Chicago NonProfit: Expand Your Ideas On Event Planning

I had the pleasure of meeting with Randy Dill, founder of ChicagoNonProfit.org.  This is a wonderful organization that Randy himself describes as “The Nonprofits Chamber of Commerce,” facilitating resources, information and services between nonprofit organizations, volunteers and companies.  With a resource page, an events calendar, directory of non-profits and non-profit-friendly businesses, and even networking mixer events, Randy has created an original and useful model for maximizing how both individuals and companies/corporations can become involved in the the nonprofits world.

Randy shared some great advice on how to incorporate a non-profit into your next event and how to look at the way you are involved with non-profits.

Tip #1:
KEEP YOUR BUDGET AND REDUCE YOUR SPENDING TO HELP THE COMMUNITY
“I worked on an event once with a $50,000 budget.  We used $30,000 and put the rest towards a home-building charity. . . .  The theme was carpentry [to represent the charity].  We changed nothing about the purpose of the event or who attended the event or why.  The people who came would have come anyway except now they left feeling better and more involved about [it].”

Tip #2: EQUATE MONEY TO AN ITEM
“You want to convey the power of what you’re doing.  People grasp the meaning of what they are giving you if you say ‘this is going to give 10 children supplies for school’ instead of ‘we need $100’.”
Randy demonstrated that the most important thing a non-profit can do is equate need & resources with donations.  People want something tangible to understand what they’re giving to and why.

Tip #3: TURNOUT IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN FUNDS RAISED
“You always want a great turnout at an event, regardless of the money made.  You need to show that you are relevant and people are involved.”
I was surprised by this fact but it makes sense.  Other people need to see that your non-profit is important and that others want to be involved too.  If you have 200 people show and raise $5,000 it gives your more opportunities to expand with those contacts and potentially be more powerful for continued support of a nonprofit than if 50 people showed and you raised $10,000.

Tip #4: GIVING IS AN INTIMATE AFFAIR
What I found most inspiring about Randy & his work is not just his passion for it, but his ability to stay focused on the point.  He doesn’t get overly-involved with one non-profit.  He doesn’t try to tell people how they should give or what they should give.  He just wants people to do what works for them.  He also is very passionate about the idea that regardless of what your giving — time, money, resources — that it’s personal.  People have a connection with who they are donating to and why.  “I always try to be respectful [of that].”  It’s something that I’d never considered before and part of why I believe he is so successful at helping so many different organizations get what they need.

Randy helps organize 3 annual Networking Events in the fall, spring and winter.  It’s a great way to expand how you think about Event Planning!

If you would like to become more involved with Chicago NonProfits, visit the website: http://www.chicagononprofit.org/



Have a question about event planning?  Have a great tip, information or a story to share?  
Email me: thechicagoeventplanner@gmail.com



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