Watching the endless TV coverage of the 2012 Olympics and national political conventions may have become tedious at times. But those who made the commitment were rewarded with countless spectacular, memorable and poignant moments.
We’ll never forget the breathtaking beauty and pageantry of the opening and closing ceremonies in London. And while we loved seeing the unabashed joy of gold-medal winners like Gabby Douglas, Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, the fortitude of the injured Chinese hurdler struggling to hop across the finish line made an even deeper impression.
The conventions, too, produced their share of memories. No matter what your political affiliation, it was hard not to be moved by Ann Romney discussing her battles with multiple sclerosis and breast cancer or former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords leading the Pledge of Allegiance.
The Relevance to Event Planning
Both the Olympics and conventions are highly choreographed events featuring personal moments and time-tested rituals designed to make a strong impact on viewers. These same elements must apply to fundraising events, too.
Just as NBC often tells stories about challenges that athletes have overcome, you should always be telling a story at your events. Establish a narrative about the lives your organization has changed. Your goal should be to communicate your mission — and thus remind participants why they signed up in the first place.
Also, be sure to create moments and rituals that will stick with participants and solidify their bond with your organization. For instance, one unforgettable symbol of the AIDS/LifeCycle is the “riderless cycle” (commemorating those lost to AIDS). At the Komen 3-Day, participants take off and raise a sneaker as breast cancer survivors enter the ceremony.
What story are you telling at your event? What touching moments and rituals have you created? These are essential questions to consider if you want to maximize the impact of your event.
“Patrick and Sarah’s Experience Hub” blog posts are featured monthly. Directors of production projects Patrick Riley and Sarah Coniglio each have many years of hands-on experience in almost every aspect of event operations and production.