The Social Media Nonprofit Event Planner

Anthony Sicola - 04.06.09 - Follow me on Twitter

So a few months back Chris Brogan started a series of “day in the life” portraits of fictional people that might use social media in their work.  I thought to myself, ‘This is a great idea, but where is the portrait of the nonprofit professional?’  So I decided to try my hand at it myself.  Thanks for the idea Chris!

Meet Andrea:


Andrea wakes up with her alarm at 6:00 a.m.  Over a cup of Lapsang Souchang tea, she checks her email remotely from home and receives a reminder that her Event Planning MeetUp group is having their monthly meeting that evening.  She answers a couple of pressing emails and heads off to the office as she has a lot to do to prepare for the Gala Auction coming up next month.


At the office Andrea checks her RSS feeds and finds an article on one of her favorite blogs that outlines a new resource for sports memorabilia.  Perfect!  Her supplier just went out of business and she needs merchandise for the silent auction.  She makes her normal vendor calls to confirm the lighting and stage rental, and makes a phone call to the event coordinator at the venue.  Next she submits her event information to the local free weekly newspapers, Craigslist, and this place called Yelp that her friend just told her about.  By 11:00 a.m. she has four people saying “Sounds Cool” and one person saying “I’m In.”  “Maybe this Yelp thing was a good idea after all,” she thinks to herself.  While she’s thinking about it, she also sends out a Tweet on Twitter to let the people who are following her know that the event is shaping up quite nicely.  She has 243 people following her sharing nonprofit event planning tips, tricks, and resources.  Although she's new at this, Andrea's data shows that those who receive a Tweet alnog with her regular event marketing email are 9% more likely to respond as opposed to those who only recieve the email.


After a lunch meeting with the catering company where she gets to try all of the appetizers and main courses for the event, she comes back to the office to find an email from Robin in the marketing department, who just finished editing the video of last year’s auction into a three minute YouTube video.  Andrea jumps on the chance to send the link out to everyone who is currently registered for the event so they can pass it on to their friends.  A great free advertising piece!  She also sends the link to her Nonprofit Professionals network, who meets monthly to discuss nonprofit best practices.


She spends the next few hours working with the budget and makes more vendor calls.  As Andrea is preparing to leave, she checks Sphere and notices that three more people registered today.  Only 27 more to go until capacity!  She sends out another Tweet with the good news.  She heads out the door at 4:45 so she can make it to her MeetUp group and thinks about how cool it is that this free website can bring like-minded people together.  Hmmm, maybe this is an idea for the volunteer director?


Luckily for Andrea she was already familiar with these social media tools and knew the value they held to make her private life easier.  It wasn’t hard for her to make the jump into using these tools alongside her more traditional networks to help her be more productive at her job.  She never sat down and thought about her strategy for using social media, it just came naturally. 


The biggest challenge for you is seeing how all of these seemingly incongruous pieces work together to help you be more efficient at work and provide a good return on the investment of your time.


Photo credit: bhollar


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