We’ve all been to them: the dreaded rubber chicken dinner. A cause you perhaps support and believe in, but oh, that fundraiser. That gala. That charity dinner. They all start to blend together.
Raising money is only part of the goal of a charity event. Or, it should be. Many nonprofits settle for raising their goal and don’t think about the incredible, long-lasting impact that their event could leave on attendees. Whether it’s a formal dinner gala or a lively casual event, putting extra effort into nonprofit event branding can create recognition and brand affinity that pays dividends to the nonprofit long after the last plate is cleared and auction item is claimed.
This nonprofit event branding challenge is where we at Ambit excel. As you can imagine, many clients come to us to get programs or signage printed, and it was then that our creative team at Ambit Creative Group began to ask, “How can we take this to the next level?” We’ve worked with a variety of nonprofit organizations like public radio station WBUR, The Red Cross and The Kendall Square Association to supplement the work their talented events teams are doing and create a high-end, elevated concept. We created a brand for the event itself that complemented the brand of the hosting organization and helped create a memorable experience and brand affinity for attendees.
So before you start planning your next branded event, get inspired by some of the work that we’ve done for these nonprofit organizations.
The Kendall Square Association – Eat Up
Each year, the KSA hosts a fantastic food event that allows attendees to taste the delicious culinary scene here in Cambridge while also raising money for the organization. In past years, the KSA had simply used their own brand for EatUp, but in 2015, we helped them create a special brand for the event itself.
The work we did included a logo, some fun swag and promotional items and direct mail postcards. We also did some great event signage that included environmental graphics – giant signage behind each table at the event – to create more of an immersive brand experience.
The Takeaway: We were able to help generate excitement for the EatUp event itself by creating a specific brand just for the night. Carrying that brand into the night with signage and swag helped to create a memorable experience that will hopefully continue to resonate with attendees throughout the year and when the next event is announced.
90.9 WBUR – Living Stories Event
WBUR came to use with an event theme of “Living Stories” for their annual fundraising gala, and it was up to us to create a vision. We branded the event using birch trees and an earthy feel, and of course used the brand assets of WBUR – their talent – as a major part of the event. Our work on this event included a Save the Date, a website and an video introduction to kick off the night that tied the branding and the familiar voices of WBUR together. We also provided on-stage graphics.
Attendees went home with a keepsake gala book that was designed to remain a part of their collection and leave them with brand affinity and memories from the event. Instead of the traditional simple program, this was an elegant, well-designed full-color book, wrapped in a kraft paper cover with white ink.
The Takeaway: Branding an event from the outset and carrying it through creates an incredible impact. By creating a branded presence from the very moment an attendee visited the website to learn more about the event through to the book they carried home in their bag, WBUR continues to foster the loyalty and devotion of their listeners by demonstrating consistent excellence.
The Red Cross – The People of the Red Cross
Ambit stepped created a pre-event video for The Red Cross’s annual gala in Massachusetts that helped really explain the work the Red Cross does – much of which is behind the scenes and goes largely unnoticed by the public until they need it. This is a great demonstration of how spending money on professionally filmed and edited videos can create a real impact. The People of the Red Cross elicited an emotional response that really uncovered the personality and impact of a brand much of America is already familiar with.
The Takeaway: Creating an impact means delivering professional, on-point materials. A professional intro video like The People of the Red Cross allows the message to come across crisply and without distraction, providing an opportunity for viewers gain additional insight on the nonprofit and its work.
For more information about nonprofit event branding, visit our sister creative agency Ambit Creative Group.