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11 Things Board Members Can Do to Be an Event Superhero

How can board members be an event superhero? Regardless if the event is in-person or virtual here are 11 things they can do to ensure your next nonprofit event is a success:

1. Invite major donors and VIPs over the phone. Ensure your nonprofit ‘s biggest supporters know their presence would be missed at the upcoming event. Pick up the phone and extend a personalized invitation. Learn a little something about the donor. For example, if you’re holding an auction ask them what they would most likely bid on: (“We’re interested in offering some travel packages in our auction this year. What places or experiences are on your bucket list?”)

2. Invest in success. We have all heard the adage that “It takes money to make money.” When planning a gala or event you must make an investment. Do you need a better venue, should you hire an auctioneer, or offer a big-ticket auction item? You must make an investment. Take the risk. Those who spend big money expect a grand time and will pay accordingly.

3. Contribute (and follow through) with donations. 100% of board members should be giving financially to the organization. Not only should they give financially, for events each board member should secure or donated auction items. Does your board member own a beach vacation home that they are willing to donate to the auction or do they have travel miles they are willing to donate? If not, are they willing to underwrite the cost of a trip? Superhero board members follow through on their pledges quickly and enthusiastically, and if they commit to an in-kind donation, they provide as much information as possible. Items that aren’t as described or go unfulfilled leave a negative impression on winning bidders.

4. Fill a table at the gala. To be a board superhero a board member should have their company sponsor a table and then invite a dozen of their contacts to the event and get one of the tables filled early. They should not just invite random people. The filling of the table should be strategic. It should be people the board member reaches out directly to. People whom they know will spend money on the auction and/or potential donors who have the capacity to give to the organization. Having an entire table’s support takes considerable pressure off the event chair and boosts morale.

5. Contact local media on your behalf. Board members are respected business leaders, politicians, administrators, and philanthropists and have a unique voice and significant clout in the community.As such board members can write letters to the editor, submit press releases or appear with the Executive Director for a TV or radio program. Superhero board members use their clout to shine a spotlight on your mission.

6. Post about your event on social media. Board members can post about the nonprofit event on all their social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. A social post is a great way to engage different networks without making a direct ask. Board members can not only share a post about the event, but they can position themselves as ambassadors for the organization — I’m on the board with that nonprofit, and they have an incredible night planned…”

7. Write an article for your newsletter, annual report, or blog. Board members can contribute to an upcoming email newsletter, publication, or blog post marketing the event. This will offer a different perspective to the readers. They could describe how the funds raised in last year’s auction were used to increase services or provide tutoring to kids. You can also, have a board member interview a nonprofit client, someone who’s benefited from the programs, or facilitate a podcast or Facebook Live with someone in leadership.

8. Be punctual. Superhero board members show up on time and participate. Not only do they show up for the event they also arrive at meetings on time and respond to messages and phone calls within 24 hours.

9. Propose new ideas & pitch in to make them happen. Superhero board members do not overwhelm staff members. They keep in mind that staff have a lot on their plates with already established events. So, if board members think of a new idea that could benefit the nonprofit, they present those ideas, then pitch in to make those ideas a reality.

10. Ask tough questions and offer constructive criticism. Superhero board members speak up and point out concerns. They openly discuss major aspects of the event. Do we have the venue? Keynote speaker? Auction items? If the answer to these questions are no, Superhero board members help in the brainstorming of a practical solution.

11. Call donors to thank them after the event. A personalized, timely, and sincere gesture of thanks goes a long way for donor retention. Show supporters, they are genuinely appreciated by having a board member reach out with gratitude. In one study by Penelope Burk, donors that received a thank-you call from a board member within 24 hours of their gift gave 39 percent more than donors that didn’t receive a call, the next time they were solicited. Fourteen months later, those donors were giving 42 percent more, with a 70 percent retention rate.

I hope this helps. I’d love to hear from you on how your board members are event superheroes. Sharing is Caring.

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