Designing Strategic Outcomes for Your Events

Strategic outcomes? That’s just a fancy way of saying “goals” … right?


Strategic outcomes are the organizational or corporate end-result of the event.  Strategic outcomes are what moves your organization or company to the next level. Strategic outcomes are the entire reason your event exists.  Goal-setting for your event will eventually become part of the process, but it all starts with the desired strategic outcomes.

To identify your strategic outcomes, think about two simple questions:

1. What Are We Trying To Accomplish?

Events have to have a reason. What does this event need to accomplish? Are you trying to increase sales? Increase fund-raising? Expand existing markets? Improve team productivity? Train volunteers or employees?

At this stage, we aren’t setting SMART goals or identifying the desired result.  This is as simple as identifying the one or two high-level outcomes for your event. 

For example purposes, let’s say we are planning an event where the high-level outcome is to increase fund-raising. We’ve just answered the question – “increase fund-raising.” That’s it, just a few words.  This step is that simple.

2. Why Now?

Once you understand what you are trying to accomplish, it’s time to think about “why now?”  What is this outcome a priority now? Why not something else?  Does this outcome support our overall strategy, and how?

Sometimes the outcome of this step is that something else really should be a higher priority. That’s OK. If that happens, return to step one with that new priority. If what you identified in step one really is the top priority, ensure that you fully understand and can articulate the answer to "why now."  It is imperative that everyone on the planning team (executives, staff, volunteers, vendors, etc) understand the answer to deliver the best-results.

Back to our example … We are trying to increase fund-raising. Why now? Perhaps you are about to kick-off a capital campaign? Could be that you are starting a new program that needs funding?  Maybe you will be starting a construction project for a new facility soon? Once you answer the “why now” question, you’ll have something like, “we need to increase fund-raising because we have developed a new community program that needs to be funded.”  These 18 words are succinct, clear, and easy to articulate to everyone involved in the planning. 

Once you have identified the reason your event exists, you have found your Strategic Outcome and that becomes the foundation of every step you take when planning the event. Every strategic and logistical decision (including how you will measure the impact) should be made with these outcomes in mind.

Want to know more?  Learn about our Strategic Event Consulting where we can help you define your strategic outcomes.