Friday, January 19, 2018

Fundraising 101: Incorrect thinking when planning for your guests and supporters.

I just have a simple question - are you or is anyone involved in the planning of your event a "Magician" or a "Mind Reader"?

No?  Then continue reading - A major problem that occurs when charities or their planners are planning their event is simply this – they think for themselves and not for their guests.  Perhaps, this is the WORST practice that anyone could ever do. 

Let me give you an example – Charities often plan events with a theme and as an example, lets say it has a “James Bond 007” theme.  Here is where the problems begin:

#1 – They chose a menu which matches the theme.
#2 – They contact us and ask for James Bond items.
#3 – They ask their guests to dress within the theme.

Now from the outset, it seems like a very interesting theme however, the reality is simply this which most planners seem to forget – Just because there is a theme, people still like what they like and all people are generally the same. 

When planning your event, you have to think for your guests and not for what you like.  This is a common problem and devastating to the end result.

Let’s say planners are planning a “German” themed event.  They want a German menu, German drinks and then will inevitably want German themed items on their auctions along with German music.  They may even have it in a German venue.  So here are questions to ask yourself:

#1 – Will your guests like this?
#2 – Will your guests like the menu?
#3 – Will they like the music?
#4 – Will they bid on German themed items?
#5 – Will they like the venue?

The reality is simply this again – everyone enjoys the same things – good food, good music or entertainment and of course, exciting items to bid on.

Since we are an auction item provider to well over 1,400 charities a year – we are well aware of what people like…because of all the mistakes we have made in the past.  We have planned many events with many different menus’ – both plated and buffet in many different venues.

In every crowd, here is a common theme – keep in mind, people are the same in Maryland as they are in Texas, in Florida, in California, in Alaska, in Michigan and in Boston. 

#1 – Everyone enjoys a very nice venue.
#2 – Everyone enjoys great food and plenty of it.
#3 – Everyone likes good drinks.
#4 – Everyone likes to be entertained and most commonly, they enjoy a wide array of music types – that is why I normally suggest a DJ.
#5 – In every single crowd, there are people who like Sports, Jewelry, exciting décor and Vacation Packages.
#6 – Everyone enjoys a well-planned event.

When you insist that your guest like what you do, you will lose every single time.  Try to think for the masses and not for yourself or your group.  Don’t insist they like what you do or make them like it.

Here is another issue which I always advise my clients and vitally important when planning your event.  The two most important aspects to understand that ensures your event is a success – the Venue & the Menu.

You can’t argue with me, this is a “What will you do for me” society.  The Venue is VITALLY important to the success of your event.  No one wants to go to a place that is “Less than.” 

A common mistake which if you think about it, makes ZERO sense is that if a charity hosts an event at a “Lesser or Cheaper” venue and don’t spend much on food or services, they will make more profit.  This is the exact opposite of what is reality.  Here is why but I want you to ask your husband or wife:

#1 – If you had the choice – would you go to the American Legion or Ruth Chris Steakhouse for dinner?

Do I need to give you the answer?  Everyone wants to go to a nice place, get dressed up and have a great time.  Going the “Cheaper Way” will give you a less than successful event.  You can’t mark up your ticket prices at a less than venue - your guests know what they should be paying and will be angered by paying a high price for a "Less than" menu - and that will immediately hurt your profit or fundraising success - believe me.

The venue is key but you have to grasp and understand “You have to spend money to make money” – The venue and menu is the bate to come to your event. 

In closing, when you are planning your event, don’t think about yourself, what you like and what you want…think about what your guests and supporters would enjoy.  Also, remember, the venue is 100% important  to the success of your event – “You have to spend money to make money.”  Ask yourself this:

#1 – If you were having legal problems – would you want the best attorney or some guy up the street to represent you?

#2 – If you had medical issues – would you want your mechanic neighbor giving you medical advise?

If not, why then do charities place people in charge of planning their fundraisers who have absolutely no experience?

If we can help you plan an event that will attract many more supporters and give your guests the event they will love, contact us at

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American Charity Fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  While helping over 1,400 charities a year, we are only charity fundraisers and don’t do anything else such as real estate auctions, plan weddings or bar mitzvah’s…we are only charity fundaisers and are the absolute experts in the field across the country.

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