Post-Charity Fundraising Evaluation
Fundraising Event Evaluation is not the first priority that comes to your mind as you are taking off your high heeled shoes saying good-bye to the guests as the banquet ballroom is being dismantled. A feeling of relief has taken over your body. You know the feeling. Take a few days to recover and then it’s time to gather your troops for one last vital part of the fundraiser.
Your job isn’t quite finished. The numbers must be calculated and a final meeting set.
Set up a meeting with your committee members. Create an agenda prior the meeting so you will cover all the topics that need to be covered. Invite your staff, event committee, and most involved volunteers. When that day arrives, have committee members begin filling out a survey that will be handed in at the close of the meeting. This helps generate the memories that will be a big part of the meetings discussions.
Possible survey questions for your committee members:
What was your favorite part of the event and why?
What was your least favorite and why?
What five auction items did you think were the best and why?
What items would you like to see in the Live and Silent Auction next year?
Was the auctioneer effective?
Was the event too short, too long, or just right?
Rate the food and beverage.
Did you think the entertainment was appropriate for the event?
What is an area of concern that can be improved?
What part of the committee do you want to be a part of next year?
Do you know of anyone else wanting to become part of the committee for next year?
Financial Report Drives the Meeting
Once the committee members finish their survey, first things first. Begin with unveiling the financial report. Everyone’s biggest questions after an event are, “How did we do? Did we reach our goal?” Your financial report sets the tone for the discussion and will help you and your teammates to evaluate your fundraising success.
Your Financial Report should answer these questions:
Did the event achieve/surpass our fundraising goal?
Did expenses stay within budget?
What was the net revenue?
How does the revenue from this event compare to years before?
Break down the revenue and expenses into categories:
- Ticket Sales
- Silent Auctions
- Live Auction
- Direct Give Fund Appeal
Once the financial report is completed, here are other topics that should be discussed. It’s never too soon to start improving next year’s event. Most of these points below will go back and forth from this event to next year’s event. Make sure someone is taking good notes.
- Ticket Sale Price
- Food and beverages
- Timeline of Event
- Advertisement: Social Media
- Auction segments: silent, live, direct give
- Consignment Items
- Check-out of items
- Mobile Bidding
- Table arrangements
- Volunteer assignments
- Flowers or centerpieces
- Committee jobs
- Goal for next year
The last part of this meeting should capitalize on reaching out to your Guests and Sponsors.
- Thank you notes must be written. (assign committee members if needed)
- Phone calls to important donors and guests thanking them for coming to the event.
- This is also a good time to ask questions about the event and collect feedback.
- Thank you notes to your committee members and volunteers
- Finalizing the evaluation from this event, keep all the surveys from your committee members, financial report and the brainstorming notes in a secure place. (I am sure you will come back to this folder often. Event evaluation can be challenging but is essential to next year’s success. Each year it gets a litter easier.)
Guess what? It’s time to start preparing for the next fundraising event. It’s a never ending cycle of FUNd’s.
About the author: Debbie and Ron Hitzel
Debbie and Ron Hitzel, the auctioneer team for Impact Auctions, have been in the fundraising business for over a decade raising money for charity causes close to their hearts. When Ron’s nephew was diagnosed with leukemia in 2003, Ron joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team-in-Training to help raise money for blood cancer research where he quickly assumed the role of fundraising coordinator for his team because of his passion. Through trial and error, he found silent auctions to be an effective way to raise “just enough” money. Over time, he realized that securing silent auction items was a tedious task that demanded much energy and time that exhausted his volunteers as well as himself. Meanwhile, Debbie had begun working for a fundraising company and quickly saw the benefits of raising MORE with live auctions at charity events. With her event planning guidance, Ron tried his skills as an auctioneer at their next charity fundraiser. The outcome spoke for itself as the net-profit was doubled in thirty minutes. Debbie and Ron’s new passion for helping fundraisers with live auctions had begun.