Before we start, I am intentionally making this vague as possible based on the fact that after I either write a blog or publish a video blog, I always get phone calls asking “Are you talking about us?” Me being me, I always say “Why Yes Alice, I am talking about you but I didn’t say your name.”
Over the past several months, I have had the opportunity to attend several events or help several charities with their events where they either did not follow my advice or they had already selected the venue prior to speaking or hiring us.
What most charities don't realize or refuse to believe is that hosting your fundraising event at a "Less Than" venue greatly reduces the success of your fundraising efforts. Affluent or wealthy people will not want to go and large financial sponsors will not be interested solely based on where you are hosting it. The venue speaks volumes about your charity and the guests.
On one occasion, while speaking to people in the crowd, they complained about the bathroom toilets not flushing or the lines to get food were entirely too long. They were right, because I myself stood in the line for 10 minutes then decided I would come back later after everyone got their dinners. The acoustics were absolutely horrible, not understanding a word anyone said on the microphone, the lighting was horrible and the food, well it was ok at best (and that is being generous).
This seems to be a trend though. Charities, especially the smaller ones, do not understand the absolute importance of the “Place” (aka Venue) where they have their event. I’m tired of hearing “People that are here won’t pay an additional $10.00 or $20.00 for a better place.” That is entirely false. The people at the fundraising event that are there won’t pay the additional $10.00 or $20.00 for the place they are currently at – BUT they most certainly will at a much nicer venue. It’s worth it and they know that.
Now how does a bad “Place/Venue” affect spending? People come there, the place is bad, the food is ok but nothing special…do you think they are ready to open their wallets? No, they tend to feel robbed because they paid for their ticket and because the Venue is bad, they will always feel “I spent enough.”
A bad venue shuts them down mentally even before the fundraising begins.
In the reverse, do you know why a very nice venue promotes higher spending? The answer is in the question. I have personally been to many of the best steakhouses in the country and paid ridiculous amounts of money for a meal and especially the steak. I’m here to tell you, the steak at the “Texas Roadhouse” or a similar restaurant is just as good and much less expensive.
Why do people pay more? Because of the venue. The “Ambience” demands a higher price, people are willing to pay more.
If the place is nice and clean, the lighting is great, the food is great, there are no lines for food, the sound is great…the staff is professional…people automatically respond at a much higher level.
The proof is always very easy. I will often ask the client what their “Net” or Profit was at the “Less than” venue – I will always hear a very small number. Every time they argue against moving to a nicer venue, I point at their “Net.”
To prove this to you – how many guests came to your last event? Let’s say 300 people for this example. What was your “Net” (Don’t lie because you’re only lying to yourself here)? Do you know the national norm for successful fundraising begins at $100.00 a head, “Net”? That means if you had 300 people, you should have made at the very least, $30,000.00. Did you? Were you close at least? No? Well, its time to make changes, most important is to find a better Venue. People will pay more for a nicer place, you already know that though. On your wedding anniversary, do you go to McDonalds or to a nice restaurant?
What a nice venue allows you, as the charity, to do is to put more margin (Profit) on the ticket price because the venue is much better. A much nicer menu with much better food will dictate the amount of profit you will ultimately make. Plus the presentation of everything will impress your guests. What's the old saying "The quickest way to a mans heart is through his stomach" - the same holds true to the quickest way to his or her wallet is to take care of their appetites. Give them a great menu and drinks in a very nice place and they will be much more apt to spend or donate more to your charity. I'm not guessing this, I'm telling you it's fact!!!
Take a leap of faith and try it…you’ll see exactly what I’m talking about.
We, BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising, would love to help you plan your next fundraising event. BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising it a leading charity fundraising company in North America and the only full scale Charity Fundraising Event planning company in the world. Contact us at www.BWUnlimited.com.