21 Ways to Make Your Event a Success

Planning and hosting a successful event is a powerful way to engage your supporters. Ensure that you’re on top of every detail by putting your resources to optimal use and using data
to help you execute and follow up seamlessly. In this tip sheet, you'll find suggestions for pre-event planning, day-of-event execution, and post-event follow-up. See your efforts pay dividends in increased revenues, smarter planning, and better donor stewardship when you put these suggestions into practice.


1. Reach out to your peers for help and advice.
Seek help within the Blackbaud network by engaging with the Blackbaud Community, attending a Blackbaud User Roadshow, talking to a Blackbaud Champion™ , or attending a Blackbaud University training course.

2. Make headline news and use social media to create buzz.
Use press releases, local bloggers, and social media outlets to spread the word, create awareness, and drive attendance.

3. Create and use an event-planning checklist.
Simplify the planning process. Start with “The Fundraising Event Planning Checklist” on npENGAGE.

4. Make each seat worth more!
Use the Seating function to add a fun element to seats or tables at your event. Looking for ideas? Consider naming seats after popular movie or storybook characters, or creating company sponsorship for tables.

5. Use seating notes.
Track individual patron details, including seating preferences and past seat locations, to make seating easier for future events. If you need to make changes to this year’s seating, know when you can and can’t move someone.

6. Stay organized and automate your to-do list with action tracks.
Use action tracks to stay on top of your to-do list. This proves especially useful for items that you do for every event, such as creating and printing invitations and confirming the rental facility. 

7. Develop a timeline for event elements.
Count backward on the calendar to determine important drop dates.

8. Ask your vendors for discounts or a donation.
Offer to publicly thank the vendor for some valuable PR.

9. Create the potential for an awesome turnout.
When you send an invite, send an extra for your recipient to give to a friend or family member. Make your registration link easy to forward, send Facebook® invites, and offer discount codes for guests who bring a friend.

10. Make it personal.
Pick up the phone and invite constituents directly to boost attendance.

Day of Event

1. Make your event memorable!
Check out the npENGAGE blog, “The Four Ingredients for Engaging and Memorable Fundraising Events.”

2. Focus on the details.
Give your event an extra special touch with customized nametags and place cards.

3. Be mobile!
Register event participants, collect money, and keep track of availability on the go.

4. Know your attendee list.
Study your registration list beforehand so you can welcome attendees personally at the event.


1. Keep things clear and simple.
Deactivate previous events to avoid confusion—such as registering a participant for your 2017 event in 2018—while maintaining the ability to report on and compare event performance year over year.

2. Take notes on what worked and what didn’t.
Did your nametags pass the sticky test? Did attendees enjoy the food? Learn from your events so you don’t make the same mistakes again. 

3. Reward and acknowledge volunteers and staff for their hard work.
A small token of appreciation goes a long way.

4. Summarize your successes and remind people why supporting your organization is so important.
Create a blog post, social media update, or newsletter that highlights your event and its outcomes. Remind people why their support is important and make it relevant to them. State not only how much you raised but also what the impact will be.  

5. Use your event as a springboard to build stronger partnerships with sponsors and deeper relationships with donors.
Check out “Five Ways to Get More out of Your Next Fundraising Event” on nonprofithub.org. 

6. Use easy reporting to analyze accurately.
Did your event make money? Did you meet your budget goal? Did you generate new donors? Run the numbers to quickly and easily determine how your event compared to past events.

7. Thank your sponsors and attendees with a phone call.
Check out the npENGAGE article, “Focus on the End Goal: Donor Engagement + Retention.” 

Want to wow at your next event? We have numerous Blackbaud University courses that can help you plan and execute a winning strategy. 

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