I raised funds, designed print collateral, and helped plan a professional organization's annual conference.
The St. Louis chapter of the Organization Development Network (ODN) is a non-profit professional organization supporting people whose work is to improve the efficacy of leaders, teams, and organizations. As a member, I volunteered to serve on the 2015 Conference Committee.
The conference has traditionally been held in the spring, but after years of pushing it back, the 2014 conference took place in October. The board asked us to plan the 2015 conference in April, giving us half the usual amount of time to plan.
We aimed to increase sponsorship revenue and give conference materials a cohesive look and feel.
I raised twice as much money as the previous year in half the time. Whereas in past years sponsors had complained about their experience, this year sponsors expressed satisfaction.
What I Did
Conference planning and coordination
Sponsorship incentive improvements
Erica Odalni, the 2015 conference chair and the 2014 sponsorship chair, provided guidance. The whole committee gave feedback and support to one another.
In the future, I would engage more with sponsors in researching and evaluating their incentives and experience.
Making Fundraising More Sponsor-Centric
I interviewed previous committee members and analyzed the prior year’s sponsorship incentive package. I then revised our offerings to increase value for sponsors and for ODN. I made other interventions with our website, event space configuration, and event collateral.
Event Space Configuration
A significant pain point for sponsors in previous years was poor table placement. They had either been placed behind other sponsors or in low traffic areas outside the main event space. As a result, their access to attendees was restricted, damaging the value of sponsorship.
I worked with event staff and the facilities chair to configure the main event space to afford premium table space for all sponsors. I subsequently annotated this plan view (large black and red type) and distributed it to ensure alignment.
I designed the conference program and nametags.
To prevent the need to crop or distort sponsor ads in the conference program, I provided visual directions to sponsors with ad spots in the conference program to guide their designs.
Nametags are rendered useless when flipped backwards, as often happens with lanyards, so I made them double-sided. My visual directions for the printer help ensure smooth implementation.