In many ways, your Annual Meeting / Awards Celebration is like orchestrating a Homecoming event. As we play out the analogy, the community (Impact 100 members) gathers along with alumni (past members or grant recipients) and our Homecoming Court (nonprofit Finalists) is presented to the crowd while we determine whom to crown our Homecoming Kings and Queens.

Inviting Impact 100 members, prospective members, nonprofits and community leaders to come together as we celebrate the magnificent work of our nonprofit finalists and decide how to best invest in the future of our community can be a delicate balancing act. It’s important to understand your audience and to tailor your remarks and handouts to each specific subset of attendees.

For most Impact 100 chapters, the Annual Meeting is the official kick-off of “member recruiting season.” We hope to re-recruit our current year’s members, while creating enthusiasm for our prospective members.

At the same time, it is vital to connect and engage with our nonprofit community. Regardless of the outcome of the vote, the success of any Impact 100 rests in its ability to attract members and strong nonprofit grant applicants.

The Annual Meeting is an ideal time to highlight the benefits of applying to Impact 100 (even if the nonprofit organization does not receive the grant).  One way to provide encouragement is to promote the fulfillment of the Wish Lists provided by our Finalists. Another way to encourage area nonprofits to share stories of prior years’ Finalists who received gifts because of the ripple effect of Impact 100 experience. This is particularly compelling at the Annual Meeting.

To give members and prospective members a sense of urgency in committing for the upcoming grant year, providing an incentive can make a significant difference.  Obtaining a sponsor who will fund a certain dollar amount to the Wish Lists for every member who signs up or renews their Impact 100 membership is a win-win at your Annual Meeting.