We’ve all been there.

You have a special event you’ve done a few times (sometimes LOTS of times), but it’s losing its luster.  And you realize it’s time to make the hard decision to stop doing it.

It can unpleasant, but the time comes when you must decide to stop hosting a particular event.

Here are some signs that the time has come to retire a special event:

  • Revenue from the event is slipping.
  • Fewer people are attending.
  • 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.
  • Everyone is exhausted at the prospect of planning 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.

I remember working at the local 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.

Think about what else you could be doing with your time and energy that might generate more money, awareness, relationships, and goodwill for your organization.  You may be missing a big opportunity simply because you’re stuck in a rut with a particular fundraising event.

  1. I’ve had to put several events down, a 5K, a trivia night and a book sale. The day our board agreed to end the Book Sale that had been going on for over 20 years was one of the happiest days of my life. The Book Sale was raising $5000 over 4 days of the sale, but it took 6 days of staffing with set up and take down to pull it off, not to mention the countless hours of sorting and carrying throughout the year. Being the only staff member under 50, a lot of the heavy lifting (literally) fell on me. Nearly 4 years later, I’m amazed by the volume comments from volunteers and community members about what a shame it is that we no longer have the event.

    • Thanks Marjorie for your comment. It sure can be hard to stop certain events, even if they were fun for volunteers. It’s usually the right decision, though.


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