3 Ways Charities & Nonprofit Organizations Can Help You Become an Event Planner

In your journey to become an event planner, you’ll inevitably be faced with the tell-tale challenge of getting your name established within the industry. In the beginning, this may seem a bit overwhelming. After all, you need to build a portfolio of your work to help entice potential clients to hire you… But you need work in order to build your portfolio.

This may feel like a Catch-22. When first starting out, you’ll obviously be building your career from the ground up. So, how can you get paying customers if you need past customers in order to attract new customers?

Don’t worry, as frustrating as the concept may look on paper, you actually have WAY more opportunities at your disposal! For the up-and-coming event planner, there are plenty of unique chances for you to gain experience in the field, build your resume, and grow your professional portfolio.

Charities and nonprofit organizations are perfect examples. Let’s take a look at what these are, and why they can help you become an event planner with a successful business!

What are Charities and Non-Profit Organizations?

First, it’s important to distinguish the difference between a charity and a non-profit organization. Although a lot of people think the two are synonymous, they actually aren’t.

Charities are organizations that rely on their own resources in order to help others in need. Their goal is typically to assist the overall community at large. Churches, public hospitals, medical research funds, and shelters are all examples of establishments that operate as charities. A charity may aim to:

  • Advance education, religion, or health matters
  • Provide poverty relief
  • Provide monetary assistance, food, and/or housing to certain demographics in need
  • And much more!

Nonprofit organizations, on the other hand, are typically clubs, associations, institutes, and other operations that focus on the betterment of public recreation, civic improvement, and social welfare. Examples of nonprofit organizations include:

  • Some universities and colleges
  • Professional associations
  • Sports associations
  • Animal rescues
  • Associations geared at helping children in need
  • And more!


What Do They Have in Common?

In addition to the fact that both charities and nonprofit organizations are commonly tax exempted in many locations, they’re also both known to hold events that help assist their missions. These events can be in the form of fundraisers, community events, etc.

Charity and nonprofit events can have many purposes. Some of which include:

  • Raising funds for a specific cause
  • Raising money to help the growth of a particular organization
  • Generating awareness or providing valuable information about an important issue
  • Acquiring (and then retaining) donors and long-term sponsors for their organization, or an establishment in need

There are a bunch of additional reasons why a registered charity or nonprofit organization would want to put together an event. Importantly, they’re critical to raising much-needed funds and visibility. Without these kinds of events, many charities and nonprofits wouldn’t be able to thrive the way they do.

This is where YOU come in!

As a certified event planner, you can put your expertise to good use. Your professional training and qualifications can be utilized, in order to help these organizations bring to life the events they wish to hold.

Simply put? You can use your skill-set to not only advance your own career, but support a good cause!

How to Use Charities and Nonprofit Organizations to Become an Event Planner

1 – They Give You Experience

In this industry, any and all hands-on experience you can gain should be seen as an asset. No, we’re not saying that experience should be always more important than respecting your business and getting paid for what you do. By no means are we suggesting that you should say yes to every choosing beggar that comes your way, just to build your portfolio!

However, when first starting your career, you may need to take a few unpaid jobs. In this particular case, the chance to get involved with a real-world project is the most valuable currency you can get! After all, at this stage of your career, the goal is to get some professional work under your belt, as well as high-quality material for your portfolio.

Not all charity and nonprofit work will be done pro bono, but much of it will. They need all the help they can get, to create the best possible outcome for their event. Being a part of this is an opportunity for you to start applying all you’ve learned from your event planning education, to a real-world situation.

This type of experience will strengthen your skill-set as a planner and build your confidence as a professional. Once you’ve successfully organized a few of these charity and/or nonprofit events, you’ll be in a much better place to begin expanding your services to paying clientele!

2 – They Give You Portfolio Material

A lot of these types of events will have some sort of photographer there to capture the occasion. This means high-quality images that you can use for your professional portfolio!

In this day and age, while a solid resume is definitely useful, prospective clients want to have some sort of visual, too. They want to be able to physically see the types of events you’ve put together in the past. This is the single best way for them to get a proper idea of whether you’re the right planner to organize their dream event.

Depending on the nature of the charity or nonprofit event, you may be able to get some images at little to no cost. At the very least, it may be possible to get some sort of discount. Even if this isn’t an option, it may still be worth the investment!

After all, you’ll be receiving invaluable material to build your business portfolio. This is very important in the long run! The sooner you can start reflecting all that awesome work you’ve been doing, the sooner you can begin booking more clients!

3 – They Allow You to Network

Networking is HUGE in the event planning industry! Depending on the scale of the event, you can potentially meet a ton of other industry professionals, such as:

Not to mention, you’ll also be interacting with all of the event’s other volunteers. These are all people with whom you can forge professional connections with. They’re fellow industry experts who you may find yourself working alongside again down the road.

Put in your very best effort and shine, and these may also be people likely to recommend you to future clients!

There are also plenty of networking opportunities provided by the charities and nonprofit organizations themselves. For starters, many of these organizations will put in efforts to market their event on social media. So long as you have their consent to cross-post and market it on your own channels, this is all visibility that you and your planning business are getting!

Plus, if you do an exceptional job, the organization may wish to hire you again for future events. You can look at this as more chances to continue building your resume and gaining more experience. You can also discuss financial compensation for future jobs, the longer you work with them.

There’s a lot that goes into being an event planner for a charity or nonprofit organization. Many factors need to be taken into consideration, and just as you’d find with any other event, they pose their own unique sets of challenges. But the rewards you can reap from such an experience are unrivaled!

When working to become an event planner in the professional industry, they provide you with a truly unforgettable chance to make a name for yourself!

Want to learn more? QC Event School’s leading international Event & Wedding Planning Course breaks down everything you need to know about planning a charity and nonprofit event!

4 responses to “3 Ways Charities & Nonprofit Organizations Can Help You Become an Event Planner”

    Brianna petty says:

    Need help ideas about an issue I’m currently having needing help with a skilled and professional opinion and

    Sloane Seguin says:

    Hey Brianna, what help are you in need of? 🙂

    Keishana says:

    Hello, how would you suggest reaching out to charity/ non-profit organizations to offer services?

    Sloane Seguin says:

    Hey Keishana,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to reach out, and our apologies for the delayed reply!

    I’ve looked around and found a few blog articles that address your question and should hopefully have some information you’ll find helpful:

    1) https://www.americanexpress.com/en-us/business/trends-and-insights/articles/how-to-get-your-business-involved-in-a-charity/
    2) https://www.forbes.com/sites/theyec/2013/09/18/how-to-incorporate-charity-into-your-business-model/?sh=3c20368b273e
    3) https://www.wework.com/ideas/professional-development/how-to-partner-with-a-non-profit
    4) https://www.nationalbreastcancer.org/blog/charitable-partner/creating-a-winning-partnership-tips-for-partnering-with-a-charity/

    I hope this helps! x

    All the best,
    The QC Team

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