We were inspired to write this blog after one of our busiest weeks of the year (3 events in 4 days), because people kept saying “after these events you don’t have anything to do, right?” Wrong! The craziness of being in “execution mode” is gone, but for us and our clients who just finished the event, the work doesn’t stop, at least not yet.
There are some very important things that need to be done before we stop thinking about the event and move to the next one or take that long awaited day(s) off.
Send Thank You’s – There is a great team behind every event. Be sure to thank all of them. Send an email, phone them or even send a handwritten note. The more thought and effort you put in, the bigger the impact. Be sure to include your staff, volunteers, committee members, suppliers and speakers. Social media is a great tool for this as well.
Our Forté Tip: Draft these thank you’s ahead of time and fill in the missing info post event – it saves you from needing to be creative after the event when you are exhausted!
Balance Your Budget – It should be an easy thing to do because you should know your numbers going into the event; needing to only plug in the night of fundraising numbers (silent auction, live auction, fund a need, etc.). And we encourage you to announce your NET number. Yes, it’s amazing you raised $1 million, but if your expenses were $999,999…announcing $1 million is deceiving. Communicating honest numbers with your guests will help develop trust with your donors moving forward.
Send Surveys – Surveys are a great way to collect honest feedback. Be sure to send the survey 1-2 days after the event, so it’s fresh in your guests’ minds. Target your surveys to the audience – guests, volunteers, suppliers and sponsors. These survey results should help guide some of your decisions for next year.
Debrief – Your committee and/or team has been working on the event for a long time. They have been the face of the organization in the community for many months. Be sure to set up a thank you dinner (ideally they are not paying for this) where you can thank them in person and collect feedback. This meeting is about constructive feedback and can be tough for some to hear, so be sure to start and end with a celebration of the event’s success.
Implement Your Stewardship Plan – You created a plan, now it is time to implement it! Your event has attracted new donors (hopefully) and has inspired current donors. Now is the time to connect with them. Here are some of our favourite ways to connect:
Send a tax receipt & thank you letter
Add them to your newsletter list
3- 6 months post event send them a letter highlighting how the funds from the event have made an impact
By keeping donors in the loop throughout the year, it makes the next ask (ticket sales, sponsorship or annual gift) seem like it’s not coming out of the blue. You never want your donors thinking you are only reaching out to them to “sell” them something. Let them in as part of the community your organization creates and they will be more receptive to ongoing support.
Congratulations…you did it! You raised a lot of money, ensured your guests had a great time and brought in new donors to your organization. Once you finish wrapping up the event…take a few days off, you deserve it!