Ward_2014-09-28_41 How are new people getting that first exposure to your organization?

There are still prospecting letters. Billboard ads. Social media campaigns. But one of the best entry points is one that allows for interaction: events.

That word strikes fear into many executive directors' hearts. Either they envision the life-sucking intensity of an annual banquet, or they think, "But my kind of organization isn't really event-friendly."

They're probably wrong.

I'll use a client as an example here. The Thomas MacLaren School is a fast-growing classical charter school in Colorado. They're heavy on the arts and culture end of things--in fact, every single student plays in the orchestra. As part of our effort to build up a private donor base, we created the MacLaren Society. The idea was regular community-friendly events in neutral (preferably exciting!) locations, built around things the school could easily do. The key goals we gave ourselves:

Play to your strengths: What resources do we have to offer that could be useful for an event?

Offer value: What could we do that would be interesting and enriching to supporters AND non-supporters?

Convey your identity: How could we communicate who we are through the event?

See below for the invitation to the MacLaren Society's first event--they used the considerable talents of their young teachers, and their connections with the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, to create an evening of music and art. I'm looking forward to it.