Creating 5 Star Special Events in the Virtual Age

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Let me introduce you to our two guests. Today i was page in nineteen ninety-four. Liz established liz page associates and combined her theatrical talent with a passion for the arts and human services under her leadership. Lp has built a reputation for producing special events for nonprofits and corporations that not only meet but exceed significant financial marketing and engagement goals. Engagement goals liz and her team signature experiences with unforgettable power and style tell their next level of success and visibility. It is always nice to talk to liz page liz. Welcome so nice to be here with you. John and having to talk about this fascinating new world refined ourselves so liz is also joined by her colleague. Amanda harmless since joining liz page associates. In two thousand one that would be nineteen years ago if my math is right. Amanda has specialized in turning big ideas into detailed roadmaps. that take clients from their vision to reality. she guides event design and fundraising strategy by partnering with corporate and nonprofit clients. She began her career in development and external affairs at the ywca in boston helping to produce the annual women's event women's leadership event a showcase of top female leaders in greater boston. Amanda it is a pleasure to have you. Thanks so much john. It's great to be here with you today. So liz let's start with you. The challenge of nonprofits being overly reliant on special events. This challenge for nonprofits is actually been your meat and potatoes for twenty five years. And so i'm mostly interested in as a firm that's in the business of special events This must have been a challenging year. For you. And i wondered how you and amanda navigated twenty twenty from a business perspective. Well it was. It has been assassinating journey. I will tell you it started in february when we were producing a conference in lake. Tahoe and amanda said you know. Have you guys heard about co vid. Do we think we need a covert protocol of. What if something happens while we're all gathered In this big Resort in tahoe and ferry. That doesn't serve ury. okay. So amanda put together. What is the scenario of what if thought through but not as detailed as we would find out it would need to be then. We got back to boston and really had an oh shit moment when life stopped and i saw my staff walk out on a friday afternoon never to return until they're still not bad right. You know i feel like. There's a cigarette smoking in an ashtray at a at a desktop. Or there's ice cubes melting in a tumbler. It's just life stopped and Blessing for us. And i have to say. Kudos to amanda. The blessing for us is that within a week she had found a certification course from the event leadership institute where we sent two of our event producers and they became certified virtual meeting and event planners and they learned about this new world and we were able to quickly take to our clients. Who on the precipice. I'll tell you that was the game changer for us and then i have to give kudos the ppp. We got we were one of the first. I worked with a great bank that we had already established a relationship with which was really important. We got p p p funding. And i wanna say it is part of why we are still here today and you are on a very long line of people who are very much saved by that so i know that from my perspective and i also deal with nonprofit clients. Obviously that i've learned a lot about nonprofit leaders this year and before we dig into the details of special events. In what you. I wanna learn sort of big takeaways from your certification to amanda But you know liz. You've been a part of the boston nonprofit community for long time and know a lot of nonprofit leaders. I'd really like to know what you earned about nonprofit leaders this year what did what did you learn about them you know. I learned that they kind of fall into three groups. There's the adventurous and the desperate and they're in one group and they were the ones who clearly saw all my god my special event that is truly we. We work with many nonprofits that it is not half of their budget. Not not after their income. Joan it is like ninety five percent of their income right. which means these events. Are you know for these small organizations. They're mega blasters. You know there are million plus but some of those executive director said. We're going ahead. we're gonna do it virtual. I don't care if it's all on zoom we are going to do something on may twenty first so that was great. There were others who were more cautious. They said i don't know about this world. I don't know how my my sponsors are going to react or how audiences going gonna react. And i am lucky enough. That i have a reserve. I have saved for this rainy day. So we are going to let go of this annual event and we're going to not do it period and there were other brave ones. Who said you know what we're going to be creative. We're going to make this work working to postpone for a few months but then we are going to do something. And let's do it as

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