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Skagit Valley Hospital

‘Tis the Season (For Special Events): Part 3, After the Event



Your event is over. It was an amazing night filled with great conversations, delicious food and wine, and a stunning presentation, and you raised $15K over goal! Congratulations! Now what do you do?

After the event:

When will a first-time donor hear from you next?

Both technology and old-fashioned people power make it possible for your organization to thank attendees within a few days of an event. Whether you send a postcard or a personalized letter, reiterate a few program highlights their generosity will make possible. Then make sure the next time you communicate is to share results, not to ask for money again.

How will you identify new donors who are prospects for your major gifts program?

Regroup key staff and volunteers to review the list of first-time attendees and the gifts or pledges they made at the event. Whether or not a guest came “just because they were asked,” the introduction to your organization may have sparked further interest. Identify a “Top 25 of New Prospects” for further cultivation and stewardship.

How will you evaluate event success?

Many events have financial targets only, and as a result success (or failure) is defined by net revenue. Take time to look at the non-financial goals you may have set less formally, especially those that engage more stakeholders in your mission. Did young donors attend? Was your story-telling clear and compelling? How many newcomers did board members personally meet? How many first-time donors are connected to your social media?

Special events are your organization’s opportunity to recognize major donors, retain loyal donors, and introduce newcomers to the transformative work you do. With a few key strategies for welcoming and educating first-time attendees, your events will serve as the first step toward a powerful, mutually rewarding, and life-long partnership.


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About the Author

Barb Maduell

Barb Maduell CFRE

Senior Consultant

With pithy advice and sensible solutions, Barb guides her clients through the cycle of best fundraising practices, coaching them to greater heights.


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