How to Set Up a Lecture or Meeting with Supporters
Once you have a loyal band of supporters to help you with your fund-raising efforts, you will need to meet with them regularly to discuss problems and progress. Where and how you do this will depend to a great extent on how many people will be meeting together and what venue is available.
If you are working from an office, it might in-kind donations for nonprofits be simpler to have everyone meet there – if there is enough room. Or you may be able to borrow a presentation room from your company. You can also book a lecture room at hotels or centers designed for this, a community or church hall or have them in your own home if necessary. The latter is not ideal, especially if there is a large number of people, due to the possibility of your home being in a hard to find area, lack of parking space, and lack of room and facilities.
Once you’ve decided on a venue and let everyone know the place and time, there are several things to organize. If you are using a computer screen for presentation and the computer is provided, make sure that it is high enough for those in the back rows to see. It needs to be at least five foot high to make it above the seated height of most people.
Arrange the chairs with plenty of internal aisles. People never seem to sit in the middle of a row, and if anyone comes late or has to leave early they’ll be climbing over the others. Don’t cram the chairs or the rows together if there is plenty of room. Most people like their space.
If you need to use tables rather than a computer, try to arrange them in a U shape with the chairs around the outside edges. This will allow everyone to see the speaker and have table space too.
Have plenty of material for the supporters to take home. No one relies on memory these days. Record the minutes and send them to all by email within a few days. It’s not too much to add an in-depth summary of the meeting and add it to the minutes – along with the time and place of the next meeting.
Make sure that you have access to a sound system and microphone to save vocal strain. Even if the room is small, once people start talking it will be hard to make yourself heard, at least at first. If you can’t have a mike, have a bell or whistle – or at least tap a spoon against a glass – to herald that you are about to speak.
Once you have good supporters, it’s a great deal easier to encourage them to give annually than start out all over again looking for new supporters. For a start, they are now familiar with your goals – even if you have to jog their memories a little from time to time – and they know what to expect. Your organization has obviously met with their approval once, so it’s not hard to keep that ball rolling.