After several years of producing great events, there comes a time when the same plan that paid off big in the past may cross into redundancy and become stale.
If your guests already know what to expect from the night’s program it makes it challenging to deliver the impact you had hoped for. In the end, all your careful planning may leave your guests uninspired and perhaps more reluctant to continue their involvement in your organization.
When you find that enthusiasm for your event is waning, along with the night’s contributions, it’s time to take a good hard look at which parts of your event plan are not achieving the outcomes you expect. Fortunately, there are many signs to look for that will tell you which areas need an update; or even if it’s time to flip your entire event and take it from what’s become familiar to something that fresh and exciting.
Failure to Meet Goals
Every good fundraising plan begins with well-considered goal setting, with the best indicators being the number of attendees and total contributions. Not meeting those goals is the best indication that it’s time to re-evaluate your current plan and look for any areas that are holding you back from getting the most out of your efforts.
We suggest using the S.M.A.R.T. method to goal setting as a guide to help you take a good, honest look at the reality of what you should be expect and to develop new goals that will be more attainable.
You Have Relied Too Much on the Past
It’s always important to look at the triumphs and failures of past events, but you may find yourself relying too much on your past successes. No one is inspired when you confine yourself to a rehashed event plan. Bring back the element of surprise that will initiate a desire in your guests to want to join the party.
Maybe it’ll only take a few small tweaks to your event, or maybe it’s time to scrap the whole plan and go in a totally different, unexpected direction. Regardless of what is required to reclaim the enthusiasm of your donors, examining each portion of your event individually may help you locate specific areas that need a new direction keep your community engaged.
Your Unsolicited Hype-man Has Gone Silent
A great advantage nonprofits can claim is the strong commitment of their community to sing your praises. They want your mission to succeed and are often the first to spread the word of your event and convince everyone they know to join them in contributing to your cause.
If you find that your long-time and most strident advocates are absent from the conversation surrounding your event, you’ll know it’s time to reignite their interest with a revamped program and a renewed call for devotion to your mission.
No New Faces in the Crowd
Underlying the idea of producing an fundraising event is, not only renew interest in past donors, but to also to inspire more people to join you cause, thereby expanding your reach and ultimately increasing your funding. One sign your efforts have failed in this regard is the absence of new guests at your events.
If you recognize over half the people at your event, take a moment to ask them how they heard about your fundraising event. Their answers are sure to provide you with more insight into how your current methods of marketing are either benefiting or inhibiting interest in attending your events.
The Event’s Natural Flow is Stymied
Every event is designed to keep guests engaged, with different activities, speakers and calls to action carrying the evening. If you sense lagging interest during any part of the evening it may be an indication of a specific need that has surfaced over the years which now requires your attention.
Just like clockwork, the machinery of an event must have all its parts working in precision to get the most return on your investment. Taking note during the event of where the energy in the room wanes, or people are left wondering what to do next, will provide you with insight into where you should focus your attention during the after-event analysis.
The Event Ends Early
Keeping interest throughout the night means producing a dynamic program that will hold the interest of your guests for hours. If there is a drag in the night your guests’ may decide to call it a night long before you’ve exhausted their opportunity to give.
Be on the lookout throughout the night for low attendance at different programs or activities. Stay in contact with your check-in and check-out teams to see if they are witnessing an exodus and you’ll get a sense of where your event plan has not met your expectations.