I told her…I warned her but she just wouldn’t listen to me. So, I had to let her experience it for herself. Even though I hated to see her financially demolished…she thought I was wrong and they were right because in the end, they were all of close friends. I cringed when I got the phone call and heard her crying her eyes out “What am I going to do George…oh my god what am I going to do? (Sobbing)…I should have listened to you, I’m such a fool.” But I saw that train wreck from miles away.
More about the above in a little while but for now, I want and need you to understand this. First, understand that I and everyone from BW Unlimited is here to protect you, our Charity Partners and Clients all over North America.
If you ask anyone about me, they will tell you that I am an extremely direct person. I don’t cut corners, I don’t “Fluff” anything and I’m not a hand holder or a Yes Man. If you don’t want to hear the truth, you better walk away because I am going to say what desperately needs to be said. So here it goes…
If you’re a Gambler, then ignore this entire post and stop reading now – that is, if you don’t mind rolling the dice with your money and your charities…this does not apply to you. But if you’re not, then keeping reading. If you allow people to tell you that they will Pay for their tickets at the door of your Charity Event – You’re nuts!!! I do not care if they are family, friends, relatives, neighbors, co-workers, your banker, your accountant, your doctor or even your priest – absolutely always, 100% of time, get them to pay for their event tickets PRIOR to the event itself. This is a not a “Maybe”…it’s a certain.
As you approach ticket sales for your event, let’s recall exactly why you are selling tickets. Ticket sales cover the individual meals by the caterer. For instance, if you are hosting your Charity Event at a Catering facility/Restaurant, they will charge you or your organization for the product which they are providing – here is an example of everything which you are normally charged for:
1 – Hall Rental
2 – Appetizers (if appropriate)
3 – Meal (Sit down or buffet)
4 – Hall Rental
5 – AV (sound system, screens, LCD Projectors, lighting)
6 – Staff (Bartenders etc.)
7 – Misc. Costs
8 – Service Charge (normally 20%)
We are going to use an aggregate charge of $14,000.00 as a total charge. You are planning for 400 people being there. Using simple mathematics – $14,000.00 divided by 400 = $35 per person. That is, if you sell 400 tickets at $35.00 each, you will absolutely cover the cost of your event. Now, should Charity Event Organizers charge $35.00 a person, No. But that is the Base Cost of hosting your event. If organizers decide to bring in other subcontractors, such as Graphically Designed items such as invitations, Digital Invitations, Programs, Printing Costs, Rentals etc., those costs should also be added into the $14,000.00 total.
However, for this example – let’s concentrate on the $14,000.00 for the venue. Most likely two (2) weeks prior to your event, the venue or caterer will ask you for a head count (how many people are coming). From the head count you provide, they acquire enough food & drinks for your guests.
But here is the issue – the moment you put pen to paper and sign your life away, you and your organization is committed.
So now let’s talk about human nature – I don’t care if you are in the Southeast Region of the U.S. or the Northwest, Northeast or Southwest, people are all the same. When you approach someone about your event and they say “Oh, I’m going to pay at the door ok?” or “Oh I’ll be there and bringing a few of my friends”…you should either say “No, we are not selling tickets at the door” or turn and Run like the wind.
This is the excuse everyone uses when they are not coming to your event – why you ask? Well, no one wants to be looked at in a bad light. They don’t want to say to you “Nah, I think I’m going to lay around in bed all day and watch the game.” So if they are not coming or even if it’s a 50/50, they will always say “I’m going to pay at the door.” They are lying to you!!!
So, I cannot tell you how many times I have seen this happen and 100% of the time, the organizers have been severely disappointed. Remember now, you signed your life away for $14,000.00 because you were absolutely sure all of your family and friends were going to pay at the door. Remember that!!!!
So here is the nightmare – all of your “Pay at the doors” do not show (which they will NOT – believe me) do not show up and also bring their friends, guess what…you are still responsible for the $14,000.00 contract you signed but now…no one is there to help you pay it. Do you think the Caterer or venue cares that your “So Called” friends did not show? No – it’s business.
I’ve even heard this one, and it made me laugh when I heard it “Oh, I’m going to call around to those people and get them to pay for the tickets”…Lol yeah sure…that’s when you will hear some of the craziest excuses ever thought up.
But you are left holding the bag – a $14,000.00 bag!!!
So, do you understand what I am talking about?!?!? Cover yourself, protect your yourself and your organizations interest – only PRE-SOLD TICKETS!!! Tell everyone – WE ARE NOT SELLING TICKETS AT THE DOOR!!! Who cares if you only sell 200 tickets, the venue will adjust the charge and why? Because they don’t want to lose money in the end and go through a court battle.
On another note, let’s just say that you have everything donated – the hall (which is normally not the best place but that’s another Blog), the food (again, not great food usually) etc., you still are hosting the event to raise money. A successful fundraiser does not happen with an empty room right?
So going back to the top and how I started this Blog – a client was hosting a charity fundraiser and would not listen to my advice and said that all of her contacts promised they were coming (380 of them) and only 18 showed up and they were her volunteers. She lost close to $30,000.00 because the venue was incredible and there were other activities happening surrounding the charity event. None of them showed up, she had to claim bankruptcy and shut down her Non Profit.
The Choice is yours…Cover yourself or Walk blind folded into the lion’s den.