Live Q&A – January 2023
Patrick Kirby 0:00
Welcome, everybody. Hey, gang, welcome to a little q&a, a little couple of extra sessions that we’re going to put into our boot camp, which is really kind of fun. I like doing these, mostly because if you get stuck, if there’s something you have a question with, if you just sort of need something to move forward with something’s blocking yet, do some work. We’re here to help. So we’re gonna add a couple of sprinkle these sessions, like salt Bay. Only, it’s like bootcamp Bay’s. I feel like we should rebrand this, Sammy, I feel like that’s a good thing. For those of you who have not had the pleasure of meeting I’m Patrick Kirby, the founder of do get better and CO partner here at bootcamp. Sammy, introduce yourself, please.
Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:46
Yeah, I’m seeing the the Dell Mulhern, co founder of the boot camp and excited for this first ever,
Patrick Kirby 0:54
what were you calling it like an Ask us anything kind of q&a
Sami Bedell-Mulhern 0:58
that you Sorry, my daughter came in and distracting sprinkling salt. Anyway, this is the first one of the year. And I’m very excited to kick this off. And all the things that we’re going to uncover your burning secrets,
Patrick Kirby 1:13
burning secrets. So schematically, kind of what we’ll do is we’ll kick off with just kind of a little bit of nugget of information that we’ll have, hey, here’s some cool things that we’ve learned over the last couple of weeks or a couple of days that we’d like, hey, everybody should know some of these things. And then we’ll take questions from anybody who’s got him wrap up, as soon as the other questions are exhausted, move on with our day. That’s kind of how the system works. So I’ve been really kind of concentrating. So I get to get to take the first one, which is, what special events or fundraising events or events in general look like. In 2023, I’ve been sort of very nose to the grindstone, I guess, if we would do that on kind of what happened in 2022. And what kind of what we’re projecting for 2023, it appears so far that we are back with in person events and sort of gone is the pure virtual setting. And so the hybrids are even sort of becoming a little bit faded. in person events are the way to go and kind of, so a couple of things that you get to enjoy. Number one, what an opportunity that you get to have to reinvent yourself. So some of the things that we’re seeing is that the all the stuff that we thought we were going to be able to do, or all the things that we would love to tweak and change about the events that we’ve been doing forever, we get an opportunity to do that, because we haven’t done them in a couple of years or so that everybody kind of fades out and like, oh boy, did we actually do this, or hey, this would be kind of cool to try out. But we never had the guts to do it, or we never had the opportunity to tweak and change now is the time and we probably have this year, and maybe a little bit into 2024 to do that. Otherwise, people are gonna get used to doing the same thing over and over again. So if you are doing an event, if you’re doing a fundraiser, if you’re doing a sort of like a friend raiser, if you’re doing an activity that’s going to recruit new people to either your nonprofit or your your chamber events, or whatever that looks like, now’s the time to kind of implement that it can be big grandiose changes, name, change logo change event venue, they could be of interest to like, you know, change the DNA dang dynamics of the event, or the order in which they do it the agenda, whatever that looks like, get the opportunity to do that. So that’s one of the trends that we’re coming to kind of see. The other trend is that inflation is kind of still here. So people are gonna be very budget conscious. So what can you do to decrease costs while still maintaining that sort of element of general awesomeness that your event put on? So what are your must haves at your particular event coming up this year? Audio, like audio over visuals, audio is going to be super important. Don’t shrimp on that. And then really what you want to do is like what other thing, what big thing is it you know, nobody really remembers the food. Nobody really remembers the printed invitation. They do remember sort of how long it was. So make sure that your events are shorter than they typically were before the pandemic started that kind of thing. Yeah, well, they only remember the food if there’s bad, but they don’t really remember the food. It was good either that we had food. It was really bad food. And they’re like, I don’t want to do this ever again. But people expect like baby rubber chicken, you know, sort of an event, anything above and beyond that. It’s like, Oh, great. That was wonderful. So where you can sort of, we’re finding a lot of people in like actual physical printed materials is one of those expenses that can probably go away. Again, read the audience, whether they require you to have this move formal invitation, but a lot of events are just for going that to save some time. Last. The other thing that we’re forecasting to do is pay attention to the process and the details that you might have forgotten in the formality of doing events prior to. So, what I mean by that is, did you get the names of the people Correct? On the as you sort of check in? Are you double checking to make sure that the chairs are there? Are you doing your walkthrough? Like what are the processes that you want to make sure are done correctly before you have that particular event? Rather than assuming that everything is going to go swimmingly, takes a little bit of extra time, maybe even calling your attendees in advance to like, make sure you get the spelling right for the name tags that you printed? Or making sure that the couple’s names on there are are right, that’s a that’s a big one. And then really, how are you introducing or how are you welcoming when they come to the event in itself, right, really personalize some of those things. And the other one, too, is don’t do a ton of stuff. It’s unnecessary to do a million fundraisers within the event, shrink it down to like maybe a handful that you can really manage mentally. Don’t do 12, raffles, silent a live auction fund in need, and then do a heads and tails and then do this and then do a cornhole game and then do a Plinko. game like that confuses the living daylights out of people. And it feels like are the days of nickel and diming of events, especially fundraisers are long gone. So streamline simplify. Remember, we spent the last two and a half years reducing our attention span to nearly nothing while we watch everything on a screen. So in person, we’re not used to spending five hours at an event. So where are you going to put your emphasis, maybe it’s a cocktail hour where there’s not a lot of games, and then they’re there to socialize, they’re not really there to go explore spaces yet, they’re going to get in their pods, they’re going to talk, we don’t need to stop for dinner, we can just walk through the agenda during dinner like those are the kind of the things you can kind of shrink, so that your five hour events are now two and a half hour events, and everyone will be grateful. The other thing too is that if you want to remember how to be remembered, well get the scripts from everybody speaking, don’t let anyone go rogue, the person who speaks for 35 minutes with zero intentionality loses the momentum in the room immediately. And then that becomes a sort of a gong show that you have to sort of work on. And then my final piece of advice, if you’re a fundraiser or you are a group that’s trying to raise money at an event is all of you have to do a fund need. If you don’t know what to fund any it is, well, there’s a lot of pieces of information that we have in our boot camp that you get to go learn about that. But essentially, it is the timeout in the middle of an event that raises a certain amount of money that people just raise their hands at or they pledge on a card money that goes directly to a particular cause or a program that you’re talking about. You don’t get anything for it, you know, you get a full tax deduction off of the gift. It everyone in the in the entire ballroom actually gets to participate in reaching that goal together. And it’s a wonderful momentum building event in the in the in the time you’re doing it. And then actually spills over until after. So you can talk about how much you raised and what impact that’s going to make kind of going forward. So just some things to pay attention to shorten everything you’re doing it the events, button up a lot of the processes and the details that you may have forgotten to do over the course of not doing live and in person events, shrink the amount of stuff that you have to do, and then really get to the point as quick as possible. And I think you’re going to have a super good time. So just a couple of quick notes. We’ve been talking to a lot of people who do a corporate events, and nonprofit events and and fundraisers and auctioneers, this kind of we’re all those pieces of information comes when we saw a big increase in person events, a lot of people who showed up and here’s a surprising fact and figure that I didn’t know until yesterday was the no show rate seems to be shrinking. So typically, when you do an event you always have like, I don’t know, like let’s just say you have 100 tables, that seems excessive, but let’s do some math. It’s hard for me. So let’s go that you would maybe have a 15 to 20% No Show rate. And now it’s looking at between five and 10. So it’s like cut in half. People want to go out, but they don’t necessarily know what to do or where to go or how to do it. So give them as much detail as possible and have them have a great time shortened the event so that they remember that they had a really good time, and that you’re going to be a whole run. So I’m here for questions, requests. On solutions that you’re just looking for ever feel free to send a chat note in or hop on on video, ask a question, how can I help you move forward today? Any and all questions, marketing, or fundraising or board management or whatever you have on your mind? Here to help you.
Sami Bedell-Mulhern 10:22
Hey, Patrick, I have a question for you, Andrei. I love it. I apologize. I’m driving to our late star icy Minnesota, you know how life goes. Um, but I love it your whole take on like, really evaluating what worked? What didn’t and I know that a lot of times after an event, everybody’s like, beat exhausted, doesn’t want to deal with anything else. But when you debrief and do all of those things that you mentioned, right after event, it makes this part of the planning process. So much easier, don’t you think?
Patrick Kirby 10:53
Right. No, it totally does. And I think there’s a couple of things to do it. So appreciate the question. Excellent set, by the way. The couple of things, one, make sure that you take time to celebrate. Pulling off an event is a very difficult thing. And even if it was a gong, show the fact that you did it fantastic. So take some time to celebrate that don’t go right into the I don’t know that thing was wrong. Don’t please don’t do that. Your committee and your volunteers and your staff will appreciate the fact that you go and say, and this is really, you did wonderful. And here’s all the great ways that we did it, here’s some improvements that we’re going to make. So two things, one, you got to figure out how to thank everybody who showed up participated in gave or who, who gave up time, that’s really important to do it right away. And know that that event is the kickoff to building a relationship down the road, so that you have to schedule time to reach out to those who showed up at your event, maybe 90 days, or 120 days down the road, to show them what you did and how much you raised and what impact that made. It’s really difficult to get people to come back and feel like they are a part of an organization like almost a family, like if the only time you’ve asked them for them to show up is when they wanted to buy a ticket. But the only time that you say hi, or show, what you have done as a as an accomplishment at your organization is every time you have an event. So taking time to sort of debrief not only gives you the game plan and the playbook on what works and what you don’t need to spend additional time on for next year’s event. It allows you then to sort of project when you’re going to touch base with everybody else when you’re going to solicit them for maybe another sponsorship maybe earlier than you did last year, showcase what the impact is, say hi and just see how things are going. And then maybe even lead into that. Let’s just say you do a spring event, you there’s an opportunity for them to give again to your organization at the end of the year, as long as you are constantly in contact and communication with them talking about the amazing things that your organization is doing, and not constantly badgering them for more money. So at the end of the year, they remember how much fun they had at the spring event. They’ve got an extra end of year sort of idea of what to do and what to participate in. And I’m looking for another organization to give to at the end of the year, Oh, this one that we went to the gala or the wind event or the bowl Athan, or whatever that is, I had a really good time they’ve been in touch with me a lot they haven’t asked, therefore I’m gonna give or you ask at the end of the year, and that triggers that they had such a good time and they’ve been communicative that they’re going to give. Yeah, so it allows you to build process this debrief right away, allows you to celebrate the wins, which is super important, especially after everybody put in some hard work. It allows you to critically kind of look at where the holes were that you might need more partners, more sponsors more sort of volunteers, maybe more staff dedicated to it, whatever that is, you’re able to plug the holes in now you have a game plan to bring in for the next event. Use that as your roadmap. So the debrief is really, really, really important. But after I’ll tell you a really quick story. So we did a gala when I was working in the Twin Cities at a pretty significant nonprofit. We had our biggest event we’ve ever had ever had. It was like a seven figure we hit seven figures and we’re all exhausted. If that was on a Saturday, Sunday, we had to go and clean up and pick up Monday we crawl in world delusional on the lack of sleep that we’ve had. And we started our meeting off our Brighton early meeting and we’re all like sterically giggling at all the stories of the people who maybe over over imbibed maybe the hilarity that you know we raised this much money or this up this Silly thing that we auctioned off went for way more than it should. Because it was a bidding war between two people that thought it was worth it. We auctioned off a puppy. And that was one of the things we were just reminiscing about and how peed on the floor and somebody paid a crapload of money for a dog that was going to pee on the floor for the next six months. Like that’s funny to a fundraiser and to a nonprofit person, and especially somebody who does events. Well, we have our meeting and the first the first thing out of the gate was a litany from our boss on what went wrong. This is after we made like this giant leap to like a million bucks. Like net not gross a met we netted us and and we’re all like taken aback are like, whoa, hold on. So we’re trying to like interject with Well, here’s what went well. And for 35 to 45 minutes, and I’ll never forget this, our boss set with like our just almost arms crossed. And just shout it out what else like what. So we’re like, well, we raised, you know, a million dollars net, this has never happened before, we had like a 25 35% increase in revenue. And it was just exciting. And then just salty about the whole thing. What else we’re like, we add another 150 People in the in the room, we had twice as many sponsors, what else and it went for 30 minutes went on like that. I’ve never been more demotivated to do anything for the rest of the week, than having somebody who never took the time to celebrate. Now, I think as nonprofits and as even its chambers in its businesses, we don’t take enough time to appreciate what we have been doing. I find myself coaching this a lot of nonprofits and even find myself not taking a moment to breathe and look around and go, Oh my God, look at what we have done in the last couple of months, or weeks, or even days or hours to make, you know, our community of of clients better or our community of nonprofits better. And they never took the time to do that. It’s absolutely critical for the well being of your staff and your volunteers and your board members and really your donors to they don’t want it.
Sami Bedell-Mulhern 17:00
Yeah. Patrick, I’m gonna jump in here and say I had the exact same experience you did. But during the event, oh, God, that’s even worse. Yeah, during a gala, our executive director who was so out of touch with the whole event, because they don’t see everything like this is really critical as leaders, and I think for something for you to remember, as you like, grow up in the ranks and your organization grows. There was one thing that happened, I want to say it was something super minutes, like minute like, food came out five minutes, like, it was like I don’t even remember what the issue was. But it was not a big deal. And he came in braided, the two of us that were leading the event. And same as you like this was the best event that had ever run, it was running completely on time. And I so appreciate my marketing partner, because she looked at him and she said, we just kicked off the best event that has ever been done. I understand you’re frustrated with the situation, but do not come out yet with this right now. And so I think it’s just as critically important that we stand up for ourselves and use our voice and validate what we’re doing and let people know like, Hey, I’m happy to have a conversation with you about this. Let’s chat. But like, let’s chat like this is a two way street. Because you’re 100% Correct. If you don’t value the people that are on your team, they’re going to burn out faster than fundraisers could we do anyway?
Patrick Kirby 18:15
Oh, yeah, absolutely. Well, and again, in the nonprofit realm, and even in the small business realm. Burnout is, burnout is legitimately one of the things that I think I’m most worried about leading into 2023, from just a personnel standpoint. Survived if not thrive during the pandemic, and then even into 2122, you’re like, Okay, you’re coming out of it, and kind of in a haze. And then everything is just now laser focused, or everything is on fire. And the burnout rate, which I haven’t seen up to date numbers, but on average, your fundraising person is probably going to be there for less than 18 months, on average. That doesn’t give you a lot of time to ramp up anything. You’re your marketing people have so many other opportunities to go somewhere else. And your board members who have seen you through some of the harder times are not going to look at their position and go what do I really need this in my life? Do I really need the stress of adding another meeting to another thing that we’re gonna like it’s a it’s a whole show. So in order to stem the tide of this, the great sort of leaving the sector Well, that’s the other thing too, if they’re not going to another place and not going to another organization, just leaving the nonprofit sector as a whole is it’s so much more difficult to recruit back because of bad experiences. And there’s flexibility in this right there if you just treat everybody and cheerleader them on and just do these little small things that the super do gooders who’s not doing this for billions of dollars they’re doing this because they want to make a difference in the community. But you’re gonna need to have and put on your really shiny hat every day as sort of a leader or board member in order to make sure that your staff and your volunteers stick with us. And making sure that you’re just on your game. As far as relationship building stuff goes. One of the other things that from an event standpoint, that was that was really sort of surprising to me, is how much money people are making at fundraising events from last year, I mean, it was exceptionally well. And from fewer people, on average, right? So we saw towards the end of 22, things kind of roaring back and a little more aggressive ways. But the traditional, older, more established donors in the 5560 6570 year old donors who have wealth, we’re still staying away. It didn’t stop them from donating. But it did stop them from showing up. And the reason why is that they all decided to take vacations, now, they hadn’t been out traveling. And then during the fall, and into the winter lap, this this past year, they decided, well, I’m gonna go on that river cruise, or I’m gonna go on that trip to Europe, or I’m gonna go on that trip to Mexico or whatever the was the people with revenue, people with wealth left. But those that got in front of them early enough to secure a gift, still got it. The other thing, too, is is doing things earlier, is probably a best practice that you should carry on through 2023. When you are planning and doing your event. The reason is, is that we’re still seeing delays in getting stuff, accomplishing things tasks. It’s a crisis of people not being employed. So the the ballrooms or the the places where you have these events don’t have the staff to do it as quickly as possible. So the turnover is really slow. It’s also taking longer to get silent auction items, it’s taking longer to secure some of these larger live auction items. So and it’s also taking long for people just buy tickets, they’re just hanging on for dear life and waiting to the last minute to do that. So your ramp up time when you’re planning needs to be extended a little bit. So give yourself a longer runway to your event than you have in the past, due to a lot of things just taking time. Random on that note, too, you should probably anticipate increasing your ticket prices, your sponsorships, because everything is more expensive. The rubber chicken you got for 1499, a plate is now $20 A plate. So everybody knows who shows up to events like this understands that their price of eggs has has quadrupled. So they understand that you need to have a ticket price increase, this is going to do two things. One, if you have a full event and you increase your ticket prices, you’re going to get less people to show up, you’re going to make the same amount of money. That’s number one. Number two, you have an opportunity to have those people who don’t show up at the event or don’t have anything in particular that they want to associate with it and that it’s too expensive for me, providing them another avenue or another event or another thing that they can do at your organization is super important. So if you do raise ticket prices have something to fall back on volunteer party or some sort of lower level event that’s not necessarily for high capacity individuals. How are you going to do that? Well, hello, Patrick,
Sami Bedell-Mulhern 23:45
I want to make sure we highlight one thing that you said like bring this back because people are probably hearing you say raise ticket prices, they’re going like heck no, right. If we raise ticket prices, then the dollar amount that we can earn at the event is gonna go down. But if they go back to your advice, the beginning of like simplifying all the things that you’re doing at the event, so if you streamline that piece of it, raising ticket prices is only going to increase the quality of the people you have in the room. You have less people that you have to have at your event like you said earlier to raise more money like it all is that holistic view.
Patrick Kirby 24:17
Yeah, yeah. No, that’s a really good point. I thank you for circling back. You’re the best rapper upper person ever. No, that’s very true. So your your expenses are less because we talked about that your revenue from the ticket price is gonna go increase. You’re gonna get fewer people but you’re gonna make the same amount of money but your net is gonna go out and also gets that people become more purposeful when they come to an event like that. They know it’s not gonna be five hours, they know they’re gonna get you know, some of their time back. They know why they’re there because you’ve streamlined the script. You’ve done your due diligence. A really good event planner, is to reach out and explore ln why you’re doing what you’re doing, who’s going to be there, what it looks like, expectations of everybody in attendance, we’re going to eat, we’re going to do a program, we’re going to make an ask. And we’re going to thank everybody for showing up, we’re going to make an impact to your community. It’s okay to be very open and honest about what your goal is at the event is, we are going to raise money for this. And going back to that fund, the neat thing too, is that if you haven’t done one, check it out. We’ve got enough in our in the boot camp, to under our special events and in fundraising, on how to put this together. But you want to make sure as an event hole, and then this is why you want to start early is soliciting all of your sponsorships and you’re doing your ticket sales and securing gifts for your funding need or your auction or securing individuals who are going to bid on things in advance. If you want to have like 60% of your goal raised before you even walk in the room, you don’t want to be surprised. And again, that takes longer. So back end your planning a little bit further so that you can forecast you can go and reach out advocate for new donors and sponsors and individuals to showing up at your event. But you want to get as much money as possible raised before you even hit start. That’ll depressurize any individual doing an event it’ll deep, you know, destress, a board going, how are we going to make all this money? Well, if you got most of it raised, now becomes Bonus Bucks, right? And then you can talk about that as momentum during your program. Tonight, we’re 65% to our goal. And we haven’t even started our auction. We haven’t even started any of our program yet. We’re blown away with the generosity that this community has shown us. And we’re excited to reach our goal of $100,000 or $10,000. Tonight, and we’re almost we’re 65% of the way there. That’s a good starting point because people don’t want to be the first donor, but they want to help finish and cross that finish line. People want to be the heroes that help you know shove and to victory. That’s where people I think envision themselves, especially donors do. And if you allow them the opportunity that do that, by hustling early and doing a lot of the work, that event itself doesn’t become a chore, it becomes a celebration of what you’re about to do. It’s pretty incredible. So I’m very, I’m very optimistic and super high on events in 2023 as part of your fundraising plan, and part of your your multi legged stool and fundraising. And it’s going to be fun to watch them come back. And it’s going to be fun to watch organizations get their feet back under themselves to kind of just make this rock and roll together, it’s going to be really, really fun. Why students anything else? That’s a really good 35 minute blitz on all things, fundraising events this year. Yeah,
Sami Bedell-Mulhern 28:15
and we will upload this into the dashboard. So you’ll have the replay. And then we will make sure for all of these that we have some categories and transcripts and some outlines for you. So if you can’t make these live, we will have content that’s in there. So you kind of know which ones are good to watch and where you can get the information that you need.
Patrick Kirby 28:38
And then again, reach out to us as well. If there’s a topic or a conversation piece that you’re like, Hey, I’m really curious about this. Maybe it’s it’s been flushed out in detail on the on the bootcamp side, but like, hey, is there any practical stuff that we can do? Can we walk through a problem that we might have in relation to something I learned or I’ve got a problem? Ask away? Send us a question then we’ll sort of feel the beginning of these. These ask us anything’s in these in these q&a Is is wolf will feel that we’ll we’ll do a little mini training on what’s what you’ve got going on how we can help how we can be a resource for you ask away we’re here to help. And that’s really one of my favorite parts about this entire boot camp is that that’s what we’re here for. So I hope everybody learned a little bit things on the from the special event. Side. any questions drop them for us. Thanks so much for being a part of this and give a high five to your chamber for being a partner here. It’s gonna be great. And then we’ll we’ll chat with you soon on our next little q&a session here in the nonprofit boot camp.