Career Story: Event Consultant Non-Profit Fundraisers

Event Consultant Non-Profit Fundraisers

Job Title: Event Consultant Non Profit Fundraiser

Education: B.S. Hospitality Management, Boston University

Previous Experience: I worked in the Hotel Industry in sales, marketing and catering for 14 years before switching gears to plan fundraising events for non profits

Job Tasks: I'm self employed and work as a consultant for non-profit foundations, helping them raise money by planning various events throughout the year. Currently, my client has me handling four events per year - a gala for 400 people with live, silent and online auctions, a golf tournament, a hockey tournament and a grassroots walk.

My job evolves in a timeline depending on how much time we have before the event is scheduled. In the early stages of a typical day, I'm on the phone working with volunteers and committees to develop a strategic plan for the event we are hosting. All events have a budget and we need to make sure that we are achieving the revenues budgeted while keeping the expenses within a reasonable margin. I work with the event co-chairs to create a theme for the event, select potential locations, solicit bids from vendors and manage people's expectations. I develop committees and ask volunteers to select a committee or two that they want to join. I ask our volunteers to recruit new people to the committees and to bring their friends to join us.

Once the event plan is established, I work with sponsorship team to develop a target list of companies to approach for sponsorship. I write letters and make phone calls to tell companies about our foundation and event and how their support will help us achieve our mission. I work with the auction committee to send letters to companies to solicit donations for items that we can use for our auctions.

As the event draws closer I manage all the logisitics, meal arrangement, track financial donations and recruit volunteers to work at the event. After the event, I handle all the financial reconcilation and determine how much revenue we generates, what our expenses are and how much we are contributing to the foundation.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is knowing that the money I raise goes to help find a cure for a disease or goes toward another good cause.

The hardest part of the job is when the economy is not doing well and it becomes very difficult to ask people for money knowing that they may have lost thier job or cannot afford to donate as they have in the past.

Job Tips:
1. Don't take rejection personally. If someone cannot donate to you or sponsor your event, they are not saying no to you.

2. You must like people to do this job and want to work with different types of people.

3. Working with volunteers requires a lot of patience and follow through. These people are not paid to do the job and you need to know how to motivate each person to get the most out of them. Each person responds differently and you must tailor your approach.

Additional Thoughts: It's a fun, rewarding career but is not a 9-5 job. Working weekends and nights comes with the terriotory. Sometimes travel is required depending on who you work for. Salaries in the non-profit world are not the same as in for-profit. However, overrall, the benefits of working with a foundation whose mission is to find a cure is truly worthwhile. Knowing that you are doing something that affects the greater good can really help motivate when times are challenging. I highly recommend it.

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