Installment 11 of Planning a Fundraising Event – Event Follow Up
The final installment of our Planning a Fundraising Event focuses on the event follow up steps you need to take after the event. It is easy to assume that the work is done and all the money that was raised is all that will be raised, but that would be a mistake. The work is not complete after the event, and the fundraising for the event target is also not complete. How you take advantage of the excitement generated by the event after the event is over can have a significant impact on the overall funds raised and the impression made on donors. It can also impact your vendor relationships.
The heavy lifting is over. It might feel like you’ve succeeded and can relax. Don’t be too quick to put up your feet. The days following the event are critical to keep taking advantage of the excitement that had been generated. Use this to your advantage to inspire further giving. There may have been people who were unable to attend, but wanted to participate. They could take advantage of the donation link on your website both before the event and after. They may also have participated in the online silent auction. Although the auction may have closed the evening of the event, the donations do not have to cease at the close of the party. They are a target group, but so are those who actually attended the event.
Ways to Engage
- Send a thank you email to all who attended the event. Yes, we know you said thank you probably a hundred times during the event. Do it again. Recapture the experience for those who were there in this thank you email. Let them know the impact they had. Share photos and video footage from the event. Throw in one last donation appeal. You never know what you may catch.
- Share videos and photos of the event on your social media channels. Create a photo album and share highlights from the event. This also shows those who were unable to attend what they missed out on. Tag those you know and encourage them to share. Let your supporters share your success on their own. It doesn’t hurt to throw in a one last donation request for anyone who was unable to attend to still be part of the success!
- Send another follow-up email one week after the event. Do this despite your regularly scheduled monthly email campaign. Timing matters on this. Include an update on the funds raised and how they are being used. If you are able to show the impact on the project itself, include photos of the way in which the funds raised really made a difference in your program(s). Also include other ways that people can become involved in your organization. Sometimes the fundraising event was the first introduction to your organization for attendees who were invited as guests. Show them how they can really be a bigger part of your organization’s success, and the steps to take so that they can become involved.
- The enthusiasm from the event will remain with your attendees for a little while. Help them ride that excitement by meeting their need to find more ways to get involved.
Present the Results
The results are going to be the most important factor. Be sure to be efficient and accurate in your accounting for the event in all aspects. Your guests, committee, volunteers, and board members are going to want to know how they impacted the goals, how their efforts were appreciated, how the funds were used, and how much was brought in as a result. The best way to track the largest portion of this is to invest in a Donor Management System. Salsa Labs really ensures you can maintain the donor base, communication, and simultaneously integrate your fundraising campaigns in and around your fundraising event.
In your communications, be sure to highlight those who really put their all into the effort. Publicly thank everyone involved, highlight their contributions, and demonstrate how they personally made a difference. Your board wants to see responsibility and success. The better you can account for everything and demonstrate results, the more likely they will be to give you future green lights on similar event efforts.
- Thank your guests for attending.
- Thank your committee members for their efforts.
- Thank your volunteers for their efforts.
It would be a great idea to hold a private thank you event for those who worked so hard to ensure the event was a success. A small party that shows your appreciation can go a long way. Share videos, photos, and more details with everyone at the party in a manner that makes them feel like they are being acknowledged “on the big screen.” Give them the big acknowledgement they deserve, even the humble ones will appreciate this. Showing the results of the evening has a strong impact on their motivation to do it again next time.
Your board may want a more formal presentation of your efforts. They aren’t looking for accolades or a party. They want to see that you were responsible, accountable, and effective in your efforts. They are the ones ensuring that your efforts are successful. They want what is best for the organization and will use their objective reasoning to ensure that everything was done in a manner that brought the best possible results. They may offer insights for future planning that can either improve or enhance the experience next time.
- Total attendance
- Gross Revenue
- Net Profit
Future fundraisers will depend upon the report presented to the board, so ensure you are considering these factors every step of the way. It’s OK for the attendees to get carried away. It’s not OK for the organization throwing the event to get carried away. Create excitement while maintaining effective management of the entire event from start to finish. This is the best way to ensure many successful future fundraising events.