NPA 016: How to Manage a Massive Nonprofit Event

Nonprofit Ally Podcast

Imagine having to raise $6.5M, find 2,700 volunteers, hire 14 staff members, get corporate sponsors and host, house and feed 2,000 visitors from nine countries – all in a two year time span. This is what Karen Lane, general manager of the Fairbanks 2014 Arctic Winter Games, was tasked to do – and she pulled it off.

In this interview Karen talks with us about how she undertook managing such a massive project. Here are some highlights from her interview.

  • Keys to hiring staff: must have necessary skill set, must be team players, must handle stress well, must have “can-do” attitude. Karen also notes that is it important to have regular staff meetings to keep everyone on the same page and enhance communication for the organization as a whole.
  • Getting sponsors: go for the big bucks first – they need the most lead time for the budgets, find a person who is not afraid to “ask”, over different levels of sponsorship
  • Recruiting volunteers: offer incentives(shirts, tickets, dvds), keep training’s short and to the point, offer a flexible schedule of training opportunities, say thank you, keep them informed
  • Planning: have contingency plans for EVERYTHING, plan early, delegate to committees and staff.
  • Marketing: Be everywhere. Not everyone is on Facebook. Some people only use Facebook. Others just read emails. While others want to see info on your website. Have booths at fairs, Be in parades. Visit the schools.
  • Fundraising: in kind donations can provide a lot of resources, offer donors perks (tickets, shirts, recognition), make donating easy
  • It’s hard to summarize everything Karen had to offer in this interview. In fact even the interview doesn’t summarize the massive accomplishment of pulling of such a large and successful event.

PROGRAM LINKS & RESOURCES

Website, 2014 games: www.awg2014.org

Website, Arctic Winter Games: www.arcticwintergames.org

Email Karen: Contact Karen

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