Measuring Donor Events

Ann Fitzgerald President AC Fitzgerald author

Ann C. Fitzgerald, President

There are many important reasons to hold donor events. A well-executed event engages donors in your mission and programs, builds stronger relationships and recognizes donors’ financial support. An event may also raise operating revenue, introduce new prospective donors to your cause or increase your nonprofit’s visibility in the community.

But events typically require a large investment in time and money to be successful. And some fundraisers get so involved in events that they don’t have time for other types of fundraising that might be more profitable in the long term.

Here are some ways to measure the profitability of your donor events:

  1. Did the event meet the objectives? This means you need to establish clear objectives while planning the event. Are you trying to raise a certain amount of money? Or are you seeking a certain number of attendees? An event could have multiple objectives. Share these with staff, board members and volunteers beforehand.
  2. Repeat attendance. Determine the number of attendees who come year after year.
  3. Event growth over time. Calculate net revenue and revenue per participant. For an in-depth analysis of profitability, include staff time when totaling up expenses.
  4. Donor behavior. What is the total number of donors who attended? How many of them are major donors? What is the number of donors who increased their support within a year after attending an event?
  5. Prospect conversion. How many prospects attended? How many prospects converted to donors within 6 months of the event?

A donor event can be very energizing to the organization and to the attendees. But like any form of fundraising, the results must be evaluated and measured.

Ann C. Fitzgerald is Founder and President of AC Fitzgerald, using her decades of experience in fundraising, management, leadership, and sales to help nonprofits build their capacity and achieve success. She is a sought-after speaker, writer, and advisor.

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