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Don’t Say I Didn’t Warn You – The Pragmatist’s Guide to Successful Special Events


Special events have long been synonymous with fundraising and as a result, every fundraiser has a story of cold food, missing golf balls, no-show volunteers, and the $200 pot of hotel coffee. We also know that fundraising events, on average, have one of the lower net profit factors and yet, they are often the go-to solution in a financial pinch. It is essential that every fundraiser understand the value special events can play within their organization, as well as the importance of setting appropriate financial, time management and resource expectations. In this session we will discuss this love-hate relationship, as well as review the cornerstone elements of successful events, including how to define success, knowing when to move on and setting pragmatic boundaries for the future.

Learning Objectives

By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  1. Understand the core elements of successful non-profit special events:
a.Why are we here?
i.Event purpose – friendraising, fundraising, donor recognition, community awareness
ii.Financial dependence – impact on the overall bottom line and role in the fund development plan
iii.Definition of success grounded in realistic expectations and connection to purpose
b.Resource allocation
c.Commitment to Excellence, Not Perfection
i.The details that matter and the ones that don’t
ii.Connection back to purpose
iii.Leverage people resources to create authenticity
d.Does It Stay or Does It Go?
i.Creating clear expectations around an event’s longevity
ii.Creating a healthy special events culture
iii.Understanding purpose and financial dependence


  • Amy Wolfe, MPPA, CFRE

    Amy Wolfe is the President and CEO of AgSafe, whose mission is to advance the food and farming industries' commitment to a safe, sustainable workforce and food supply by providing practical education and resources. Her career includes tenure as a legislative aid in the California State Assembly and as Vice President of the California Agricultural Leadership Foundation. Ms. Wolfe is also dedicated to her community and profession, serving on the Board of Directors for the Association of Fundraising Professionals as well as being a member of Modesto Rotary and 30-year member of the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California. Ms. Wolfe received her Master of Public Policy and Administration from California State University, Sacramento, her Bachelor of Science from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo and is accredited as a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE).

April 29, 2020
Wed 1:00 PM EDT

Duration 1H 0M

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