Monday, May 24, 2021

With every single fundraising event which has tickets to attend, the same question pops up time and time again - should you “Comp” or give someone free tickets to attend?  This “Myth vs. Facts” blog hopefully will answer your questions.

 Here are a few things for you to consider when contemplating “Comping” tickets:

#1 – There is really no such thing as “Free Tickets” – Someone somewhere will actually be paying for those free tickets.  If you have costs with your event, those costs will have to be covered.  Normally, the costs are covered by ticket sales.  However, if you are giving away tickets, who is going to pay for the tickets you gave away?

#2 – Free Tickets to someone who donates an item or items – You may ask someone for a donation of an item or items for you auction or raffles.  As an example – the price of your ticket is $75.00 per person with your actual cost (which you have to pay out for food etc.) is $50.00.  The donor will give you and item which “Retails” for $150.00 and requests 2 free tickets.  So in this instance, it appears that you will be profiting $50.00.  Since you can not control what an item sells for in an auction, you place the item in your auction and it only sells for $75.00 instead of $150.00…you just lost $25.00.  This is what is referred to as an “In Kind” donation – someone gives you something and “In Kind” you give them something. 

#3 – “No Skin in the Game” – When people pay for tickets, they will attend your event because they spent money.  However, if you give someone free tickets, they have nothing invested so there is really nothing promising they will attend.  The day of your event, something comes up, they may not attend since they spent nothing on the tickets.  You are then left with paying for the spots and also empty seats. 

#4 – They will spend money at the event to cover the cost of the free tickets – There is absolutely no proof this will or does occur, this is a Myth.  Consider this – if you need to give someone free tickets to attend, should you have them at your event in the first place?  If they wanted to come and support you, they would most definitely buy tickets.  But they need free tickets to show their support such as politicians, athletes and celebrities…or simply people you know.  You can ask them to spend money there but you can’t force them. 

#5 – Is taking people to a party a part of the mission of your charity? – This is a common practice in certain arenas to give away free tickets to the people who a charities mission involves.  For instance, I (George Wooden) am a US Marine Corps Veteran and a retired Police Officer.  Charities who serve veterans and first responders normally help with mental health, medical needs, doctor bills etc., but their mission is not to take these heroes to a party.   If a charity who helps either veterans or first responders gives away free tickets to them to attend a fundraiser, even if someone else buys tickets to give to them, would it not be a better practice to use that donated money for the mission of the charity to help them and sell those tickets to supporters who will donate to help raise more money?

Remember, think of your mission first and why you are hosting a fundraiser.  Aren’t you trying to raise money?  Also, there is no such thing as a free ticket – someone will have to pay for that person to attend and more times than not, it’s your charity.  You’re far better off raising money to fund the mission of your charity. 

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American charity fundraising leader in a convenient “One Shop” setting.  We help charities like yours all across the country host highly profitable fundraisers from coast to coast.  If we can help you, contact us at 443.206.6121 or go to our website at


Thursday, May 6, 2021

Common Mistake: How big is your fundraising cake?

A common mistake most people planning a charity fundraiser make is not understanding the need and definite positive impact a professional fundraiser will have on the amount of money they raise.

In fact, commonly, they will think to themselves or friends/family will say “Why would we pay that?  We don’t want to give them a portion of what we make” as if they are talking about a cake.  They believe that if they plan and host their own fundraiser, it will be the same size and make just as much as if they had professional help.  Think of it as if they are talking about a cake.  They believe that they will be have to give a section of their cake away.

However, what they fail to realize is how big is the cake they are believing they have?  Without the help of a professional fundraiser or auctioneer, their cake is small like a tiny cupcake.  They believe they will have to give a section of that away.  That then will leave less for them.

But in reality, when they hire or have the assistance of a professional fundraiser or auctioneer, the cake grows dramatically.  So much so that the original cake or cupcake is merely a crumb in comparison.  With the growth of the cake or the amount of fundraising dollars, paying the professional fundraiser makes sense because the goal is to raise as much money as possible.

The mistake they commonly forget is that they are living a full-time life, with a full time job, with a full time family and full time commitments – then they are asked to be fundraisers without a clue how to truly fundraise.

The time commitment alone is daunting then getting everything together will exhaust anyone.  Plus locating the correct venue to host it in is vitally important as well.  Are you prepared to work full time in order to be successful?  If not, why are you doing it then? 

Of course, anyone can fundraise just like anyone can dance – but thinking the way that these potential fundraisers do…are they Prima Ballerinas?  No not at all.  They don’t realize successful fundraising is extremely strategic, deals with psychology coupled with event planning.  A professional fundraiser or charity auctioneer must keep track of fundraising trends and techniques which are changing rapidly.  They must understand the flow of the venue they are hosting their event in.  Where and how to set up the event in order to be effective. 

This has happened to us on many occasions – people will attend one of our events while videoing our Live and Silent Auction along with the raffles.  True, anyone can put items out on a table and sell them.  But do they understand why those items are there as opposed to somewhere else?  Why are they set up that way, what is the goal of the fundraising platform they are set up in or at.  There are hundreds of small fundraising cogs moving in perfect harmony to make the final event a success.

So the next time you think “Why would I want to give him or her a piece of our fundraising cake” ask yourself… “How big is your cake” – is it a cupcake or a massive sheet cake?

BW Unlimited Charity Fundraising is a North American charity fundraising leader in a convenient “One Stop Shop” setting.  We specialize in making our clients lives easier by planning it, managing their committees and hosting an event like no one has ever seen before that will raise more money than they could ever expect.  Contact us today at 443.206.6121.