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5 important questions to consider after a special event

Updated April 17, 2023 by Virginia Davidson

evaluate special events

Special events have the potential to raise crucial dollars for your organization as well as spread awareness of your mission. They’re also a big undertaking, as any nonprofit staff member can readily agree. That’s why it’s important that you evaluate your event after it’s over and ask yourself these 5 questions:

Post-Event Question #1: Did you meet your goal? 

Your goal may be a financial one, or your event might have been intended to raise awareness rather than funds. Whatever your goal was, did you reach it? Remember that if your goal was a financial one, you need to consider the net amount raised—the amount you brought in, less all event expenses.

Post-Event Question #2: Have you communicated with attendees since the event? 

If not, do you have a plan to do so? For new attendees, post-event communication is key to converting them to donors; for existing supporters, it’s a valuable stewardship opportunity.

Post-Event Question #3: Did anything else get pushed aside because of this event? 

Events take up a lot of staff capacity. It’s important to be honest about the ripple effect. If membership renewals weren’t sent out, for example, because your staff were too busy managing the event, that’s important to catch up on.

Post-Event Question #4: What seemingly minor aspects of the event caused major frustration for you? 

As long as there are events, those of us who coordinate them will fret about the weather—there’s nothing we can do about that. But there are probably some stressors that you can control. Before the memory fades, document these stressors, no matter how small. This way, you can take time to improve or change processes before your next event. Here are some examples of ways you can improve your event and negate some of those stressors the next time around:

  • If you were bombarded with calls from registrants asking for directions to the venue, make a note for future events that you need to include the address and directions in your event confirmation.
  • Did your sponsors wait until the list minute to send their logos, leading to a rush job of printing signage? Give a gift to your future self and document any and all of the frustrations, and schedule time in advance to figure out specific improvements or solutions for your next event.

Post-Event Question #5: Will you hold the event again? 

The allure of annual events can be strong, but just because you tried something once doesn’t mean you have to repeat it; and just because an organization has always hosted an event doesn’t mean it should continue to. As an organization, ask yourself, is it in your best interest to plan to repeat this event?


Your time as a fundraiser is valuable, and it’s important that you spend it on fundraising efforts that help your organization achieve its goals. Using these five questions as a guide, you’ll be able to make informed decisions about whether a particular special event helped to propel your organization forward.

3 thoughts on “5 important questions to consider after a special event

  1. This is great information. we are having another debriefing meeting to discuss this year’s event and goals, why the event goal was not met, steps for improving, changes, improvements etc. as we plan for next year. I will be sharing/asking these questions.

  2. Great, thanks. My question is how does LGL help us reconcile the revenue raised. There is no report that I found that does that for us.

    Donna Bliss

    1. Hey Donna,
      This would be a great question to pose to our support team. You can connect with them by using the contact form located in your LGL account.


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