Your non-profit event isn’t over until you critique it

evaluation2For the last few months, I’ve been involved in the planning and implementation of one of my favorite non-profit organization’s special event fundraisers. I was reminded last night at the post-event gathering of how important critique meetings really are to the long-term success of a special event. I was also reminded that post-event evaluation needs to focus on so much more than simply the question “Did we make our financial goal?

Before last night’s meeting, staff gathered information on the following metrics:

  • Amount raised vs. event goal (e.g. revenue)
  • Amount spent vs. event budget (e.g. expense)
  • Costs as a percentage of amount raised
  • Number of donors
  • Number of new donors
  • Number of repeat donors
  • Number of lapsed donors
  • Breakout of various revenue streams compared to previous years (e.g. ticket sales, sponsorships, raffles, auction, fund-a-need, etc)

evaluation1After getting past the numbers, deeper questions were asked about process such as:

  • What did we do well and what should we have done differently when it came to recruiting the committee?
  • What did we do well and what should we have done differently when it came to event planning and project management?
  • What did we do well and what should we have done differently when it came to selling sponsorships?
  • What did we do well and what should we have done differently when it came to securing auction items?
  • What did we do well and what should we have done differently when it came to conducting the raffles?
  • What did we do well and what should we have done differently when it came to check-in and check-out?
  • What did we do well and what should we have done differently when it came to the script and program?
  • What did we do well and what should we have done differently when it came to post-event communication and stewardship?
  • Should we change the event theme? Has this event gotten old and stale? Is it time to change format?
  • What are three things we must tell next year’s committee to keep doing because it really made a huge difference?
  • What are the three things we must tell next year’s committee to re-examine and change because it was a challenge?

No one likes to look in the mirror and talk about room for improvement; however, there is another way to look at these type of activities.  A post-event critique meeting is like writing a “love letter” to next year’s event planning committee. I believe that if it is done in this spirit, then this activity becomes significantly easier.

At the end of last night’s post-event meeting, we also talked about the importance of building a binder that can be passed along to next year’s committee. Of course, the notes from last night’s meeting would be included as would budgets, invoices, invitation lists, volunteer prospect lists, etc.

There was celebration and lots of hugs and appreciation was exchanged. Wine, popcorn, and awesome parting gifts for everyone!

How does your organization handle itself after the event is over? What do you look at? What questions do you ask at the critique meeting? What goes into your binder? Please scroll down and share your thoughts in the comment box below. We can all learn from each other.

Here’s to your health!

Erik Anderson
Founder & President, The Healthy Non-Profit LLC
www.thehealthynonprofit.com 
erik@thehealthynonprofit.com
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