Get the Best Deal on Your Next Venue

Every penny counts in fundraising.

When it comes to planning an event, with its costs measured against its returns, the stakes are double. Production expenses can vary dramatically depending on the size and theme of your event, and while catering, décor and entertainment may have some wiggle room, your venue budget often won’t share that same luxury.

Booking the perfect venue is essential to an event, as it shapes the image of your organization and sets the tone for the entire evening. It also must provide the functionality required to support the activities planned for the night, otherwise you’ve wasted a lot of time, money and energy.

The next time you start executing your fundraising plans, remember these five tips to get the most for your money in a venue that is perfect for the night.

Internet searching with different keywords

A great place to start your search is—no surprise—the Internet. But don’t rely on the same keywords you’ve always used. Instead, see what you find when you enter phrases that reflect your cost restrictions, size requirements or services needed, along with your location. Search engines are loaded with information containing keywords that aren’t as commonly used.

 Tip: The first page of a search engine provides the most recent and most commonly clicked on results. Search through a few pages and you may find amazing venues that just aren’t promoted as well on the internet.

Different types of venues

Think outside the convention center box by looking for a venue that is as unique as your cause. Historic homes, rooftop restaurants, theatres, museums and many more non-traditional venues offer amazing accommodations that will be remembered by your guests long after the event.

 Tip: During your discussions with their event planner make sure you cover all the needs you’ll have for your fundraiser, especially the technology you’ll be using. You might consider hiring an audio-visual specialist to assist if you find a missing link between your plan and the facility’s capabilities.

Ask for help from outside

Sometimes a great venue is lurking within your own network. Associations connected with your organization can often provide a list of area venues and can point you in the right direction for your requirements. Or, even better, they may be able to connect you with deals that will lower your venue’s rental costs.

Sponsors, donors and members can also offer a wealth of information about venues and you never know who has the right connection to a perfect location. Convention and visitor bureaus are sure to have great information about event space in your area, too.

 Tip: Ask around at monthly meetings or events for suggestions on venue locations. You’ll be speaking with people who are invested in your fundraiser’s success and they may offer to become ambassadors who can procure the very best deal for your budget.

Search for venues that need you as much as you need them

There’s always the chance that a great venue may have a sudden opening through no fault of their own. This provides you with a great opportunity to step in and work a deal that is favorable to both your organization and their business. In some cases, getting the best deal is just a matter of moving your event to an off-season date when venues are looking for events to fill their calendar.

 Tip: Keep tabs on your favorite venues and watch for sudden openings on their calendars. Also, you may want to book as soon as possible to secure the space you want.

Don’t settle for a package deal

Just because venues offer packages doesn’t mean you have to settle for less than what you want. Review their offerings, find those pieces you need and those you would love to incorporate into your plan, then find out how to get everything you require for the best possible price.

 Tip: Find out if you can get a better rate if you book the entire venue and examine the “al a carte” service menu instead of just settling on the package deals presented to you. And, don’t forget to ask if they offer subsidized rates or special rates for non-profits?

Offer alternative payment

There’s always a chance that a venue may be interested in a non-monetary payment. Present their event planner with an option that will help their business and offer a quid pro quo arrangement, rather than, or in combination with, a monetary payment.

 Tip: Offer to pay up front for the space, in case, or barter with them by offering a sponsorship opportunity. This tactic can also be attempted with the venue’s suppliers, although contracts may be in place that will restrict outside deals with contractors.

With a little imagination and a bit of bartering, booking a venue can provide many cost cutting options. Get creative and do your research, and you’ll be able to add to the success of your event months before the event even begins!

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