5-8 hours


Matthew 25:14-30


Day of your Dinner and beyond


Ask the Lord to renew your vision for the dinner. Ask Him for His strength as you move forward because you are most likely exhausted from the dinner and all the preparation beforehand. Ask Him how you can be faithful with the much or little He has given you.



Read Matthew 25:14-30. What has the Lord entrusted to you (both the ministry and the financial resources He has provided the night of your dinner)? How can you be faithful with what He has provided?


It’s the day after your dinner. You probably stayed up late last night. All you want to do is curl into a ball and relax. Yet, the dinner is not done.


In Cru MPD, we use the phrase “thank before you bank.” And in the fellowship dinner world, we use the phrase “out the door in 24.” Either way, it carries the same meaning. We need to show appreciation for people giving of their time and treasure to be invested in this ministry. And we need to nurture relationships with our partners. Remember we are “friend raising” not just fundraising.


Why are we asking you to do the things below?  Do you want to create a lasting impression? Do you want the people who came to your dinner to talk to others about your ministry and about coming to the dinner next year? Then you need to be intentional to build on the relationships you just created.  


If you still wonder why you should do this, check out the FAQ below.



Day After


  • Share with MTL those that gave $600 or more for phone calls and visits

  • Thank You’s Out the Door in 24. Have your Thank You note Party to mail merge and print, then address and hand-sign your Follow Up Letters (edited in Lap 8).


Two Days After


  • Mail thank you cards and gifts to all the key coordinators and remaining program participants (purchased and begun in Lap 9). 


Week After


  • Major Partners: The next day and into the week, please make sure to make a personal phone call or, to go above and beyond, make a personal visit to that Ministry Partner. Anatomy of a Donor Visit

  • Pay venue

  • Pay MinistrySync (If your event is through Cru's corporate partnership, no payment is needed)

  • For Cru staff, send in gifts to HQ (Vision Dinner Gift Counting) - Make sure you use the chartfield (FUNDDEVDIN).

    • First - After the Vision Dinner, you should type in manually every donor name, gift info, address, email, phone number. (Procedures can be used for Winter Conference as well)

    • Second - You should take your donor information and copy and paste it into the worksheet. So if your Vision Dinner data is in excel you will need to copy the first and last name. Then "Paste Special" - "Paste Values Only". Then copy their Address City State etc. and "Paste Special" - "Paste Values Only". You'll, of course, need to make sure the data is in the same order of what you're copying and where you're pasting.

    • Then you can Protect Ranges for the spots it says to protect by highlighting them, right-clicking, and choosing "Protect Range...".

    • Then as you go through your response envelopes one by one, you will search for that guest, find them in the worksheet, and enter their gift info into columns C through E. 


Ongoing: Donor Engagement (Required)


  • Be a good steward of the money given. Track finances to budget for next year. For Cru staff, you can do this through MPDx. Email donation.services@cru.org to get access to an MPDx account for your dinner. Make sure to include your dinner's designation number and what you'd like the account to be named.

  • Consistent follow-up should take place in the weeks and months that follow. E-mail and mail bi-monthly or quarterly newsletters to update the donors on the ministry. As soon as you sign the contract for next year’s dinner, report it to those getting your newsletter.

  • Commitment reminders need to be sent on the 25th of each month to those who make an annual commitment at the dinner. See sample Commitment Reminder Letter.




  • Send a Christmas gift ($2-3 ornament with a note of thanks)

  • Send a team picture with a thank you.

  • Invite to help with Leaders’ Retreats, Fall Getaways, Christmas/Winter Conferences.

  • Invite to help pass out FSKs on campus.

  • Divide ministry partners among the team and have each member responsible for calling a few partners throughout the year. Encourage them with stories of students’ changed lives and “thank you for being a part of that.”


Evaluate your Dinner – Do this with your team. Consider also talking to partners who attended to get their feedback.


  • Location

    • Does the space allow potential for growth?

    • Adequate parking?

    • Was the reception area conducive to connecting with people? 

    • Could you work well with the venue staff?

    • Is the venue able to serve the guests in such a tight timeframe?


  • Guests

    • How did your brainstorming go? Would you change anything?

    • Identify any pockets of the community you may have missed.

    • Were materials printed and distributed early enough? Did table hosts and staff understand deadlines?

    • Assess your Table Hosts. Things to examine: who they invited (potential for further ministry engagement), money raised per table


  • General

    • Prayer: Did you pray regularly?

    • Budgeting


  • Preparedness/Communication

    • Did your coordinators understand their jobs and feel well coached?

    • Did volunteers and program participants know where they were supposed to be and what they were supposed to do during the dinner?

    • Did you have all the equipment/things you needed? Was it well organized?

    • Did the team meetings at the dinner go well (speakers, A/V, registration/welcome, student ushers/greeters, money counters, set-up and tear down)? Is there something you need to communicate better?


  • Program

    • Did you stay on schedule?

    • Did it flow well?

    • Emcee

    • Ministry Update

    • Financial Appeal

    • Video

    • Musician/artistic piece

    • Speaker

    • Student Testimonies 

    • Donor Testimony

    • Any elements missing?


  • Registration

    • Welcome/greeting

    • Efficiency/smoothness

    • Handling special cases


  • Money collecting and counting


  • Set up and Tear down


  • Any notes on centerpieces, décor, theme, set-up of materials on tables?



  • After dinner

    • Enough people and good preparation/turnaround for thank you party?

    • Any follow up donor engagement you want to try or do better this year?


Preparing for Next Year


  • Based on your evaluation, make action points for next year.

  • Pencil in next year’s dinner, dates and location (get contracts signed by HQ as soon as possible)

  • Consider asking partners from the dinner about being a part of a Development Council for your ministry. Read more in this Development Council Manual.


Immediate Feedback (on TeamGold) from the TL/ODC:


  • Please fill out this very short TeamGold Survey to help us continue to serve you better.

  • What was your favorite part of the Vision Dinner process?

  • What did you/ your team gain from the process or the dinner itself?



  • Why is it important to send thank you letters out within the first 24 hours and why must I call new and current partners who make commitments or give gifts of $600 or more and actually meet with partners who make commitments or give gifts of $1000 or more?  Won’t they feel like we are bugging them?

  • Your dinner did very well for a few years but now the attendance is going down. Does this mean that people are getting tired of your dinner or this strategy? 

©2019 Cru. These materials cannot be duplicated in any form without the permission of James W. Dempsey, with the exception of worksheets and forms. None of these materials should be used for profit.