Doing your Non-profit AGM on the cheap is not for everyone. If you use your AGM for a fundraiser, or are totally dependent upon private donors, then this wouldn’t be for you. But if you are a small or fledgling non-profit, this could help immensely.
When I first ran a very small non-profit, actually having an AGM event caused us hardship because we were very project funding based with little to no additional funding for special events. So it’s a good idea to look at how you can reduce your costs for your AGM event if you are in a similar situation. This is how you can do it:
- Get a free vendor – Often if you are a community based organization, you can develop or already have developed relationships with local schools, community clubs, churches or seniors centres. These types of organizations are often willing to let you use their facility for little to nothing for using it because they see your organization as a valuable, contributing member to the community.
- Make refreshments in house – Instead of paying a lot of money to hire a caterer or even to buy from a restaurant, why not purchase the basics needed and have staff and volunteers prepare the refreshments. This will take more coordination, but it is also an opportunity to empower your clients by asking them to help with the event and take ownership of it. Recommended types of food would be: sandwiches, veggie platters, cheese and crackers, pickles, fruit platters, coffee, tea or juice.
- Sponsor funded AGM Report – Printing can be expensive, but there are ways to get it at little or no cost to your organization. Often local politicians have small pockets of funding that they can tap into, or they can often use their own printing budget to do the printing of your AGM report for you, provided you give them credit on the report as a sponsor. Or you could consider developing a partnership with a corporation or local business that deals in photocopying and ask them to contribute the photocopying of the AGM report, with credit on the report as well.
- Recruit Entertainment – Instead of hiring someone to be the entertainment at the AGM, why not look for local talent that is willing to do it for the exposure. Often, local schools, church groups, or even residents are willing to perform at your AGM for free. It is a win win situation, they get exposure and you and your guests get the enjoyment of their talent.
- Donated door prizes – We always found that the lure of door prizes often helped to draw our community into our events. AGMs can be pretty boring otherwise and you want your clientele and the surrounding community to participate. So you can approach local businesses to ask for donations of door prizes and offer to put up their names on a sponsor list at the event. Businesses enjoy being included in community events and you get door prizes that will help to increase the numbers attending your AGM.
Question of the Day: What tactics have you used to reduce the costs of your AGM event?
For more resources, see our Library topic Nonprofit Capacity Building.
By Ingrid Zacharias, Managing Director, Envisioning the Future International, http://envisioningthefutureintl.ca/