Create an Event Guide to Pass on to the Next Event Planner

As someone who has volunteered to help plan and execute charity fundraising events, I personally know how difficult it can be to get the 411 on last year’s event. When you take on this job, you desperately want to know what worked last year, what didn’t, what vendors were used, what documents can be repurposed, etc.

Many times an event organizer will plan and executive an event but not pass along this crucial information to their successor. Rather, they make their successor recreate the wheel based on anecdotes from volunteers and staff of year’s past.

If you’re planning a fundraising event, take the time to create an event guide that you can pass along to your successor.  Even if you’re the successor and will be planning next year’s event, you’ll appreciate having all this information in one place.  If you’re like me, you’ll forget various details and will spend more time searching for information that could have been easily filed away in an event guide.

The key to creating an event guide is that it not only includes all details pertinent to the event, like the caterer’s contact information, menu details and costs, but also that it includes commentary. Was the food good? Was there enough? Too much? Did the portions look generous? Did the buffet-style create long lines? Did you need a second buffet table? This kind of information is just as essential as knowing the caterer’s name and what dishes were served!

Collect information to file away in your event guide as you go along, and then add commentary at the end after you’ve had time to reflect on the event. This is a time sensitive activity. Don’t wait weeks or months to put this together. Get it organized while everything is fresh in your head.

Here are some suggestions as to what to include in your organization fundraising event guide:


  • Event budget vs. actual spend on each item
  • Amount raised from each activity
  • Important receipts

Vendor Info

  • List of all event contractors and signed contracts

Staff & Volunteers

  • List of all volunteers and assigned roles


  • List of all silent and live auction donors, contact info, addresses, etc.
  • List of silent auction basket themes and items
  • Copy of letter used to solicit silent auction donations
  • Copy of tax ID information provided to auction donors
  • Copy of thank you letter sent to auction donors
  • Analysis of bid sheets (what items received a lot of bids, no bids)


  • Copy of letter used to solicit event sponsors
  • Copy of thank you letter sent to event sponsors


  • Copy of letter sent to guests making donations to your organization
  • List of invited guests
  • Guest attendee list

Marketing Materials

  • Copy of event invitation
  • Copy of press release and any resulting press clips
  • Marketing plan and efforts

Creating a fundraising event guide to pass on to your successor will ensure the event you worked so hard for in the past will continue to thrive in the future. Just imagine the legacy you will pass on when you properly prepare your successor to learn from and build upon the amazing fundraising event you once planned.


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