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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!