Monday, November 30, 2009

Is Your Special Event Relevant to What You Do?

When I saw the headline on the three-sentence news brief in the daily newspaper -- "Museum hosts wing contest" -- I expected to read about an event at the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group Museum, sponsor of the area's annual high-profile airshow.

Nope. The news item announced a Buffalo-style chicken wing competition at a county historical society museum. Huh? What does this museum in Lyons, N.Y. (a community probably best known as the hometown of Jim Boeheim, the Syracuse University men's basketball coach) have to do with chicken wings?


I'd be less confused, of course, if the organization hosting the chicken wing contest was based in Buffalo, N.Y., home of the Anchor Bar, where chicken wings were first served to patrons. Or at an airplane museum. (But maybe not at a bird sanctuary . . . .)

Special events can do a lot to raise awareness or funds, but they need to be relevant to your purpose or mission so that they help connect your nonprofit or business with the messages you're working hard to communicate. So a costume museum might host a fashion show, an art museum could sponsor a student art contest, and a flour museum (yes, they exist) can consider a baking event.

Before approving your next event, whether you run a museum or a hair salon, ask yourself: What does this have to do with what I want people to know about this organization? It could make the difference between an event that makes a difference and one that just makes a dent.

What's the most relevant special event you've seen?

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