Brewer Direct



In an effort to make your events fun and engaging, it’s all too easy to let them become a drain on your resources. Using the 5 P’s of successful event planning will help you keep your events fun, engaging and cost-effective so you hit your fundraising goals!  

Events play an important role in your fundraising mix.  

They’re great for bringing current and potential donors to you. They provide the opportunity to mingle, discuss and share your nonprofit’s vision and mission. They offer a forum for some of the highest levels of donor engagement possible.

But events can also be one of the largest drains on your resources, your staff and even your participants in some cases. The event winds up costing way more than you imagined… or you end up scrambling to plan it last minute. We’ve all heard stories from colleagues about events gone wrong and hoped it would never happen to us.

Here’s a way to KNOW your event will be successful: by using our 5 P’s of event success to stay organized, on track and on budget.




Is your main goal to make money or raise awareness? Are you more focused on the number of people in attendance, or meeting a financial goal? Those are key determinations to make even before you determine what event you’re going to hold. The type of event you plan should go hand in hand with your ultimate goal.

DO stay focused on your ultimate goal before starting to plan your event. Ask key “purpose” questions like “what specific area of our work will this event support?” and “what is our budget?”  

DON’T be tempted to take the “dartboard approach” – hoping that the event’s purpose will become clear as you plan.  

Download your copy of our 5 P’s PowerPoint to see examples of what type of events may work best with your event’s purpose.




Once you know your ultimate goal, look at your timeline – do you have at least 6 months to plan your event? If not, what sacrifices will it take on the part of you/your staff to meet your event date? Be specific about that, especially if you expect your staff to work overtime and/or on weekends to meet your timeline!

DO start early! Determine your timeline for the pre-event and the event; solidify important details like venue, day of the week and entertainment; create an approach for marketing this event to your target audience; keep your budget in mind as you plan; draft your agenda for the event. Be sure your planning aligns with your purpose.

DON’T put off your event planning! Having to scramble last-minute for a venue or to market your event will likely make your event way more stressful.




People attend events for many reasons… and an event can be a great way to reach out to potential and existing donors who may not be involved with your organization in other ways. An event gives you a unique forum to strengthen existing donor relationships and create new ones. Seize the chance to cultivate both!

DO plan out how to engage your donors and prospects before, during and after the event. Before the event, plan to reach out to attendees through mail or email. Share your event on social media and allow attendees to “share” the invite with their friends as well to broaden the pool of people who may attend.  

DON’T expect donors or prospects to find your event just because your nonprofit is a “good cause” to support. Reach out to everyone possible, and show them why this event will be worth their time to attend.




To round out your event, it’s important to form partnerships with participants, media partners and sponsors. For example, find corporate partnerships willing to sponsor your event, or put out a call for volunteers. The more partnerships you form, the stronger your event will be.

DO reach out to everyone you can; an event is a great time to build bridges with people who are willing and excited to support your event’s purpose and get involved with your organization’s cause.     

DON’T talk to potential partners about how great your nonprofit is and all the good work you do… talk to them specifically about how their partnership will make a difference in people’s lives.




Your event is over – you did it! Now what?

DO evaluate your event. What elements worked and which could be improved?

DO calculate the results. Do your results align with your original purpose for holding the event?

DO take a minute to celebrate and thank everyone involved!  

The key to having a visionary encounter with your community is to plan events with the 5 P’s in mind. Keep these in mind as you determine your next big event so that you’ll hold events that raise awareness of your cause among your closest partners… and make money too.


To download our FREE PowerPoint presentation on the 5 P’s, please click here.



Does your organization need expert guidance in the 5 P’s as you plan your next event? Shellie can help! Get in touch with Brewer Direct’s Executive VP of Client Strategic Development Shellie Speer by clicking here.     




Tell us your best (or worst!) event experience @brewerdirect!   

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Releasing generosity: our core belief.

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(626) 359-1015

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