This is a question-and-answer series related to community college fundraising. This is article eight of the series.
Question: How do you best determine your ROI for special events to ensure proper budgeting and time management?
Answer: During my 23-year career, I have found special events to be the least effective way to raise money. Special events are labor-intensive and time-intensive and can have a small return on investment.
Each year, the foundation has a golf tournament. The golf tournament is in its 20th year and raises approximately $100,000 each year. Fortunately, the event is chaired by an effective foundation board member, and my team provides the necessary support to ensure he and the tournament are successful.
The event is held each September, and the planning for next year’s event begins almost immediately afterward. At the end of each tournament, we calculate the amount of sponsorships we have secured, determine the total amount of expenses and calculate the staff time spent on planning the event. As part of this process, my team and I track the number of hours we spend planning the event. This information allows us to determine if the golf tournament had an appropriate return on investment and how we might improve upon it the next year.