As an event you’ve worked hard to plan and execute comes to an end, you may feel yourself breathing a sigh of relief. After all, your event was a success, and all that hard work paid off. Your guests had a great time, and volunteers and employees who helped to make it all happen feel proud of their work. That doesn’t mean that your work is done, however, especially if you are planning to hold other events in the future. There are still a few wrap-up steps that you should take. Taking a little extra time after your event can help you with accounting as well as planning for next year’s event.
- Say “thank you” to all involved.
Take some time to thank everybody who was involved with your event, whether they helped plan or staff the event, or simply attended it. Station someone at the door to say thank you and goodnight to guests as they leave. Or send out emails or thank-you cards in the mail the next day. Emails are fine, but cards can make even more of a personal impact if you have mailing addresses, especially to thank volunteers. Emails do have their advantages though; you can reach out more regularly to someone if you can get them to sign up for your newsletter. If anyone really stood out during the planning process, you may want to go the extra mile and thank them on LinkedIn for their great work.
- Evaluate feedback.
Hopefully you remembered to send out a survey at some point during the event. With survey forms, guests at your event can provide you with feedback on the activities, speakers, catering, and other aspects of an event. Meet with your event planning committee and take some time to go over the feedback together. Write down a summary of how the event unfolded, as well as your evaluation of its success, incorporating feedback from the forms.
Save the forms and the summary in a binder for next year. That way when your planning committee meets again, you will have a great starting point for planning your next event. Incorporating feedback into your planning, your next event will be even better than this one. You’ll be able to avoid mistakes that you might have made, and better serve the needs of your participants. Participants may also be able to give you some amazing ideas for future activities and venues which you never would have thought of on your own. The most enjoyable events are often collaborative experiences.
Another chore you will want to take care of as soon as possible is accounting related to your event. Go over your invoices and see which ones you still haven’t paid. Take care of the payments to caterers, the venue, equipment rental agencies, and others who helped you to put together the event. Discuss budgeting with your committee. Did you stay within your budgeting goals for this year’s event? Are there any areas where you could cut back next year? Can you justify a larger budget next time?
This is also a good time to review whether practical goals were met. If you had fundraising goals, did you meet or exceed them? If your goals were sign-ups, how many new potential customers did you interest? It may take a little more time to establish whether your event met its practical goals. If you were particularly successful, you may want to budget more for an even bigger event next year.
- Keep in touch with volunteers and attendees.
If you had volunteers or attendees who do not work for your company directly, it is a great idea to try and keep in touch with them. When you send out your thank-you email, you can ask them to opt into a newsletter. You can also ask them whether they would be interested in future events sponsored by your organization. This is also a good time to ask for any additional feedback you are looking for. Quotes from attendees who had a great time can be used in promotional materials in the future. Always ask permission of an attendee before you use his or her quotation in any materials that you distribute or post.
This is a multi-step process. Even though your event is already over, you can still promote its success on social media channels. Share stories and anecdotes, photographs, and videos of your event. You will eventually be able to use these promotional materials to generate interest in your future events. Potential attendees will be able to look at last year’s event online and have some idea what to expect from your next event. Regularly engage interested parties online and offline throughout the year. Keep the buzz going, and build anticipation slowly over the course of time.