Don’t Make This Mistake… and leave money on the table

Money-on-the-TableIt happened again!  I volunteered for three hours.  Nobody asked me to, I went online, found the project and signed up.  All I had to do was go to a neighboring town and read to children.

Can’t beat that.

Here’s the bad news:  I haven’t heard from the organization since.  Not a “thank you” not a “how was it?” and certainly not a “what else would you like to do?”

They had me!  I was a hot prospect – interested, concerned, emotionally moved. But they forgot about me.

Why does this happen?  Events are excellent chances to show off your stuff, get people to listen and then – this is important – give them the next steps. Yet many times organizations ignore the people who have already taken the first step.

If you are making this mistake you are leaving money on the table!

Last spring I went to two galas in one week (really!).  The tickets were expensive.  Then there’s the cost of new clothes etc.  I made a real investment in those two organizations. But they forgot about me!  Really, all I ever got was a letter for tax purposes (OK, I’ll give one of them a little credit for writing a note on the letter).

Take a fresh look at your events.

  • Decide right at the start what you expect from people as a result.
  • If they are at Point A, how will you get them to Point B?
  • What will you say?
  • What additional opportunities will you offer?
  • How will you make it easy for them to tell their friends?

This year, instead of putting extra effort into the silent auction or goody bags, work on cultivating your guests and volunteers.  If they care enough to come, it’s your job to inspire them.

Make sure they hear about your vision, make sure you inspire them. Know what you need from them. Make it easy for them to take the next step.  Invite them for a tour or Story Hour, call them up and listen to what they have to say.

Don’t waste the chance to make them yours.


Merle Benny-NPCMerle Benny creates Nonprofit Champions.  She’s smart, creative and driven to nonprofit leaders grow.  She has provided  marketing and branding services to nonprofit organizations and managed events that raised millions of dollars to support their work.


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