When planning a fundraising event, your auction committee will meet many times throughout the year. While each of those meetings is valuable, one of the most important meetings will take place following the event: the debriefing.

Debriefing or “post-event analysis” meetings are critical because they set the stage for next year’s event and play a key role in defining future success. Although it might be tempting to skip the post-auction meeting, it’s essential that you meet one to two weeks after the event to analyze how it went.

Try to find a time when both this year’s and next year’s committee members can attend. During the debriefing meeting, there are several topics you will want to discuss. Here are some examples of what your agenda should cover: 

Show Gratitude

Before you start discussing the event, take some time to thank the committee members for their hard work. You can even call out certain people who went above and beyond to make the event a success. It’s important that your members feel appreciated, and of course you want them to remain committed to the cause.  

Identify What Worked

Start off with the positives by going around the room and asking each committee member to share their feedback. What went well? Was there anything new you tried this year? Try to pinpoint the strategies that resulted in the biggest payoff, in terms of both fundraising dollars and donor relations. If you received any positive feedback from donors, be sure to share that information as well.

Discuss What Didn’t Work

No matter how successful your charity auction was, there is always room for improvement. Go around the room again and have each committee member share their feedback on areas that didn’t work so well at the event. Encourage your team to be constructive. Members can discuss anything from the venue decorations to the auction items acquired.

Brainstorm Possible Solutions

Now that you’ve pinpointed strategies and areas that need some work, take some time to brainstorm solutions. What improvements can be made to next year’s event? What steps can you take so that you don’t make the same mistakes twice? You won’t come up with all of the answers during this meeting, but beginning the discussion now will have positive impact down the road. Write down possible solutions and suggestions and come back to them in future meetings.

Establish Goals

Finish the meeting by discussing goals that you want to achieve at next year’s event. Setting event goals is a great way to start building excitement and will keep your committee focused on the long-term objectives your organization is trying to achieve. Before you end the meeting, set a date for the next committee meeting so you can kick off the planning for your next event!