During the past twenty years, the field of nonprofit management has grown significantly in terms of the number of nonprofit organizations, number of people employed, and amount of funds raised. A key activity in nonprofit management has been organizing events, which are generally defined as "purposive gatherings of people." These purposes may include: increasing awareness about the nonprofit organization and its mission; raising funds to support programs and services related to its mission; engaging and developing individuals as donors, volunteers, and advocates; and enhancing the image of the organization and/or the broader community.
Events in the modern era tend to be organized across the nonprofit, public, and private sectors. While a nonprofit organization may create and manage an event, corporations and businesses often contribute financial support and technical expertise in areas such as branding, marketing, and social media. Depending on the event type and size, a local government may provide the venue and public safety services, including police, fire, and ambulance.
We can understand more about these mission-driven, cross-sectoral events by looking through the lens of social enterprise. Social enterprise has been defined as a venture that advances a social mission using business methods or market-based approaches. It is typically conceptualized as spanning sectors, particularly the nonprofit and private sectors.
Social Enterprise and Special Events focuses on how market-based approaches can be used to help mission-driven gatherings achieve their purposes as efficiently, effectively, and sustainably as possible. These approaches include market research, brand development, cause marketing, gamification, liquidity, cash management, and clustering. The book also incorporates concepts important in the nonprofit and public sectors such as collaborative governance, social capital, political capital, community development, placemaking, and diversity.