How Effective Was your Fundraising Event?

By Katherine (Kat) Potter

As we enter into the new year, it is easy to get swept right back up in another cycle of activity. Annual funds, grant deadlines, perhaps even a capital campaign... and for many, planning for an annual gala or fundraising luncheon. However, we must also take a moment professionally to reflect on the past year and to review our successes, as well as those areas that were not as successful. I encourage you to do this in all areas of your fundraising efforts, but in particular, with your event planning.

Many organizations feel that a gala or luncheon is critical, because it is part of the routine - what has always been done. And yet, many events are not as financially successful as they should and could be. Whether your goal is a certain fundraising amount or whether it is community visibility and reaching new audiences, by evaluating what worked and did not work, changes can be made, large or small, to improve upon the event effectiveness from year to year. As an example, see Petra Bartosiewicz's article for New York Magazine, where she analyzed high-profile New York City fundraising events back in 2003.

Read the article.

Ideally this information was used after that date to improve upon the profitability of future events for these non-profits, but it must have been eye-opening for event organizers to see the financial success of their events compared to others. Take a look at your own events and be sure they are truly meeting the goals that you have set.