What does your event offer to guests? A nice meal, some rockin’ entertainment and smiling volunteers? That’s all great . . . and expected. Expected as part of the ticket price. I want to know what are you doing to show your appreciation above and beyond for the continued support of your event participants?
We work with lots of fundraising organizations who say they cannot afford the little extras. We say – you cannot afford not to. Everyone who knows me, knows I am not going to blow a budget – I’m a fundraiser at heart and I know the importance of every dollar netted. I also know that next year’s event is going to be a hard sell if you do not give your guests some unexpected value add!
Your event participants have been asked to pay for a ticket, in pledge-based events they have been out soliciting funds for your charity, they are asked to spend money on auctions, games, etc. By the time they get to your event it is your turn to give to them.
Here are some examples of value add items you can give to your guests at little to no cost.
People love food. Free food. Unique Food. They love it and remember it. This is a great in kind sponsorship opportunity to have local restaurants at your event offering samples of their top dishes. This is a great addition for a golf event – sampling stations on course – now that makes for a great round!
Again, people appreciate a complimentary drink. Signature drinks go a long way AND (broken record) this is a great in kind sponsorship opportunity. Take our event this weekend – The Healing Cycle Ride – Steam Whistle is the beer sponsor; offering each rider a complementary beer after their ride. It pairs so nicely with the free lunch sponsored by Maple Lodge Farms! Fantastic treats for the participants!
Have you considered make up touch ups at a gala, massages after a bike event, car wash while guests play a round of golf? We have and guests love it! It is a value add that tells guests thank you for supporting!
Stuff is a tough one. Hard to always hit the mark. You need to know your audience, cause and something that ties in well with the event. Here are a couple “Do nots”…. Do not give loads of coupons in a bag. Do not give one-size-fits-all cotton shirts (cause they never fit!). Do not go overboard. Some of the best “Stuff” we’ve seen include golf events where guests get sized for a new pair of shoes, each foursome wins a prize and a gala where each guest received a plant for their garden – a constant reminder of where they received it – Brilliant!
Value add is necessary to have your guests, your donors walking away from your event saying “I have to tell my friends about this” “I’m coming to this event again next year” and “Wow I got great value for my money”. This is not an area to cut corners. It is an area to be creative, find in kind sponsors and build participant retention into your budget.
Co-Owner & Event Director