Your big fall fundraising event is over. The guests have gone home and the vendors are paid. You’ve collapsed on your couch with a cup of tea and the biggest bowl of ice cream you can manage… it’s over, right?
Not so fast!
Not to be a downer, but there are a few things left to do. If you want your event to be a true success, there are a few additional steps to take.
The next morning, go into the office and pour yourself a cup of coffee. You’ve got just a few tasks to cross off and you’re home free.
Make a follow-up list
Donors, volunteers, and sponsors need thank-you calls, emails, or cards over the next few days. The morning after the event, sit down and make a list of who needs follow-up communications. If you need help prioritizing follow-ups, try using this 10-3-1 plan our friend Dave at Bold Leading shared with us. Choose 10 people who get a call, 3 people who need a card or note, and 1 person that gets an in-person meeting. By splitting up and prioritizing your list, follow-ups will be easy to manage!
Review your ROI
When all the vendors are paid and all donations are processed, it’s time to calculate your ROI (if you’re not familiar with the term, “ROI” means “return on investment”). In the simplest situations, you’ll compare the amount you spent (the “investment”) to the amount you raised (the “return”).
You’ll want your return to be higher than your investment. How much higher is up to you and your development team. If your event was a pure fundraising event, a higher ROI is your goal. If it’s an event wherein fundraising is secondary to, say, cultivating relationships with major donors, a lower ROI may be acceptable.
When calculating your ROI, be sure you consider non-monetary investments, too. You might get a decent ROI when you compare your expenditures to your intake. But how does your ROI look if you consider your staff’s time? Your event may have a positive ROI, but that ROI may seem less impressive if your entire staff spent the majority of their time working on the event and not on other fundraising activities.
Having a solid grasp of your ROI will help you determine whether or not your event was a success. It’ll also help you pinpoint where you can improve next year’s event… or whether or not you should hold next year’s event at all!
Taking time to celebrate your wins is so, so important. Burnout is a huge problem in the nonprofit sector. And for good reason! Nonprofits work hard to solve huge, global problems. The to-do lists can feel never-ending. Budgets are small and goals are big. It can feel overwhelming!
That’s why celebrating your wins is such a big deal. It prevents burnout! So take time to review your successes, dwell on how great your event was, and linger over what you can accomplish with the money you raised. You did it—congratulations!
Wrapping up an event can feel like a chore. The adrenaline of planning the event and the blur of executing it has worn off. But taking time to make a follow-up plan, evaluating your ROI, and celebrating your accomplishments are all important. At the end of the process, you’ll be ready to start planning your NEXT event!