How to Calculate Event Fundraising ROI

Shawnna Stiver
Shawnna Stiver

You did it! Your fundraising event is over, you raised thousands of dollars and everyone who attended keeps raving that it was a complete success. 

Here’s the thing, though: a well-run event and happy attendees aren’t a true measure of success when it comes to fundraising.

That’s where Return On Investment (ROI) comes in. 

Fundraising event ROI measures the return of an investment based on what it costs to run the event.  

If you’re spending more money on a fundraising event than you’re earning, your organization isn’t going to go very far. It’s important that you calculate potential ROI before your event to be sure that the money you spend is working for your organization. 

To be successful with fundraising you need to minimize expenses and maximize returns. And sometimes to do that well, you need to skip an event altogether.  

Whether you’re running a fundraising event or doing a peer-to-peer online campaign, CauseVox can help deliver a fundraising event ROI that is very high. 

But first, you need to learn how to calculate ROI in the first place.

Learn How To Calculate Fundraising Event ROI

Before you commit to a fundraising event, it’s very important to focus on ROI when it comes to setting your overall fundraising goals. You’ll need to think about how much it will cost to run the event vs. how many participants you have and the dollar amount you expect them to raise.

1. Calculate Event Costs

Estimate what your total costs will be for the event fundraiser. Depending on the type of event, this may include the cost of a location rental, supplies, permits, food, and entertainment.

2. Total Up Staff Time

Now factor in the cost of time for your event staff. 

Even if the event will be staffed by volunteers who have offered their time for free, you should still consider the cost of the time that they volunteer. Take what would be the staff member’s (or volunteer) hourly wage and multiply by the number of hours worked. 

Do this for each staff member and volunteer and then add this total to your total costs. Also consider the number of hours it took to organize the event. 

3. Consider Your Fundraising Goal

Now, consider your fundraising goals for your event. How much are you hoping to raise?

To help you land on a realistic fundraising goal, take these things into consideration:

  • How many people do you plan to engage with your event?
  • Are you charging a fee? If so, how much?
  • If you’re asking your event participants to fundraise, how much are you expecting them each to bring in?

All of these things can factor into your fundraising goals, and therefore your event’s ROI.

 To easily set a goal, multiply the number of participants by the individual fundraising goal from each to arrive at your campaign goal.

i.e. 20 participants x $2,000 minimum raise = $40,000 fundraising goal

And voila! You now have a pretty good idea of what you’ll raise with your event that you can use to estimate your ROI.

4. Calculate Your Fundraising Event ROI

Cross-check this fundraising goal with the amount you’ve budgeted for the cost to run your event. 

Subtract the costs from the money earned through fundraising. This is your net profit. 

Divide the net profit by the cost of the fundraiser and multiply the result by 100. This is your fundraising event ROI.

i.e. $50,000 money earned through fundraising – $35,000 cost of fundraiser = $15,000 net profit

$15,000 net profit / $35,000 cost of fundraiser = 0.4285 x 100 = 42.86% fundraising event ROI 

If the total costs to run your event exceed your fundraising goal, then your event has not been successful and you have lost money. 

A good expense ratio to aim for is 35 percent or less. This means that for every $100 raised, your organization should have paid $35 or less in expenses.

Make sure you’re raising enough for your event to be profitable, or you may want to go back and re-evaluate your fundraiser goals so your organization does not lose money.

Alternative #1: Run Your Event With CauseVox

Running your event with CauseVox means you can streamline your event and raise more money with one seamless process to take registration fees and create personal fundraising pages. 


The lost cost of using CauseVox for event fundraising enables a higher ROI, a low fundraising ratio and more funds that go directly toward your mission. 

The average cost to raise $100 with CauseVox is just $3 (average is figured by using donation tipping, where donors cover your fees, including a credit card processing fee) while a direct mail acquisition costs $138, planned giving is $25 and grants cost $20. If you’re running an event outside of CauseVox, you can expect to pay $50 to raise $100. 

Simply put, if you run your event with CauseVox you’ll raise more on and offline because your expenses are minimal.


Alternative #2: Skip The Event And Run A Peer-to-Peer Online Fundraising Campaign

If there’s a risk your event won’t be profitable, run a peer-to-peer online fundraising campaign instead where you can raise more with less effort. CauseVox’s peer-to-peer platform features clutter-free admin control, time-saving fundraising automation, and real-time reporting so you know exactly how your campaign is going at all times. 

For example, with a fundraising goal of $50,000, you’ll pay just 3 percent ($1,500) to run a peer-to-peer online campaign on CauseVox. The amount you raise is $48,500 which means your fundraising ROI is OVER 3,000 percent!

By comparison the ROI of direct mail is -28 percent. CauseVox yields an 8x ROI compared to grants and 32x ROI compared to benefits and events not run on CauseVox. 


Increase Your Fundraising Event ROI With CauseVox

Ready to earn more profit at your next fundraising event? Increase your ROI with CauseVox

Unlike traditional fundraising software that is clunky, complex, and expensive, CauseVox helps nonprofit marketers and fundraisers do more with less. When you use CauseVox, you get easy control over the day-to-day of your fundraising, automatic reporting, donation receipts, donor tracking and real-time fundraising insights so you don’t have to pull reports.

Most importantly you’ll get less wasted effort with an event that just isn’t working for your organization.  

Sign Up Today

Simplify and grow your fundraising

It honestly felt like using CauseVox expanded our team by another member.

    Easy-to-use Free to get started Cancel anytime
    Copy link
    Powered by Social Snap