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3 tips for VIP visits to your nonprofit

MediaDeskNMEric J. Martinez086

Photo: Eric Martinez


Last week Jane Chu, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts visited Albuquerque and spent some time with Members of Tiaso Artist Cooperative at Valle Encantado’s Five Points Farm in Atrisco. The gathering was important for a couple of reasons: It positioned Tiaso as a key player in Albuquerque’s art space, it exposed a national partner to another innovative and effective organization in New Mexico, and it provided several storytelling opportunities that help leverage Tiaso’s already incredible reputation. Tiaso successfully capitalized on this visit by recognizing that the visit was an opportunity create a unique and memorable experience for everyone involved.  Additionally, they put to use new resources in order to capture the experience so that it could be recreated in future marketing efforts.

Here are 3 tips on how Tiaso capitalized on their visit, and you can too:

1.) Create Audible Memories.

As Chairman Chu and the Tiaso artists talked, they were extemporaneously producing highly effective messages and organic exchanges that could be valuable marketing material.  It can be very difficult to take notes or to memorize talking points from conversations during the visit, but it’s easy enough to switch on a recording device. Devices like a high-end voice recorder or even an iPhone can capture every exchange to generate quotable material for news articles or social media posts, and are great way to showcase an important person’s opinion of your brand.

2.) Dedicate a photographer. Capture moments; not just poses.  

Videos and images of VIPs engaging in your work are priceless. Utilizing your own designated camera person allows your brand to have total control of how and when the images are shared. If you rely on the VIP’s staff for media, you could end up playing the waiting game, and if they don’t send the media when you expect it (or worse – not at all), you’ll end up missing the important opportunity to share timely and relatable content. Tiaso was able to not only share their media prior to Chairman Chu’s incredibly busy team, but they were also able to share the media as the event was happening through their phones. Tiaso made sure to capture candid moments between everyone involved, as opposed to just the stanged “grip and grin” that VIPs are so used to.

3.) Orchestrate as much of your brand identity and values into the visit as possible.

Don’t be afraid to leave powerpoints and conference rooms behind. Your big day could end up feeling like Groundhog Day for on-the-go guests that endure visit after visit. It’s important to ask yourself: “How is our organization different?” and “What can we do to stand out?” And use that momentum to create an engaging space that represents who you are. Tiaso chose to host their visit at Valle Encantado’s Five Points Farm. The setting showcased the nonprofit’s community focus by inviting the NEA chair into their community. Instead of Tiaso leaders telling the stories of Tiaso artists, they had the artists share their stories in their own words, and invited her to participate in the process by sharing her story. These personal, first-hand connections resonated with Chairmen Chu and she was easily able to recall the details of every speaker at the end of the event.


Looking for more information? Check out our blog on Op-Eds and Public Opinion.

Written by eric martinez

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