Shortly after the event, call everyone who came to the event, regardless of whether or not they made a donation. Thank them personally for the time they took to come to your event and for their contribution, if they made one. Use this opportunity to start a conversation. Ask them why they chose to attend your event, what interests them about your organization, and offer to give them a tour of your facilities.
Send a video Thank You message. Videos are powerful and engaging tools. Plus, with most smartphones they are cheap and easy to make. Have your clients, staff, or board members say “Thank You” in a video and embed it in an email. Emails with videos get a much higher open rate than text emails. Taking the time to put together a creative Thank You video creates a memorable moment for your event attendees, and the more personalized you can make the video, the better. According to statistics available from Hubspot, people are more likely to watch a video all the way to the end if it has been personalized in some way. One easy way to create these personalized videos is by using Thank View - a customized video email company. They are a simple and reasonably priced tool for creating personalized messages as a way to thank donors.
In addition to sending personalized thank you messages, consider using a survey tool like Survey Monkey to ask for feedback from all guests. People will be more willing to give their opinion if you attach an incentive. Consider including a $10 gift card to a local coffee shop or iTunes. Ask simple yes/no questions about topics like the food and entertainment to make sure your next event reflects the wants and needs of your guests. Keep your survey short, less than ten questions, to increase the chance that people will actually complete it.
Take the time to debrief the event with your Board of Directors. Set up a meeting and have an honest conversation about what worked well and what didn’t. Talk about which elements of the event you would keep, which elements you would change, and how you would change them. At this board meeting, you should also lock in the date for the event, venue, and fundraising auctioneer for the upcoming year.