(Photo by Julie Zeglen)
Events are a great way to engage donors and spread the word about a nonprofit’s work — but they can also be a money suck.
This Wednesday, Oct. 11, Fishtown’s Lutheran Settlement House (LSH) will host its sixth annual Men Can rally to end family violence, and over the years, the community agency has learned some valuable lessons about how an event with a modest budget can make a big impact:
1. Don’t be afraid to ask.
Fearlessness is key, said Vashti Bledsoe, LSH’s bilingual domestic violence program director.
“One lesson learned was not to be afraid ask people to help with this event,” she said. “The local businesses were excited to be involved in our positive campaign.” That resulted in food donations from Stephen Starr’s Frankford Hall restaurant, coffee drinks from La Colombe, and a DJ from Johnny Brenda’s. “This allowed us to use our limited budget on more awareness materials.”
2. Ask your network to spread the word.
LSH promotes the rally through the social media channels you might expect, like Facebook and Twitter, while also asking volunteers to spread the message and distribute flyers where they have the most direct connection — to other agencies, past supporters, fraternities, churches, schools and local campuses.
And by inviting men to step up and speak out about a subject that is often considered a “women’s issue,” the rally aims for a spirit of inclusion around a topic that can otherwise feel fraught or divisive.
Instead, it’s purposefully inclusive: “Most men aren’t violent, and they want to speak out” against domestic abuse and family violence, said Toby Fraser, LSH’s manager of community education.
3. Offer a next step.
“A rally is a good place to start to get involved, make connections and build energy,” Fraser said — but consider a big event a starting point rather than an end in itself and be ready to offer supporters who show up a menu of ways they can stay involved.
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This year, all rally attendees will be invited to a Men Can open house in late October where they can learn more about volunteer opportunities, workshops, community conversations, and trainings.
If you want to learn more, meet staff and supporters, and enjoy live music, German pretzels and draft lattes, join LSH for the sixth annual Men Can rally to end family violence this Wednesday, Oct. 11, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Thomas Paine Plaza in Center City (1401 JFK Blvd). This year LSH will honor the work of Dr. Mario Cruz of Philadelphia FIGHT.