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How to Build an Event Committee for Your Nonprofit

Strong volunteer leadership is the backbone of special-events fundraising. Some of the most important nonprofit work you and your board will do as event organizers is to recruit a chair or co-chairs for an event committee.

Choose people who are well connected and who bring different contacts to their committee work — perhaps one community volunteer, one business executive, and one local athletic star. Many organizations include a board member on the event committee, but they also use the event as an opportunity to recruit beyond their boards, bringing in new, short-term volunteers.

It’s a good idea to have a co-chair who has planned a fundraising event in the past and can help guide you and your committee through the process. Events are detail-heavy, and someone who has done this before can make sure that all details are addressed. Keep an event binder or online folder and document everything including meeting notes, invoices, timelines, budgets, and attendees.

Your co-chairs’ job is to build a network of support for the event. Usually they invite other well-connected people to join them as members of an event committee. Perhaps your board recruits three co-chairs, and those co-chairs recruit 25 event committee members.

Your committee members and co-chairs then send personalized letters, e-mails, and invitations and make phone calls urging people to support and attend the event. If each of them brings 20 people, you’ll have quite a crowd!

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