Top 5 Nonprofit Event Trends 2019

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1.      Sustainability

There’s a tremendous amount of waste in the hospitality industry.  The push for recyclable and compostable materials will continue, as will the reduction of single-use plastics (e.g. Starbucks eliminating plastic straws) and reduction of food waste.  Event hosts will continue to push for more sustainable practices from catering companies.  Caterers that offer great food + sustainable practices will have an edge over their competitors.  

2.      Unique Venues

Venues that are historic and unique (e.g. turn-of-the-century lumber mill turned industrial style event venue) will continue to be popular in 2019.  Two main reasons why this is so…It’s about the story and the photos.  Historic venues have interesting back stories and are usually quite Instagramable.

3.      Authenticity

The days of the tear-jerker video just prior to the fundraising ask are waning.  Why?  Because many nonprofits dug so far and so deep to find a story just to evoke tears from the audience.  Guests have caught on and they know they’re being manipulated.    

The trend now, as it should be, is authenticity.  If you have a tear-jerker story, by all means tell it.  But if the only reason you’re doing so is to elicit tears, don’t bother. Yes, you want your audience to feel something.  Just don’t try to manipulate them into tears just for the sake of making them cry. Feelings of fear, anger, disgust and joy are equally powerful when tied to an authentic story and a call to action.     

4.      Quality over Quantity

Let’s face it, there’s no shortage of options these days.  In fact, we have so many options it is overwhelming!  Whether you’re talking about a silent auction, number of conference breakout sessions or sponsor benefits.  The way we can serve our audience best is by helping reduce the overwhelm and focus on giving them quality over quantity.  

5.     Technology

From running your nonprofit to enhancing guest experience, technology will continue to be an important factor.  There are over 2 million apps in the Apple app store and growing.  Most of these apps have an online component (or vice versa). The upside to this growth is that many of these tools are becoming less expensive and more user-friendly as competition increases.