The Party's Over: Special Event Audits

Published on Nov 22, 2015

Everyone likes a good party, but what do you do when you know in your heart that a fundraising event has reached the end of its effective life? Rather than let the party go on, conduct an objective event audit and let the facts help you decide what do to next. In this practical session, we'll discuss the signs of a failing event, the tools to analyze the event's effective return, ways to soften the blow to volunteers of ending a losing program, and strategies to evaluate new events before they even happen.


The Party's Over

Conducting a Special Event Audit

Events can be sacred cows

Death of an event


  • Why events are still a good tool
  • What should be evaluated
  • How to evaluate new ideas

Events are not evil.

It's just easy to do them badly.

Time suck
Volunteer management
"Anyone" can do one
Not enough money to use or to gain

Events can be effective

If you use them the right way

Event benefits

  • Engage volunteers
  • Donor acquisition
  • General outreach
  • Some donors ONLY respond this way

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What should we review?


Photo by weesen


Photo by nathanmac87

Growth Factors

  • Participants
  • Revenue
  • Lower Expenses
  • Experience

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People Power

"X" Factors


Photo by duckiemonster

It's not enough to count revenue.

Direct expenses

  • Cash out the door
  • Required to make the event happen
  • Include valuation of in-kind services if you would have spent cash to use

Indirect expenses

  • Allocation of paid staff time
  • Volunteer time valuation
  • Allocation of assets used only for event

Indirect benefit

  • Marketing exposure
  • Did your advertising generate benefit outside of the participants?

So it's over

Now what?

Graceful exits

  • Thank volunteers and donors
  • Celebrate the past
  • Stay positive
  • Understand emotional v. intellectual objections

Something New

On a scale of 1-10

  • Revenue (10-high)
  • Effort (10-easy)
  • Success (10-high)
  • Unique (10-very)
  • Mission match (10-very)

The Numbers Say No

so you don't have to.



  • Remember your goal
  • Plan for the future
  • Does it make us look good?
  • How do we feel?
  • Count ALL the money

Moving on

  • Celebrate and honor
  • Evaluate before it's a reality

GoalBusters Consulting