Taking Care of Business: Tips for Staying on Top of Your Workload while Planning an Event

By default, being employed at a non-profit means you wear many hats. The tidy job title posted outside your cube doesn’t mean the duties you take on are limited to “Database Administrator” or “Director of Corporate Sponsorships.”

While it’s true that these varied roles and responsibilities provide an opportunity to build an expanded skill set, when an organization decides to take on a tremendous feat like planning a fundraising event, staff can start to feel the pinch.

Organizations that plan and execute fundraising events on an annual basis often develop a rhythm during the planning season; one or two staff manages the initial stages, then the workload begins to trickle over onto other teams, until finally it’s an all-hands-on-deck effort and everyone is contributing their sweat and (sometimes) tears.

This process can be manageable when all parties involved simply duck their heads and get to work, but it can also result in overwhelmed and exhausted employees who aren’t able to stay on top of their “usual” responsibilities. The event needs to be planned and executed, but grants still need to be written, donors still need to be thanked, and the general operations of the development department still needs to continue.

We understand these feelings of defeat and and exhaustion because we see it with so many of our clients. In fact, most of our Event Managers have come to Auction Harmony from a career in non-profit fundraising; we really do get it! But truthfully, planning your event doesn’t need to be this way. Here are a handful of ways we have seen our clients eliminate inefficiencies to create space in their schedules to keep up with their usual work while planning their event using our services.


Remain Open to New Methods

We know there are people who love their Excel spreadsheets, but sometimes there are easier ways to compile and manage all of your pre-event data. Working with Auction Harmony allows you to utilize our unique Event Organizer, which houses all of your guest, donor, and silent auction data. This tool also allows you to generate reports of various segments of your data with the click of a button, and provides the opportunity to easily disperse the management of data to more than one person.

Designate Specific Tasks to Specific People

This may sound obvious, but when tasks are assigned to specific staff members, the result is an organized and systematic approach to completing the work.  Too many people working on the same tasks can create errors, inconsistency, and miscommunication. Allowing a handful of staff to manage a set scope of work provides ownership, mastery, and accountability.

Utilize Your Resources

It can be challenging to learn how to use new tools, let go of old habits, and allow others to be involved in the planning process. We understand completely. This is why each client is assigned to an Event Manager who is responsible for conducting trainings on the Event Organizer, answering questions, easing frustrations, and serves as your advocate the whole way through the planning process right up until event night. Our event-day technology is just one aspect of our services; the assistance and expertise we provide in the months leading up to the event can often be the quiet hero of the work we do.  Let us help along the way, and you’ll be surprised how seamlessly the work can come together.

Continue to Do Your Work

You’ve invested in our services, you’ve learned how to use our tools, you’ve delegated tasks to other staff members, and you reach out for help when you need it. Guess what? You might just find yourself with a little more time on your hands to continue writing your grants, steward your donors, and manage your other workload. We consider it a tremendous success when your event exceeds your fund-a-need goal, or your silent auction generates three times more with the help of our technology. But we also consider it a success when you have the time in the months leading up to the event to meet with your donors and secure major gifts, research new funding opportunities, and continue to stay on track with other fiscal goals of the organization. We specialize in events, but we recognize that the dollars raised during an event are just one part of our clients’ overall financial goals. We support all aspects of your organization, not just your event. By using our services, we hope to help you stay on track and on top of every area of your work.

Now we would love to hear from you! What areas of your work get pushed to the sidelines during the months before the event? What tools would be the most helpful to you in streamlining your processes? How do you think our tools could benefit you and your organization?


We learn from each other, so feel free to leave your feedback in the comments section below.