This is the Blackbaud Community Best Practices blog.

Princess Castles And Your Special Events

I went a little overboard when my daughter turned one. The birthday party planning started off as a few family members coming for cake and coffee, but turned into a full-blown princess-themed party, with 40 guests, a buffet dinner, and a tent in the back yard.
I spent two days making a princess castle cake, while my husband blew up dozens of pink and purple balloons. As guests arrived, they entered the tent (turned princess castle) adorned with balloons, streamers, soft music, themed treats—all surrounding the birthday girl and her princess castle cake.

As the party guests left, they excitedly asked, “That was great—what’s next year’s theme?” Next year? Oh my, what have I done?!

The princess party set in motion a series of themed birthday parties I threw for next 10 years for my children – everything from a safari adventure to The Wizard Of Oz costume party to Harry Potter’s Night At Hogwarts. My children's friends and their parents anxiously anticipated the parties. The excitement built after I sent out invitations to see how the theme would be incorporated into activities, food, and decorations. Each year I’d try to outdo myself, and rarely did her friends miss a party!
Special events at your organization are no different. You and your staff work hard to create an event to delight your guests. What are your goals beyond delighting your guests—fundraising and building an awareness of your mission perhaps?

Think about your events and ask yourself these questions:1b7d35a88b51343c6fe82ab7fcda277b-huge-ma

·      Are my events producing the results I expect?
·      Are our guests becoming ambassadors for our mission?
·      Are our sponsors becoming partners for the cause?
·      Are we currently hosting any events at all?

If you answered “no” to any of those questions, listen up.

In our new class, Best Practices: Mission-Driven Events, learn and explore ways to use your mission as the driving force behind your events. Discover how to obtain and utilize sponsors, as well as how to analyze results, increase guest satisfaction, and perpetuate continued engagement.

Click here to find out how an Organizational Best Practices training subscription can help develop your skills!

After a successful event, your guests ambassadors should be asking, “That was great—what can I do to help your mission? And by the way, what’s next year’s theme?”
Posted by Amy PosavacOsborne on Feb 7, 2018 10:35 AM America/New_York

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Will there be a recording available of this class? I have a scheduling conflict.
  • Posted Thu 08 Feb 2018 12:04 PM EST
Hi Jason,

There won't be a recording, but this class will be offered many times in the coming months! To be notified when new sessions are added to the schedule, click "Notify Me of New Sessions" on the bottom of the Training Details page (referenced above as "Best Practices: Misison Driven Events" link) to learn of new dates!

Hope to see you in class soon!
  • Posted Thu 08 Feb 2018 01:08 PM EST
Oh my. This sounds REALLY familiar LOL. We come up with a new theme and events for the Annual Campaign every year. Sounds like a class I need to take!
  • Posted Tue 03 Apr 2018 03:18 PM EDT
Who doesn't love a great theme?!? I can appreciate your idea of thinking of your event attendees as being dubbed our organization's ambassadors. Almost like being knighted :) Thanks for this reminder... I plan on mentioning it to our staff, as we're currently writting our event's closing remarks! 
  • Posted Tue 03 Apr 2018 05:07 PM EDT
Sounds very familiar, I'm glad we got past the "theme"
  • Posted Tue 10 Apr 2018 12:18 PM EDT
I like the thoughts behind this, we host several events a year and we focus more on the theme of the event itself and not enough on how that ties in to what we do. I will keep an eye out for this class being offered again. Thank you. 
  • Posted Thu 12 Apr 2018 09:27 AM EDT
I'll keep my eye out for an upcoming class.  
  • Posted Tue 17 Apr 2018 10:39 AM EDT
Sounds interesting, thanks for sharing.
  • Posted Mon 30 Apr 2018 12:09 PM EDT
  • Posted Mon 30 Apr 2018 12:50 PM EDT
"Are our guests becoming ambassadors for our mission?" - love that question.  So important!
  • Posted Mon 30 Apr 2018 01:26 PM EDT
Thanks just sent this training to our events person to see if she wants to attend. 
  • Posted Tue 01 May 2018 01:22 PM EDT
Yes! Themes definitely need to clearly reflect the mission, not just a night on the town! 
  • Posted Tue 01 May 2018 08:01 PM EDT
This is something we deal with on a school and campaign level all the time, but also with events the theme of trying to outdo yourself each year is a challenge...but a fun one! 
  • Posted Thu 03 May 2018 11:08 AM EDT
Love how guests became ambassadors. This should be an intentional transition with those who attend our events, even the guests at corporate sponsored tables.
  • Posted Fri 04 May 2018 08:56 AM EDT
Mission focus is so important, and this was a wake-up call for our events. Thanks!
  • Posted Fri 04 May 2018 12:44 PM EDT
Can totally relate to the idea of always trying to out-do the previous year's event!
  • Posted Mon 07 May 2018 04:44 PM EDT
I really like this Best Practices series concept.  This sounds like an excellent class that can help us tap into our even resources more effectively. Thank you.
  • Posted Tue 15 May 2018 01:57 PM EDT
This reminds me of our annual auction.  Some of them are big hits, some not so much, and you can tell the excitement by not only how much we raise, but how much we hear everyone talking about it.
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 11:59 AM EDT
This is a class we need! I will be signing up. 
  • Posted Mon 04 Jun 2018 01:18 PM EDT
We are gearing up to do some fundraising. We haven't done much fundraising as we are primarily grant driven but this class should help us get started!
  • Posted Tue 12 Jun 2018 12:51 PM EDT
I'll look for this class to open up again in the future.
I'd love if the events module in RE could be more flexible and integrated into events though.
  • Posted Thu 28 Jun 2018 04:01 PM EDT
Great reminders about events! Since they take up so much staff time, I do agree they need to be much more mission-focused.
  • Posted Tue 24 Jul 2018 03:00 PM EDT
Sounds like a good class to take!
  • Posted Thu 26 Jul 2018 05:28 PM EDT
Interesting!  Thanks.
  • Posted Wed 15 Aug 2018 11:44 AM EDT