Updated: Jun 16
I recently have had multiple friends in the heat of the wedding planning process. There are now waitlists for venues, planners, floral designers, and so on, all due to the time lost in 2020.
With the increased demand, it was to be expected that prices would increase - and they have!.
Talking about this with my friends who are new brides and grooms made me think about how important it is that non-profits take a close look at the success of fundraising events moving forward in the new world we are now living in. Supporters are ready to get back into the community and join together to support the work we have kept going over the past couple of years. Now is the time we should be taking a deep dive into our events and looking at how they fit in the big puzzle that is our fundraising plan.
There are five factors that can be used to determine overall fundraising success, but I specifically use them to determine the success and value of an event to an organization, as well as to the supporter.
1. Return on Investment (ROI):
The most exciting part of the event manager’s job is making the announcement of the gross dollar amount raised. We have all watched the thermometer fill, and I personally watched a group fill a golf tee to reach a goal. There is nothing more rewarding than to see goals reached and records broken, but behind the scenes, we need to be sure it is (really!) financially successful for the organization. The gross amount announced is often a far cry from the net success seen by the organization.
2. Growth Rate:
In a perfect world, all of our events would grow year after year. Realistically, we need to understand whether our events are showing growth, a decline, or flat-lining. Depending on the event’s overall age, your organization may want to see an event remain steady and reliable year after year or, if in its early stages, there may need to be steady growth to account for your budgetary goals. Ideally, as our budgets change, so do the expectations of our events.
3. Average Gift Amount:
Looking at the average gift amount at an event is another measure that I think is important to judge overall success, but all to help create future event goals. Depending on the scale of your event, this can be calculated very easily. In some larger-scale events, with many major gifts, it is important to back out the top-tier gifts so that your average is not skewed.
4. Conversion and Retention Rates:
Conversion and retention rates are good ways to track donor engagement in your fundraiser. Continued support is a large measure of success. We want to see our supporters return year after year, and we also want to see these supporters help grow the event - and the organization - through their network.
5. Return on “your story”:
Every organization and event has a “story”. Whether it is your overall mission, a breakdown of your organization’s day-to-day work, or a personal story that supports a portion of your mission.
The impact made through a compelling story can be just as valuable as a monetary donation. Organizations can create heartfelt support through events and messaging. An engaged guest leads to memorable experiences, emotionally connected supporters, and overall commitment to the organization.
If you are interested in taking a deeper look at your organization’s event, large or small, please contact our Team Kat & Mouse We are consultants for nonprofits whose only focus is your success.