Mayes Wilson & Associates

Special events and coronavirus

Sara Wilson, CPCC | 

Is COVID-19 affecting your upcoming special event?  Many nonprofits are having to make the decision whether to postpone, go virtual, or cancel altogether.

Postponing an event may seem like a good idea, but figuring out a new date and venue, or rebooking a speaker may be more difficult than going virtual.

Virtual events invite supporters to stay home while still donating to your organization. Pitch the event like this:

  • instead of spending $$$ on a new outfit for an in-person event, make a donation to [insert specific need your organization has]
  • rather than paying $50 for a babysitter, donate that money to [fill in your specific need here]

Have you already gathered all the silent auction items?  Then move your auction online.  You can keep the auction open for a week or longer and perhaps make more than you might have made at an in-person event.

Here’s a link to a great invitation to a non-gala [https://mailchi.mp/ad59b000c18b/your-absence-is-requested-593715?e=0fed048aa5] run by the White Rose Leadership Institute.  “Cocktail hour will not start at 5:30 and no one is going to give a speech at 7 pm.”

If you decide to cancel your event, ask ticket buyers to make the price of tickets a donation. Some may want refunds but many will understand this is a unique situation.

No matter what, make sure to keep communicating how your nonprofit makes a difference in the community.  Staying top of mind is difficult in times like these, but it is important to let your supporters know that the need for your services has not ended just because a pandemic has arrived. If you are pivoting to provide services in a new way, let your followers know about it and how they can help.

Have you done a virtual event or online auction?  What apps and services have you used that you would recommend to others? Special events and coronavirus