After more than 20 years of planning fundraising efforts and events, I have been in post-event and post-project wrap meetings from a variety of perspectives. As a staff member, a volunteer, a Board member, a consultant and so on. I have been present at meetings that were just gripe sessions and ones that hashed and re-hashed all the things that went wrong; who was responsible, what was missed, etc., in such detail that it's painful.
While a recap of those things IS important, I have found that the more important thing is to focus on how to move forward. How to take the lumps from the things that didn't go so well, and then discuss what to do for next time.
Here are some suggestions:
- Gather the areas for improvement via an email request or during phone conversations with key parties. This should be done internally and externally. Compile a comprehensive list. Next to the issue, begin a ways to avoid, fix and/or improve those issues.
- Share these findings AND some preliminary solutions, IN ADVANCE of the wrap meeting. Now your committee, Board, volunteers, others, etc. will know that you are as concerned about these items as they are and that you have already begun thinking about how to mitigate those issues in the future. You can also asked them to make additional suggestions on the items listed.
- Plan the agenda with more time on the future than the past. Share the list of issues and improvement suggestions, but don't dwell on it. Everyone should have already had an opportunity to give feedback. and you can offer an additional opportunity when you send the meeting notes.
- To maximize the event or project make sure agenda includes time to discuss attendees or participants and how they can be further engaged. What are the next steps to bring them closer to your organization? This discussion will be time well-spent!