Five Points for Planning your 2014 event or fundraiser by Toni Earls

Five Points for Planning your 2014 event or fundraiser

If you are planning an event for your business in 2014, now is a great time to get started. Whether it is a networking event or a fundraiser, staying on top of your planning with a checklist will aid your efforts immeasurably. Keeping yourself organized is fundamental to the success of an event. Consider these suggestions when planning yours.

1. Be clear about the purpose of your event, whether it is a fundraiser, a networking opportunity, or something in between. The Fundraising Authority recommends: “Before doing anything else, you must decide what the purpose of your event is. Is this truly a fundraising event? Or does it have other goals?…details for your event will depend on knowing what goals you are trying to achieve.”

2. Begin preparations early on, at least 3 months out for a large event, according to Marriot. Their comprehensive checklist includes these beginning steps: “…develop the program and budget. Book meeting site and support services. Check calendar of local events to avoid conflicting or inappropriate dates.” You can also use this time to contact attendees and if necessary, make travel arrangements. The more thorough and detailed you are at the start, the less likely you are to encounter problems closer to the event.

3. The importance of your marketing is highlighted by the Fundraising Authority’s checklist. “You need to convince your supporters that your organization and event are worthy of their time and money. Draw up an entire marketing plan for the event.” Whether you are a small business looking to network or a non-profit hoping to fundraise, it is imperative that you orchestrate a persuasive marketing campaign to entice people to your event. “ ‘Getting the word out’ [methods] include…mailed invitations, direct mail, phone banks, word of mouth and the event host committee.”

4. Remember, people won’t come and/or they won’t donate if you don’t ask. Event 360’s advice is applicable in a fundraising or a networking event planning situation. “The golden rule of fundraising is: You raise money when you ask for it. You don’t when you don’t. ASK! Make a list of everyone you know and everyone you come in contact with during the course of a day – everyone is a potential donor.” There are also many potential guests for a networking event in this pool of people. Be judicious about your requests but don’t hesitate to cast a wide net.

5. Finally, remember that the influence of your event doesn’t end when the tables are cleared away and the lights are shut off. It is important to follow up with clients or donors, and to thank them for their attendance. Fundraising Authority advises: “Make sure that the organization takes the time to send thank-you notes to everyone who is involved in your event, including contributors, volunteers, staff and vendors.”

In short, be purposeful in your event design. Plan ahead and keep abreast of the situation throughout the events planning stages. Market your event like it is a new product and don’t be afraid to ask people to attend or to donate, depending on the situation. Most importantly, remember to say thank you when it is done.

SOURCES: http://www.thefundraisingauthority.com/fundraising-basics/fundraising-event/

http://www.marriott.com/Multimedia/PDF/check_time.pdf

http://www.event360.com/assets/files/Event-Fundraising-Checklist.pdf

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4 Things to let your Virtual Assistant Handle by Britney Balg

If you have elected to use the services of a Virtual Assistant (VA) you have thought through how much it will save you over having an on-site assistant. You’ve probably thought about how nice it will be to not have to deal with the hiring/firing process or having to carry all the insurances associated with a full time employee. But what can a VA actually do for you? Every VA offers different services but these are 4 things that most Virtual Assistants can do.

Bookkeeping:  It’s one of the easiest things to hand over to your Virtual Assistant. You will have to relinquish some of your control but if you find the right VA it won’t stress you out because the job will get done right. Having your bookkeeping needs taken care of will allow you time to focus on bigger parts of your business.

Online Research: Online research can  time consuming and difficult to some. Outsourcing this task to your VA will free up a lot of time for you.  The results can be put into a simple format for you to easily take the information you want from it.

Database Creation/Maintenance: Creating a database is easy if you know what you are doing but can be difficult to get going if you are inexperienced at it.  You can give your VA your information and in no time they can create a database to meet your needs. If you have already made your own database from time to time you will need to update and maintain it. You could even set up scheduled maintenance with your VA so you never run into any problems accessing and using your database.

Social Networking:  Social networking is one of the most important things when it comes to promoting yourself or your business. Like anything else though, it is very time consuming. It is 24-7 networking. So it is nice to have someone to help you keep up with it. Multiple usernames and passwords, remembering to update, re-post, tweet, and doing it all on time are all things a VA can take care of for you. It takes away a lot of the stress of social media.

Remember, every VA is different. They offer many other services that may be advantageous to you.. Look at what things seem to cause stress or cause snags in your daily business and let your Va take over. Learning how to utilize your VA will make the most of your time and your dollar.

Making Twitter Work for You by: Britney Balg

There are so many options for promoting yourself or your business on the internet. Twitter has become a top choice for business professionals to network with minimal effort and time. However, just because it’s a top choice doesn’t mean it’s easy.  Just like other networking sites, there are certain rules and etiquette that must be followed to make your twitter account worth it. First thing to remember is that you have to post valuable tweets. Tweeting about how the office ordered Chinese food for lunch isn’t going to cut it. Post things that are meaningful and important to your business and its goals.

Links are the way to go when trying to get people to visit your company website. You should put links in your tweets so that when your potential customer reads that you have a new type of wood flooring they can just click on the link right in the tweet and it will redirect them to your website with a picture of that flooring. By getting them to your site, you have gotten one step closer to that person buying your product or telling a friend about it.

One other thing to remember about twitter is that it is all about who is following you and who you are following. If you don’t have a good ratio of followers to people being followed by you, twitter can actually delete your account. It also doesn’t look good to potential customers if you don’t have a lot of followers but you are following everyone under the sun that has anything to do with your business.  A good rule of thumb is that if you are going to follow someone they should follow you back. There are exceptions to that rule though, for example if you are following a tv show don’t expect them to follow you back.

Follow us on Twitter! https://twitter.com/mccluresolution

Can You Afford A Virtual Assistant?

Most professionals view having a virtual assistant as a a great idea but a novelty. This post will outline the cost structure to having a virtual assistant as opposed to having an on site employee.

Lets work out the numbers:

Consider an on site employee at a minimum of $15 per hour.                               Calculate:

$15 x 40 hours                                                                         =                                     $600 Weekly

$600 x 4 weeks                                                                       =                                      $2400 Monthly

$2400 x 12 months                                                                =                                      $28,800 Year

+ 35%  (Taxes & Benefits)                                                    =                                     $38,880 Annually

(Now add in lunch breaks, office space, equipment, supplies, technology, non-productive hours, sick & holiday pay, that is some big money, which is not always being put to good use)

Now consider a Virtual Assistant at an example rate of $25 per hour.  First, figure out approximately how many hours you will actually require of your virtual assistant, for this example lets assume 20 hours per week (each individuals specific needs will vary).

$25 Hourly Rate for a VA                                                                            Calculate:

$25 x 20 hours                                                    =                                                500 Weekly

$500 x 4 weeks                                                   =                                                $2000 Monthly

$2000 x 12 months                                            =                                                $24,000 Annually

Total Cost =    $24,000 Annually

Virtual assistants work as subcontractors so you never have to worry about taxes or providing insurance. VA’s work from their off-site offices and provide their own equipment, supplies and technology. Not to mention, with a VA you do not pay for lunch breaks, potty breaks, sick, holiday or vacation time. The client doesn’t have to be concerned about non-productive hours as they are only paying for the work received. Even if you only require part-time assistance just divide the both numbers in half because utilizing a VA will allow you to cut the hours of on site assistance at least in half as a VA can do a considerable amount more in an hours time as opposed to an onsite employee.

Evaluating the above example, we can see that utilizing a Virtual Assistant will give you an absolute minimum savings of $14,880! That extra savings could purchase you more than 6 months of additional VA service!

Now the question goes from “Can you afford a Virtual Assistant?” to “Can you afford not to have a Virtual Assistant?”

At McClure Virtual Business Solutions, our team offers highly competitive rates  and a wide variety of prepaid packaged plans that offer additional savings. In addition to our great rates, we offer Client Loyalty Rewards and Referral Programs. We offer free, no obligation consultations as our rate plans are customized to fit the individual client needs.  Our philosopy at MVBS is to simplify and streamline the lives and businesses of our clients so that they may conduct both aspects in the manners in which they most desire. Contact us at mccluresolutions@hotmail.com for more information or with any questions you may have.