The reoccurring theme to any successful event is that it appeals to the needs and desires of your audience. This concept is particularly important for non-profit event planners because attendance numbers are directly connected to fundraising performance. Having more people at your event generally makes it easier to raise more money. With that in mind, here are a few ideas to develop a function that attracts more attendees.
Idea #1: Celebrity Performance
Celebrity appearances have long been a staple of non-profit campaigns, almost to the point where they have lost their luster. It certainly won’t hurt your cause to have a celebrity on the guest list, but getting them to perform can drive interest to a whole other level. There is a substantial difference between seeing Taylor Swift at a party, and watching Taylor Swift perform a song live. And one song is all it takes to create a memorable experience, so push celebrities to get involved with your event instead of just attending it.
Idea #2: Go Kid Friendly
If you are marketing to ages 30 and up then you should go out of your way to accommodate children if at all possible. Eliminating the “babysitter excuse” can dramatically increase your attendance in the parent demographic. Now there are two approaches to a kid friendly event. First, you can center your activities on family fun by choosing a picnic or carnival theme. Your second option is to host child care at the event. Contact churches and local schools to recruit teenagers to supervise the kids. Limit the child care option to RSVP only so you can prepare with the right sized room and staff.
Idea #3: Host a Dating Event
The number one challenge single people have with dating is finding good places to meet new people. You can solve this problem and attract new supporters to your cause by hosting a dating event. Popular formats to experiment with include speed dating, bachelor auctions and scavenger hunts. One of the best audiences to target is young professionals. These are the future leaders of your city, and bringing them together is a great way to build a foundation of support for the future of your organization.
Idea #4: VIP Access
Similar to celebrity performances, offering a peak behind the scenes of a popular destination is guaranteed to attract buzz for your event. Every city has a famous landmark, museum or sports venue that draws waves of visitors. Capitalize on their existing popularity by arranging an inside look or exclusive accommodations at these locations. Perhaps you can host an evening event at the art museum, or find a way to get your group on the field to watch batting practice. The closer you get to an once-in-a-lifetime experience the more you can charge for tickets.
Idea #5: Food and Wine Demonstrations
The meteoric rise of cooking shows on television has brought out the inner chef in all of us. Food and wine are two things that practically everyone has some level of interest in, so it should be easy to sell tickets to an event like this. Find a well-known local chef to perform a live demonstration, and accent the room with tasting stations that feature local restaurants. Generate your revenue by either selling tickets or partnering with the restaurants on a revenue share. You can add to the fundraising efforts by auctioning restaurant gift cards and gourmet food and wine baskets.
The ideas here are just some of ways you can create a unique non-profit event that caters to your crowd. Formal dinner events will always be popular, but they are not always the best way to engage your supporters. The best events generate excitement and anticipation weeks before the RSVP date. This is what sells tickets and prompts others to attend, giving you more time to focus on planning the event.