Special events season is either something that fills staff and volunteers with glee or makes them want to flee for their lives. In many cases, events are fun and effective ways to raise money, but sometimes they're not really all they are cracked up to be.
In this blog series on events, we are asking the question – "Are events really worth it?" How do we make top dollar without spending a fortune? How do we set up for success? How do we define what a good return is on an event?
So no, this series isn’t giving you centerpiece ideas, thoughts on color schemes, or links to amazing Pinterest boards – it’s helping introduce some critical perspectives on nonprofit events.
We have often seen organizations create a special event early on in their lifecycle, since that is something that “all organizations have to do”. This is the first mistake that many organizations make since it is the quickest way to raise money in some people’s eyes; however, it is important to account for the volunteer and staff time that goes into an event. Selling tickets, collecting silent auction donations, organizing the venue and menu for a dinner banquet, and much more takes more time than one could imagine.
When calculating the financial gain of an event, organizations sometimes just look at how much money was deposited at the end, while others may have included the expenses; however, not all expenses are usually included. Here is a little breakdown of those items that add up that you might not have included in your net calculation.
At the end of the day, if your event is taking up a majority of your time but not bringing in a majority of your budget it may be time to reconsider the type and/or need for an event. Over the years we have noticed that many organizations are beginning to eliminate events and are instead creating opportunities for earned revenue within their organization.
If events are the bane of your existence, feel free to contact us for a free Strategy Session to see if there may be a way for you to make money for your valuable programming without losing your hair in the process.