It might seem like a little thing that can’t have too much of an impact, but how much thought do you actually give your ticket pricing when organising a fundraising event?
There are several important things to consider to balance things out, especially if you want to make sure you’re offering a good price that will make supporters unable to resist buying them whilst still securing a decent profit for your cause.
Increase Your Donors, Not Just Raise Funds
It’s not just ‘bums on seats’ that’s important when organising a fundraising event – Not only are you selling tickets, but excellent attendance levels mean that you are sharing your cause with more people and potentially converting a whole group of people from event guests to loyal supporters and generous donors.
You’ll have a mix of people – Some will know all about your organisation and the important work you do, and some won’t have a clue, so it’s important to present the facts in an informative way that’s no boring to those who already support you.
Strike a balance between educating new guests, and reigniting the passion in those that already know you.
A common mistake is underselling yourselves. People mistakenly tend to think that the cheaper the ticket/service/item, the more likely you are to sell it. Not true. If the price is too low, people will second-guess why – Is the event going to be a bit naff, is it worth spending the time and effort to go? Or perhaps, they think great, a cheap dinner and evening out for next to nothing, with no expectation of giving anything on the night. Not an ideal mindset for potential guests.
However, too expensive and you price your guests out. At a fundraising event, guests generally expect to spend more money whilst they are there. If the ticket itself is way over their budget, they know they won’t have more to spend on the night, and they are less likely to buy the ticket.
Price it right, and guests expect a high class evening whilst still having the expectation of giving charitably whilst they are there.
It’s not all about the numbers. We’ve said it already – It’s not just a case of getting bums on seats. It might seem like the more people you get in attendance, the more money you will raise, but that’s not necessarily the case.
You could have a function room filled with nearly a thousand people, but if the majority are only there for a fun night out and cheap meal compared to only a handful who are willing to give to your cause and are also in a financial position to do so, then it’s not going to be a very successful fundraiser.
However, imagine a room of just a 100 guests, but all of them affluent people with a philanthropic outlook – Guests who are already passionate about helping people and likely to get behind your charitable mission and be more than willing to donate generously.
You need to think strategically when it comes to putting together your guest list. Seek out your current supporters who are in a position to give more, and encourage them to bring along those in their social circle.
What you want are guests who have money to spend, and are willing to spend it.
The Early Bird Catches The Worm
A great idea to encourage tickets to sell quickly is having two price points – An early bird price, and a regular price. Those who purchase their tickets early get a discount on their ticket price. This gives a great incentive to get people purchasing early which not only gives them the mindset they’ve got themselves a fantastic deal and a night out to look forward to, but it also helps your planning team as well. The earlier your organisers know numbers, the easy it is to plan things in advance, saving lots of stress closer to the event date.
Last minute tickets are great to boost revenue if you’ve still got tickets to sell, but a real pain for those coordinating the details of the event like food orders, tables and name cards.
Always make sure you know all the expenses of your event. Create an expense budget very early on in the planning stages – Write down every little thing and what it will cost. Divide this budget by the number of people you estimate will attend the event, and this gives you the absolute minimum that your ticket price needs to be. If you want to add in a bit of profit margin to the ticket then you can, or you can rely on donations on the night to bring in your fundraising target. You could use this initial calculation as your Early Bird ticket price, and then use the subsequent ticket sales to bring in a bit more profit.
It is important to bear in mind that your ticket price needs to also match your demographic. If your costs come to £10,000 and you’re expecting roughly 100 guests, then that sets your ticket price at £100 – If this is too expensive for the majority of your target audience then you need to have another look at your costs and see where you can make some savings.
Setting ticket prices for your fundraising event is vital for the success of this money raising opportunity. It’s a careful balance between encouraging the right mindset in your guests, attracting the right demographic and educating them about your very worthy cause to invite meaningful donations.