CEO Tom Waller Offers Tips for Successful Fundraisers at the Kentucky State Charitable Gaming Conference
How do you host a successful fundraiser?
That is what hundreds of non-profit organizations discovered when they attended Premier Casino Events’ CEO and Founder, Tom Waller’s presentation.
Here were Tom’s Top Ten Tips:
1. Fundraisers are about Raising Funds
They are not parties or social gatherings. They should be designed with one thing in mind–to increase revenue for your organization. Every activity you plan should offer guests a way to increase their contribution to your cause. Be it a Silent Auction, a Live Auction, Casino Games, Raffles, Sales, Food and Beverage Service.
2. Spend Money to Make Money
Creating events with all the emphasis on price alone often discourages attendance and participation. Nobody wants to attend or stay at an event that is just a warmed over repeat of yet another dull fundraiser. If your guests don’t show up, or leave early, contributions are disappointing. You need to design events that make them want to attend and stay to the very end–and then tell everyone who wasn’t there what a great time they had!
3. Always Be Thinking Long Term
What you do this year will affect your attendance next year. Period. If you put on a dull event, you can rest assured that next year when the invitations go out, guests will suddenly find “other places that they have to be.” However, putting on an exciting event that causes a lot of “buzz” among your supporters will provide you with a 20 to 25 percent increase in attendance the following year. “No-Shows” will hear about the great time they missed, and make sure to attend your next one!
4. Select your Ticket Price with Care
There are really two ways to make money with a fundraiser, the “admission price” and the activities at the event. The higher your admission price, the lower your activity revenue, and the same holds true for the opposite. You need to decide if it is better to have 1,000 guests pay $5 each to play your casino games, or have 100 guests pay $50 each to play your casino games.
5. Make Your Event Creative and Special
What makes your event different? What is the “hook”? Support for your organization is certainly a big draw, but what is the “promise” of the event? At Premier Casino Events we can offer your guests the chance to visit the Roaring 20s, Las Vegas, a Tropical Island, the Wild West, or even Monte Carlo. You need to create a buzz among your supporters so that they want to attend–and hopefully, bring friends!
6. Don’t Reinvent the Wheel
Did you have a successful fundraiser last year? Did people have an incredible time and talked about the event for weeks afterwards? More importantly, did you raise a lot of money for your organization? If so, do it again, but improve upon your success by adding something new to change things up. But don’t go out and start all over again from scratch. When your invitation arrives again this year, you want people to say “Oh, that was great last year, lets go do it again!”
7. Use Your Resources
What can your organization offer to help with the event? Do you have supporters who might volunteer as dealers? Do you have a choir at your church that might want to perform as backup singers for an Elvis impersonator? Do you have flowers growing on the grounds that can be used as centerpieces? Make a list of available resources, and hand it down year after year so that there is no confusion if a new committee or chairperson takes over the event.
8. Make Sure You Are Compliant
If you are a 501(C), Non-profit organization. You want to make absolutely sure that you speak to, and register with, your state’s office of Charitable Gaming. Premier Casino Events is licensed by Kentucky Charitable Gaming and have worked with them for decades. We will gladly help guide you through the process.
9. Promote Your Sponsors
If you are fortunate enough to find sponsors for your event. Do everything possible to promote them to your guests. Don’t just put signage up in the lobby, and their logo on the invitation, show them you love them! Have your DJ/Emcee announce them and thank them several times during the event. Set up small signs thanking them on every Blackjack table. Give each sponsor a special area or activity, for example the AllState Cash Explosion Booth, or Cinergy Roulette. Make sure it is the sponsors or their representatives that hand out any prizes for raffle drawings.
The greater their recognition, the greater the chance they will want to be involved in your event next year. So never miss an opportunity to promote them!
10. Get Your Guests to Laugh and Participate Actively
Guests laugh, have a good time, and depart with lots of great memories when they are actively participating. Whether it is playing casino games, doing challenges, dancing, or performing, active participation leads to great events and great memories. People don’t remember food, or drinks, or even cocktail conversation, but they do remember laughing and having a good time!