Nonprofit: Making the most of parades
Parade season is upon us and participating can be an effective way to support the community and promote your nonprofit organization. But parade involvement takes a lot of time, organization and planning.Whether you’re a first-time participant or a seasoned veteran, this newsletter provides tips to help you make the most out of your next parade.Parades as easy as one, two, three
Who doesn’t look forward to a parade? They’re fun, festive and entertaining. But, they’re also a lot of work. Making sure your time and effort is well spent can be easy with these simple steps:

  • Get organized: First things first, you’ll need to organize a team of volunteers to partake in the fun. Hang a sign-up sheet in the lunchroom and send out an organization-wide email asking for marchers, planners, labourers, etc. Extend the invitation to friends and family members as well. And don’t forget to throw in a tangible reward for participation—T-shirts commemorating the event make a nice thank you and also double as a way to promote your organization come parade day. Is float-building in your plans? If so, you’ll need a reliable team to help plan, design and build that, too. Designate a responsible party to gather details on float rules, regulations and recommendations. Are there height, weight and length restrictions? Is there a theme your float should follow? Knowing all the details up front helps avoid confusion come parade day.
  • Choose giveaways: Before you begin your search for the perfect item to toss to the crowd, find out what (if any) the policy is on giveaways. Are food items allowed? If so, logo’d safety pops or Lifesaver® candy makes a tasty choice. Can items be thrown to people or do they need to be individually handed out? If you have a marcher hand out your giveaway, you may want to include a logo’d grab bag containing information about your organization. Providing a bag is a surefire way to ensure your stuff doesn’t get tossed aside. After all, parade-goers are likely to hang on to your bag to store other giveaways. If you have a nighttime parade, giveaways such as glow sticks or Glow-in-the-Dark Glasses can create quite the impression. Make it your goal to have the one item that people don’t want to leave without.
  • Promote your organization: Remember, parades are a great way to support your community, but they also present a prime opportunity to promote your organization. Print an eye-catching banner that can be attached to your float or carried by parade marchers. And make sure those representing your organization are dressed in logo’d apparel. Imprint promotional materials with a message, such as “Proud supporters of <insert city or municipality here>,” to let the crowd know you’re actively involved in the community.

Although parades take a lot of organization and planning, the time is well-spent. Your reward will be the happy, smiling faces of all the parade-goers and, of course, a little promotion for your organization, too.

Hudock, Jennifer. “How to Design Parade Floats.” Crafts. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 01 Feb. 2014.

Schindler, LuAnn. “How to Organize a Parade.” Life123. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 01 Feb. 2014.

Active Question: What Is the Best Way to Advertise While in a Parade?Merchantcircle.com. N.p., n.d. Web. Retrieved 01 Feb. 2014.

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