate costs (venue rental, equipment, food, marketing, etc.).

  • Plan funding sources (sponsors, ticket sales, grants).

  • Activity and program planning

  • Define the event schedule and planned activities.

  • Organize presentations, performances, booths, workshops, or conferences.

  • Logistics and equipment

  • List necessary equipment (sound system, lighting, seating, booths, etc.).

  • Plan logistics (transportation, signage, security).

  • Communication and promotion

  • Develop a communication plan (posters, social media, press, etc.).

  • Create communication materials (invitations, flyers, website).

  • Registration and participant management

  • Set up a registration system.

  • Send confirmations and reminders to participants.

  • Coordination of volunteers and staff

  • Recruit and train volunteers and staff

  • Define roles and responsibilities.

  • Preparation of presenters and activities

  • Coordinate with presenters, artists, trainers, or facilitators.

  • Plan rehearsals or preparation meetings.

  • Event day management

  • Implement a detailed schedule for the day of the event.

  • Ensure all staff and volunteers know their tasks.

  • Post-Event Evaluation

  • Collect feedback from participants.

  • Analyze the positives and areas for improvement.

 

4. Adhering to regulatory constraints in event planning

The law is quite strict when it comes to organizing NPO events. The event organizer is responsible for any violations of legal or regulatory provisions. Therefore, it is essential to complete the necessary declarations and obtain the required authorizations in advance:

  • Planning to play music? You need to follow procedures with SOCAN (Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada).

  • Organizing a sale or a raffle? The prize must consist of tangible goods, and the NPO must request authorization from the local authorities. In major cities like Toronto, the request might need to be directed to specific municipal authorities.

  • Want to set up a beverage stand? You must apply for a temporary liquor license.

  • Is your event taking place on public property? You will need to submit a prior declaration to the appropriate authority.

Additionally, don't forget to subscribe to comprehensive insurance policies to cover any unforeseen circumstances (floods, cancellations, etc.). For more information on the applicable legal provisions, you can refer to local municipal codes and guidelines specific to your region.

Note: If your association event gathers more than 1,500 people, a security service may be required.

 

5. Communicate before, during, and after your event

Effective communication is crucial at every stage to ensure the success of your NPO event.

Before the Event: Successful Invitations and Promotion

To attract as many participants as possible, efficient invitations and promotion are key:

  • Communicate at optimal times when your audience is most receptive, and at regular intervals.

  • Use easy-to-understand and shareable invitation messages.

  • Highlight and share the event program to generate interest, but keep some elements a surprise to maintain excitement!

  • Share behind-the-scenes and preparation content. This communication format is increasingly popular and helps participants connect with your team.

  • Additionally, keep your guests informed about the remaining available spots. This might encourage them to hurry and secure their spot for your unique event.

Whether through emails, social media, flyers, or posters, ensure all essential information is included: date, time, location, program, and registration details. Adding a personal touch can help engage your audience.

During the event: create and share live content

Communication during the event is equally important. You can post stories on Instagram and Facebook to show the real-time atmosphere. Go live to capture key moments and allow those who cannot attend to follow the event. Take plenty of great photos and videos that you can reuse for promoting your next edition.

Interview participants to gather their impressions and share these testimonials live. This showcases the authenticity and excitement around your event. Also, share surprises and special moments to highlight the event and make those who didn't attend want to join next time.

After the event: thank and share the results

Once the event is over, remember to thank all participants, volunteers, and sponsors for their support. You can share a recap of the highlights and results of the event on your social media and website.

Thanking those who attended your NPO event is important. Here’s an example of a thank-you message for participants, which you can adapt based on the context and your preferences:

Sample messages for your NPO event

Modèle d’invitation à un évènement associatif

Subject (if it's an email): Your Invitation to [Event Name]

Dear [Recipient],

We are pleased to invite you to our event, [Event Name], which will be held on [Date] at [Location]. Join us for an exceptional time and discover [Event Objective or Theme].

On the agenda:

  • [Main Activity or Special Speaker]

  • [Other Interesting Activity]

Reserve your spot now to not miss out on this day filled with [Type of Planned Activities] and surprises!

Click here to register: [Ticketing Link]

We look forward to seeing you and sharing this moment with you. Feel free to share this invitation with friends and family who might be interested!

See you soon,

The [Association Name] Team

Thank-You Template for an NPO Event

Subject (if it's an email): A Big Thank You for Attending [Event Name]

Dear [Recipient],

A huge thank you for your presence and support at [Event Name] held on [Date]. Thanks to you, this event was a great success!

Some key highlights:

  • [Important Result 1]

  • [Important Result 2]

  • [Important Result 3]

We are excited to announce that our next event will be on [Date of Next Event]. Click here to register: [Ticketing Link]

Thank you again for your participation!

Best regards,

[Event Organizing Team]

[Association Name]

 

6. Evaluating your NPO event

Once your association event is over, it’s time to conduct a post-event evaluation. It can be easy to overlook this step, especially when you’re exhausted and eager to wrap things up, but it's crucial for several reasons:

  • Summarize Information: Keep a record of the event to review the final results compared to the initial objectives.

  • Identify Strengths and Areas for Improvement: Determine what worked well and what can be improved for future events, helping to shape your strategy.

  • Facilitate Communication: Share the results with stakeholders and keep everyone informed.

By thoroughly evaluating your event, you can ensure continued success and improvement for future endeavors.

 

7. Equip yourself with an event management tool suited for NPOs

To organize your event under the best conditions, equipping yourself with an effective management tool is essential.
Yapla offers a comprehensive event and online ticketing management tool:

  • A Pleasant Online Reservation Space: Customized forms and pricing for your participants.
  • Communication Tools: Create personalized invitations that are easy to share.
  • Easy-to-Share Ticketing: Create online tickets for your event with Yapla.
  • Real-Time Ticket Sales Tracking: Monitor your event ticket sales in real-time.
  • Yapla Companion Mobile App: Scan participants’ tickets at the entrance in less than 2 seconds.
  • Discount Codes and Differential Pricing: Offer different prices, including special rates for association members.
  • Easy Management of Unexpected Issues: Handle cancellations, refunds, and more with ease.

 

You are now ready to start organizing an event for your NPO.
Anticipation is the key to success! By clearly defining your objectives, innovating in format and content, and equipping yourself with all-in-one tools like Yapla, you will maximize the efficiency and impact of your event.
Don't forget to comply with legal requirements and thank all participants for their support.
We wish you great success with your event!

 

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Camilo, Marketing Manager

 

Camilo Rivadeneira


 

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