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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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