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Book Review: Successful Special Events: Planning, Hosting, Evaluating

Resource Center - Foundation

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Successful Special Events: Planning, Hosting, and Evaluating
By Barbara R. Levy, ACFRE; Barbara H. Marion, CFRE
Aspen Publishers, 1997. Softcover; 226 pages.
ISBN #0-8342-0935-7

The authors call special events "the tests before the lessons," each experience serving as a stepping stone to the next challenge. Written especially for the beginning or seasoned fundraiser who is new to special events, this book combines over 40 years of life lessons by two renowned experts in the challenging , but rewarding, world of special events fundraising.

The intent of this book is to make life just a little easier for those who choose to learn first.

It proposes a systematic way of approaching special events so that they may take an appropriate, productive role in the development process. Its chapters offer suggestions about how to successfully design, plan, manage, and evaluate special events, whether a press conference or a black-tie ball. The reader will find detailed information on everything from setting goals, timelines, and budgets; working with details of site selection, décor, and invitations; to logistics, insurance, and legal considerations. A chapter headed "How to Avoid Disaster" offers a set of Checkpoints and Checklists to help the reader anticipate every detail.

The final chapter addresses follow-up activities, an often-neglected aspect for any event. Here the authors share wisdom on thanking participants, evaluating the event and (the all-important) converting attendees to donors. Throughout the book the reader will find helpful checklists and sample tools to use in their next special event. The book ends with an extensive bibliography for further reading.

For those new to special events, this is an opportunity to get off to a great start! Approached with caution and thoughtful planning, events can add a touch of spice to a development program, offer some nice visibility to the organization, and involve a new cadre of volunteers who may continue their involvement with its cause.

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