Worried that you won’t have enough guests at your next event? It happens sometimes. But when ticket sales are slow and your event is right around the corner, it can be unnerving. What can you do?
Don’t panic. Seriously, don’t. Especially if you have a fall event and it’s the end of summer. Many folks are just not paying attention and are still trying to soak up the last few days of summer. Be patient yet consistent with your communications and eventually your messaging will break through the vacation fog.
Along those lines, keep in mind that having more people at your event is not always better - especially when it comes to fundraising events. You want the right people there and if you have the right people there you will have exactly the right amount. No need to fill an event with onlookers only there to enjoy the views and the food! You want donors who will help you do your important work.
Now, take a breath and let’s explore how to get the right people into your room quickly.
Your Board Was Made For This Moment
First, check in with your board. How active are they with your ticket and table sales? Read our blog post on how to get your board involved in your next event. At the very least reach out to those who have not yet made a commitment and ask them to confirm their commitment to attend, and if they are not already hosting a table, ask them if they would be willing to sell 8-10 tickets to fill a table of friends, colleagues, etc who would love to attend this event. Another ask could be for them to bring 1-2 couples who are like minded who they believe could spend money at the event.
Lean On Your Friends
After your board members, another group to solicit is your tried and true fans and friends. Long time donors, people who attend the event every year but who maybe have not bought a table but who you know would do anything for you. Ask them if they would be open to bringing another couple who would have the capacity and interest to participate at a level at the event like they do. You’ll be amazed at how many of your donors will be happy to do this for you. It’s a great way for them to share more about an organization they care about, and it’s much easier than filling a table (and could lead to them hosting a table in the future).
Who Do You Give Money To?
Another group is your current vendors. Are there people you do business with who you think would be excellent guests/sponsors? This is a good question to ask board members and committee members too (and even volunteers). You just never know where these phone or in-person conversations will lead.
Get On The Phone
There are times that no matter how many emails you send or save the date postcards that hit the mail, registration remains slow. It’s time to get on the phone if you haven’t already. Have your board, staff, and leadership volunteers get on the phone to previous attendees who have not yet purchased tickets and remind them of the event coming up, thank them for coming last year, and build excitement for the event this year and ask them if they would be interested in buying a ticket. If they can’t attend, ask for an absentee gift to show their support (if you need help developing a plan around this, reach out).
Start to build excitement on your website and social media for the event. Have you sold out before? Anything noteworthy from past events? Build that into your messaging. You can show photos from past events to highlight the fun, start to provide sneak peaks of auction items to build excitement (and sell raffle tickets if you’re having one of those), you can make fun posts about the theme, share some of your vision of the future and what you could do if you meet your fundraising goals and invite people to help you reach that goal by showing up and supporting the event. This can also help lay the groundwork for the event night.
Reach out if you want to explore more ways to reach your attendance goals.