What You Should Do after You Host an Event for Your Nonprofit
Write thank-you notes soon after the event to all your nonprofit’s committee members and volunteers and make them as specific and personal as possible. They don’t have to be long. Many people find handwritten notes of two or three lines to be much more sincere and memorable than boilerplate letters.
The thank-you letters you send to the attendees should clearly define how much money was donated and the cost of goods and services for the event. For example, if you host a dinner and the ticket cost is $50 per person and the food and beverage cost is $25 per person, the thank-you letter should thank the attendee for the $50 contribution and mention that the tax-deductible amount of the donation is $25.
Thank-you letters for purchasing auction items should reference the amount paid for an item and the fair market value for the item as provided by the item’s donor. It is a good idea to add language like, “Please consult your tax advisor for specific tax advice.” Event donations can be tricky, and this can keep you out of the business of providing tax advice.
Thank-you letters also should be sent to any person or business that made an in-kind contribution to the event. If you held an auction at the event, you can note that the auction generated $10,000 that wouldn’t have been possible without the generous donation from the XYZ Gift Emporium.
You should also hold a brief gathering for your key organizers and volunteers a week or two after the event. You can thank them personally again for their effort, but the real purpose is to get their ideas about what worked, what needs to be improved, and what should happen in the future. You may want to invite a few attendees to this meeting and solicit feedback from their perspective. Good records of this wrap-up meeting are a jumping-off point for planning the following year’s program.