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Of the hundreds of commercials I've seen during the Olympics, one of my favorites is Procter & Gamble's "Best Job." Not only is it a tearjerker, but it also carries a valuable lesson for those of us in event fundraising.
In case you haven't seen it, "Best Job" starts off with tender scenes of moms around the world waking up their little kids pre-dawn. We see dedicated moms making breakfast, shuttling children off to sports practice, washing dishes and caring for boo-boos.
By the end of the ad, each kid has gotten older and become an Olympics champion. Upon victory, his or her first reaction is to thank Mom. The ad concludes with this message: "The hardest job in the world, is the best job in the world. Thank you, Mom. P&G, proud sponsor of Moms."
The genius of this commercial is that rather than solely highlighting the Olympian, it also salutes the people who helped the Olympian get there. It's each athlete's support system — in particular, Mom — that's portrayed as the hero.
Don't Neglect Participants' Support Networks
So, what's the lesson here for event fundraising professionals? If you want to make your event a success, you can't just focus on participants. You also have to take into account the participant's support network — i.e. donors, family members or anyone else whom the event will impact in some way.
For instance, this fall we’re launching a 5K race in Chicago that will encourage participants to run with strollers. Our primary audience is parents with young kids. But we can't forget about the secondary audience — those kids who will be riding in strollers.
So during the event, we're going to make sure the little ones have everything they need, such as yogurt packets and other goodies. After all, a hungry, bored, complaining child will make for an unhappy parent and an unsatisfactory event experience. Happy kids, happy parents.
Another example: When our target market is women and we’re hosting local informational meetings about an event, we try to have kid-friendly activities on hand so if moms have to bring their little ones along, they focus on the meeting. Again, it's all about creating the best possible participant experience.
Donors Are Heroes, Too
One more thought: When crafting messaging for the event, be sure to keep in mind both participants and potential donors. To borrow from P&G's philosophy, the donors are heroes, too. They're the ones who enable participants to raise money, which ultimately helps your organization fulfill its important mission.
In other words, we're all in this together. And it's not only the participant, but also his or her support network, that will enable your organization to do amazing things.
Therese Grohman is the Director of Marketing at Event 360, where she focuses on building Event 360’s thought leadership platform and developing relationships with organizations through impactful and relevant communications. She has also worked directly with a variety of organizations to create and implement event fundraising strategies, drawing from her experiences working in the non-profit sector.