Event Planning and the Importance of “Why?”

Hosting events can be very productive and beneficial to your church.  Fundraisers, marriage retreats, banquets, and outreach events that serve your community may be a core part of your church’s strategy.  However, if you’re running the same events year after year, it might be time to ask “why”.

At first glance, each event may seem successful if money is raised or people keep attending.  However, do you know why you hold these events?  You knew when you first started them but are those reasons still valid?  Have you examined each event to decide if you should continue them the next year?  Do you have specific, measureable goals for each event?  Are those goals written down and well known among your staff and volunteers?  If not, I challenge you to use the following questions with your staff and key volunteers to evaluate each event as you plan the upcoming monthly, quarterly, or yearly schedule.

Event Evaluation Questions:

  1. What are the goals of this event?  What are the desired outcomes?  A certain amount of money raised, number of people participating, etc.?
  2. Have we met those goals with this event?  If so, why?  If not, why?  Based on the answers, what (if anything) should we change to make the event more successful?
  3. Does this event cause our staff and/or volunteers to be exhausted and frustrated?  If so, why?  If not, why?
  4. Are there other events we’re not doing because of our existing event schedule?  If so, should we add that event to the schedule or replace an existing event?
  5. Are we doing this event “because that’s what we’ve always done” or because it’s successful?

As you start asking these questions, be prepared to hear things you may not like.  You may have had the idea to start one of these events and feel an emotional attachment to something that you’re now hearing has outlived its usefulness.  It can hurt to let go of an event but that might be what’s in the best interest of your organization.

You may still do all of the same events, make a few changes, eliminate and/or replace events. Don’t just do the same things each year – do what makes sense for your church and what you need to accomplish this year.  Yes, that can be more work.  Yes, it can be difficult to remove an event.  However, the payoff could be the creation of schedule that is refreshing and rejuvenating for your staff, volunteers and participants.  You’ll never know until you ask “why”.

Is this you after a church event?

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  • Mike Henry Sr.

    Another question might be: “What positive outcomes result and do they align with the core purpose of the organization?” This question happens to be my biggest challenge all the time. There are great ideas, but no one can execute on everything. We’re at our best when we focus on the efforts that provide the best opportunity to propel the mission.

    Thanks for a great post. Mike…

    • Deborah Wipf

      Mike – Great point! It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of an event regardless of whether it truly aligns with the core purpose of the organization. The event itself may be okay, but if it isn’t at the heart of the organization’s mission then it could be consuming resources at the expense of something better. Thanks for the insight!