Special events have their place in a well-rounded fundraising program. They can generate buzz about your organization, help you gain exposure to new audiences, and give you a break from other fundraising activities.

But sometimes an event starts to lose its luster. And you have to stop doing it.

It can be a tough decision to make, but the time comes when you must decide to stop hosting a particular event.

Here are some signs that the time has come:

  • Revenue from the event is slipping.
  • Fewer people are attending.
  • It is becoming more difficult to get Board members and volunteers excited about the event.
  • Media sponsors aren’t interested anymore.
  • Corporate sponsors aren’t interested either.
  • If you included labor cost in your financial summary, you would definitely be losing money on the event.

Unless the event is accomplishing something specific that you aren’t getting through any other channel (awareness or friend-raising), it’s time to shut it down.

Saying Goodbye to a fundraising event - Sandy Rees Fundraising Coach

Wave goodbye to events with a low ROI.


I remember working at the Food Bank and the time came to stop doing a 5K race that we had done for several years. We just weren’t raising enough money to justify doing it, and we had several other events during the year that were satisfying our need for publicity.

It was a tough decision, but we made it, and stopped holding that event. It was very freeing actually. And we had time and energy to put into other things.

What else could you be doing if you spent that time, money and energy on other fundraising efforts?

Maybe, just maybe, it’s time to say goodbye to that special event and hello to a new way of raising money.

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