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    • dodge08
    • By dodge08 5th Nov 17, 4:35 PM
    • 38Posts
    • 1Thanks
    dodge08
    Charity event - stressed!
    • #1
    • 5th Nov 17, 4:35 PM
    Charity event - stressed! 5th Nov 17 at 4:35 PM
    Hey all, haven't posted in a while...

    I am running a charity event for a local children's hospice called Julia's House. They're popular locally to Dorset (even Robert Downey Junior ran a special prize to raise money for them once).

    It's a magic evening called "An Evening of Mindreading, Magic and Comedy" featuring a cabaret magician and a local magician who will be performing a one man show of mindreading and hypnotism.

    I have been organising it for months now and it's at the end of the month, but I am stressing out because I cannot seem to get people to buy tickets for the life of me! I have done a lot of marketing and there is plenty on offer on the evening but sales are less than 30 tickets out of a possible 200 and it's going to be an empty room at this rate.

    I have done the following -

    - Local newspaper articles
    - Local radio station coverage
    - Flyered to high street shops / offices in local town
    - Extensive Facebook event promotion
    - Our sponsor is regularly writing on their Facebook too
    - Spoken to as many family, friends etc personally.

    We're just not seeing the ticket sales roll in, any advice on what could be the reason? I attach the flyer (hope it's allowed), I would even appreciate any advice on whether there's some part of the flyer that is a turn-off since all the people I could ask would probably be too nice to say.

    Massive appreciation, thanks!

    - Adam
    Last edited by dodge08; 12-11-2017 at 10:06 PM.
Page 1
    • Reb2016
    • By Reb2016 5th Nov 17, 6:22 PM
    • 154 Posts
    • 345 Thanks
    Reb2016
    • #2
    • 5th Nov 17, 6:22 PM
    • #2
    • 5th Nov 17, 6:22 PM
    Hi,
    I’m wondering if the lack of a bar might be one reason, if i’m out for the evening I like to be able to relax with a glass of something, with your event the only way I can have a drink is by paying an extra £5 for a glass of something sparkling which wouldn’t be my first choice of drink. Would you be able to allow people to bring their own drinks?

    Reb
    Light bulb moment 6th June 2017 £13333.63 Debt now 11837.25
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    • BorisThomson
    • By BorisThomson 5th Nov 17, 6:28 PM
    • 538 Posts
    • 882 Thanks
    BorisThomson
    • #3
    • 5th Nov 17, 6:28 PM
    • #3
    • 5th Nov 17, 6:28 PM
    The act sounds awful, I expect many would rather have no entertainment and just a social evening than something they really don't want to sit through. Sorry.
    • tho
    • By tho 5th Nov 17, 6:52 PM
    • 192 Posts
    • 422 Thanks
    tho
    • #4
    • 5th Nov 17, 6:52 PM
    • #4
    • 5th Nov 17, 6:52 PM
    I'd agree with Reb. The only alcohol option being a glass of fizz with a dearer ticket will be a putting some people off. Added to it being a Sunday, if you're planning a weekend night out you'd aim for Friday or Saturday.

    What is the prizes in the "silent auction -
    big raffle -" that's potentially a big draw there, but you give no details other than also at the event. If the prizes are worth it that'll get people in on its own, but without even detailing a top prize/lot it appears that they're nothing to shout about.

    Your acts sound fine for me, although as shown in the replys a magician probably isn't everyone's cup of tea.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 5th Nov 17, 9:36 PM
    • 37,823 Posts
    • 34,215 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    • #5
    • 5th Nov 17, 9:36 PM
    • #5
    • 5th Nov 17, 9:36 PM
    Are Julia's House helping with publicising the tickets in all possible ways?

    People are more likely to come if a friend asks them, so encouraging everyone who's already coming to bring a(nother) friend is definitely worthwhile.

    My experience of this kind of event is that there's usually food too - so that may be another put-off. I went to a fairly laid back quiz night and auction on Friday, tickets £10 including ham and cheese platter. Had to buy all our own drinks (no problem with that). But they were able to send out the auction catalogue in advance, which allowed people who couldn't be there to put bids in.
    Still knitting!
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    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 5th Nov 17, 9:49 PM
    • 5,244 Posts
    • 10,866 Thanks
    iammumtoone
    • #6
    • 5th Nov 17, 9:49 PM
    • #6
    • 5th Nov 17, 9:49 PM
    Its the no bar. I don't even drink much and I wouldn't go, sorry. Even if people aren't bothered about alcohol they still like to have a soft drink on a night out.

    I think your best best now is to target those who are close to the charity, for a charity that was close to my heart and I supported it wouldn't bother me so much the lack of drinks. I would go just to support the charity. I am afraid to attract the wider general public you need to offer a bit more (or at least the availability of drinks).
    • dodge08
    • By dodge08 6th Nov 17, 8:57 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    dodge08
    • #7
    • 6th Nov 17, 8:57 PM
    • #7
    • 6th Nov 17, 8:57 PM
    Hi,
    I’m wondering if the lack of a bar might be one reason, if i’m out for the evening I like to be able to relax with a glass of something, with your event the only way I can have a drink is by paying an extra £5 for a glass of something sparkling which wouldn’t be my first choice of drink. Would you be able to allow people to bring their own drinks?

    Reb
    Originally posted by Reb2016
    Hey Reb, thanks for the reply...

    It's probably the common issue within this thread so far, the problem is that with a limited "charity event" budget, we can't cover the costs involved with a proper hall that includes a bar. Most want hundreds for the evening. Our hall was pretty much given to us... people could bring their own drinks no problem though.

    If it was felt this was the primary reason sales are slow, I could promote that but I don't know if it'll cause a massive rush?
    • dodge08
    • By dodge08 6th Nov 17, 9:00 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    dodge08
    • #8
    • 6th Nov 17, 9:00 PM
    • #8
    • 6th Nov 17, 9:00 PM
    The act sounds awful, I expect many would rather have no entertainment and just a social evening than something they really don't want to sit through. Sorry.
    Originally posted by BorisThomson
    Ouch... can't do much with that advice, thanks though.


    I'd agree with Reb. The only alcohol option being a glass of fizz with a dearer ticket will be a putting some people off. Added to it being a Sunday, if you're planning a weekend night out you'd aim for Friday or Saturday.

    What is the prizes in the "silent auction -
    big raffle -" that's potentially a big draw there, but you give no details other than also at the event. If the prizes are worth it that'll get people in on its own, but without even detailing a top prize/lot it appears that they're nothing to shout about.

    Your acts sound fine for me, although as shown in the replys a magician probably isn't everyone's cup of tea.
    Originally posted by tho

    Thanks for your reply, once again it's down to constraints with a "free" hall, we only had a few dates to choose from and they were not Fridays or Saturdays unfortunately.

    Auction wise, £100 M&S voucher, signed Harry Redknapp, Ben Ainslie, Jessica Ennis-Hill, Kelly Holmes merchandise. Raffle - Pair of return eurostar tickets, spa day for 2 with afternoon tea so plenty of prizes to go round really.
    • dodge08
    • By dodge08 6th Nov 17, 9:05 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    dodge08
    • #9
    • 6th Nov 17, 9:05 PM
    • #9
    • 6th Nov 17, 9:05 PM
    Are Julia's House helping with publicising the tickets in all possible ways?

    People are more likely to come if a friend asks them, so encouraging everyone who's already coming to bring a(nother) friend is definitely worthwhile.

    My experience of this kind of event is that there's usually food too - so that may be another put-off. I went to a fairly laid back quiz night and auction on Friday, tickets £10 including ham and cheese platter. Had to buy all our own drinks (no problem with that). But they were able to send out the auction catalogue in advance, which allowed people who couldn't be there to put bids in.
    Originally posted by Savvy_Sue
    They're doing their best, I can't fault the charity one bit, but they aren't massive. I like your advice about getting people to bring a friend with them.

    I'd have loved to do food, I think again the problem is juggling whether or not buying the food (further expense) is definitely going to guarantee more tickets, otherwise, if not - then we'd be already set to make a lot less money that we currently have raised in sales.


    Its the no bar. I don't even drink much and I wouldn't go, sorry. Even if people aren't bothered about alcohol they still like to have a soft drink on a night out.

    I think your best best now is to target those who are close to the charity, for a charity that was close to my heart and I supported it wouldn't bother me so much the lack of drinks. I would go just to support the charity. I am afraid to attract the wider general public you need to offer a bit more (or at least the availability of drinks).
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    Thanks for the advice, I can't implement a bar now sadly, I could go to the wholesalers and offer drinks if I can staff a table for it. But I don't know whether it's something I could legitimately talk about "we have a bar - sort of" so I'm not sure if it'd draw anyone else in at this stage?
    • sarah69696pink
    • By sarah69696pink 6th Nov 17, 9:51 PM
    • 565 Posts
    • 224 Thanks
    sarah69696pink
    I think like others have said no bar is likely to be the reason, particularly with the type of act you have booked - it kind of calls for people being relaxed and having fun in order to roll with it.
    Is there anyway of doing some sort of BYOB?? (not sure of the legalities of this).otherwise I suspect you'll mainly be getting people personally affected by / involved with the charity.
    • dodge08
    • By dodge08 6th Nov 17, 10:08 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    dodge08
    I think like others have said no bar is likely to be the reason, particularly with the type of act you have booked - it kind of calls for people being relaxed and having fun in order to roll with it.
    Is there anyway of doing some sort of BYOB?? (not sure of the legalities of this).otherwise I suspect you'll mainly be getting people personally affected by / involved with the charity.
    Originally posted by sarah69696pink
    Thanks Sarah, I think BYOB is the way forward, legally I don't think there is a problem as an alcohol licence is being paid for on the night. May even venture into some basic selling of some drinks too based on the advice here.
    • iammumtoone
    • By iammumtoone 6th Nov 17, 10:16 PM
    • 5,244 Posts
    • 10,866 Thanks
    iammumtoone
    May even venture into some basic selling of some drinks too based on the advice here.
    Originally posted by dodge08
    I would look into that, doesn't have to be posh just a volunteer pouring cans into plastic glasses would do the trick. Remember to offer a soft drink option as well. Maybe approach some local stores to see if they would be willing to provide on a sale or return basis seeing as its a charity event.

    The only issue you have is people have paid an extra £5 for a drink, you need to make sure they are getting value for money and get more than £5 worth of what you are selling for on the night.
    • dodge08
    • By dodge08 6th Nov 17, 10:18 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    dodge08
    I would look into that, doesn't have to be posh just a volunteer pouring cans into plastic glasses would do the trick. Remember to offer a soft drink option as well. Maybe approach some local stores to see if they would be willing to provide on a sale or return basis seeing as its a charity event.

    The only issue you have is people have paid an extra £5 for a drink, you need to make sure they are getting value for money and get more than £5 worth of what you are selling for on the night.
    Originally posted by iammumtoone
    Totally agree, on both points... my only fear though is that we'll be looking after the existing ticket holders but I still need to find a way to encourage new sales - since I still can't claim to having a bar.
    • Savvy_Sue
    • By Savvy_Sue 6th Nov 17, 10:25 PM
    • 37,823 Posts
    • 34,215 Thanks
    Savvy_Sue
    I think the OP has now said that people can bring their own drinks, but that is not clear from the original flier. Generally, BYOB is fine - it's the selling of drinks which needs careful handling, and / or a licence. The other way round it is to have 'suggested donations' for drinks, but I'd try to avoid that if I didn't know those likely to attend ...

    So, at this stage what can you do?

    If the raffle tickets are 'proper' pre-printed tickets then these can be sold separately / in advance. If you're just using cloakroom tickets then they can only be sold at the event.

    Whichever they are, I'd try to get the raffle and the silent auction prizes publicised. I'm not saying I'd go to such an event just for those, but they help extend its appeal, and if you can take bids outside the event for the silent auction that will help raise money.

    Local radio and newspapers: is this just 'advertising events which are happening locally' coverage, or an actual interview with you / someone from the hospice? I'd see if you can get the latter as well as the former, maybe sharing your worries that you haven't yet sold all the tickets - that needs careful preparation. And have you gone as wide as you can? Here, we have local BBC radio, and a number of local commercial stations, some of them targeted at particular audiences. Admittedly I'm in a big city so Dorchester may not have so many ... Newspapers - as well as the daily local paper, there is also a weekly freebie, and last week the charity I work for was in The Metro! I'm not suggesting that would be easy, it was tied in with StreetSmart as we are one of the charities they support.

    You mentioned Facebook, but not Twitter. I'm no expert on social media, but I think both are worthwhile.

    but I think it's down to people asking people to go ... I mentioned the quiz I went to last week: I wasn't going to go but when I found the three colleagues on my work team were all going, it seemed churlish not to, and I'd definitely go again next year!
    Still knitting!
    Completed: 1 adult cardigan, 3 baby jumpers, 2 shawls, 3 pairs baby bootees,
    1 Wise Man Knitivity figure + 1 sheep, 2 pairs socks, 1 seaman's hat ...
    Current projects: 1 shawl, another seaman's hat
    • Dasa
    • By Dasa 6th Nov 17, 10:53 PM
    • 317 Posts
    • 597 Thanks
    Dasa
    Sorry OP but your flyer is not very appealing, far too much going on there. It needs something to liven it up. The auction bit looks like an afterthought, I'd make more of it, listing prizes etc. You need to grab peoples attention and make it more welcoming. Focus on having a great night out.
    • robin58
    • By robin58 6th Nov 17, 11:33 PM
    • 1,964 Posts
    • 2,018 Thanks
    robin58
    Sorry OP but your flyer is not very appealing, far too much going on there. It needs something to liven it up. The auction bit looks like an afterthought, I'd make more of it, listing prizes etc. You need to grab peoples attention and make it more welcoming. Focus on having a great night out.
    Originally posted by Dasa
    Agreed.

    The tin foil hat on the flyer put me off.

    Makes the guy look like a cheap novelty act for the conspiracy brigade.

    Plus I've been to something like this. I wouldn't wan't to be in the first five rows as you are usually the 'act'.

    It would take me more than a free drink to make me sit in any of the 5 rows.
    Last edited by robin58; 06-11-2017 at 11:42 PM.
    The more I live, the more I learn.
    The more I learn, the more I grow.
    The more I grow, the more I see.
    The more I see, the more I know.
    The more I know, the more I see,
    How little I know.!!
    • dodge08
    • By dodge08 7th Nov 17, 8:09 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    dodge08
    I think the OP has now said that people can bring their own drinks, but that is not clear from the original flier. Generally, BYOB is fine - it's the selling of drinks which needs careful handling, and / or a licence. The other way round it is to have 'suggested donations' for drinks, but I'd try to avoid that if I didn't know those likely to attend ...

    So, at this stage what can you do?

    If the raffle tickets are 'proper' pre-printed tickets then these can be sold separately / in advance. If you're just using cloakroom tickets then they can only be sold at the event.

    Whichever they are, I'd try to get the raffle and the silent auction prizes publicised. I'm not saying I'd go to such an event just for those, but they help extend its appeal, and if you can take bids outside the event for the silent auction that will help raise money.

    Local radio and newspapers: is this just 'advertising events which are happening locally' coverage, or an actual interview with you / someone from the hospice? I'd see if you can get the latter as well as the former, maybe sharing your worries that you haven't yet sold all the tickets - that needs careful preparation. And have you gone as wide as you can? Here, we have local BBC radio, and a number of local commercial stations, some of them targeted at particular audiences. Admittedly I'm in a big city so Dorchester may not have so many ... Newspapers - as well as the daily local paper, there is also a weekly freebie, and last week the charity I work for was in The Metro! I'm not suggesting that would be easy, it was tied in with StreetSmart as we are one of the charities they support.

    You mentioned Facebook, but not Twitter. I'm no expert on social media, but I think both are worthwhile.

    but I think it's down to people asking people to go ... I mentioned the quiz I went to last week: I wasn't going to go but when I found the three colleagues on my work team were all going, it seemed churlish not to, and I'd definitely go again next year!
    Originally posted by Savvy_Sue

    Hey - thanks for the advice!

    In terms of drinks, I am going to put on snacks and soft drinks only I think, it's less financial risk and doesn't get messy with regards to licences etc.

    I will start marketing the raffle prizes heavily, starting with a new flyer design that I am working on with less text.

    I have seen one or two more ticket sales in the last day or two and hopefully with all the advice and my existing marketing coming together we will see a few more at least!




    Sorry OP but your flyer is not very appealing, far too much going on there. It needs something to liven it up. The auction bit looks like an afterthought, I'd make more of it, listing prizes etc. You need to grab peoples attention and make it more welcoming. Focus on having a great night out.
    Originally posted by Dasa

    Duly noted, I am going to redesign a new flyer to keep things fresh, more images, less text! Cheers



    Agreed.

    The tin foil hat on the flyer put me off.

    Makes the guy look like a cheap novelty act for the conspiracy brigade.

    Plus I've been to something like this. I wouldn't wan't to be in the first five rows as you are usually the 'act'.

    It would take me more than a free drink to make me sit in any of the 5 rows.
    Originally posted by robin58

    Thanks for your feedback, the entertainer is quite witty and the tin foil hat is intended to be tongue in cheek, not serious.

    And in terms of the first five rows, on the contrary, out of the tickets we have sold so far, three quarters of them are this type of ticket.
    • TBagpuss
    • By TBagpuss 9th Nov 17, 9:08 AM
    • 6,026 Posts
    • 7,776 Thanks
    TBagpuss
    I agree with the comments above about having it on Sunday and about their being no bar.

    It also seems quite expensive for what it is, and the flyer isn't clear. At first glance I thought it was £10 for kids and £15 for adults - looking again it I can see it's an extra £5 for a glass of fizz, and it is not clear whether there are cheaper tickets for under 16s or whether the event it age limited to the over 16s.

    i think another issue may be the type of entertainment - magic shows are a bit of a marmite thing - people either love them or hate them. I personally wouldn't go because I actively dislike that kind of thing- it's not something where I'd be willing to 'suck it up' because it is a charity event.

    If it were a charity I was interested in then I might be willing to buy raffle tickets or (if I knew about it) put in a sealed bid for something in the silent auction. It might be worth you publicising those things separately if you can.

    It might also be worth you canvassing local venues to see whether they would be willing to display your poster or leaflets - for a charity event and as it is on a sunday when they may not be open themselves, they might be willing to do so, n which case you might do better if you are advertising a magic / comedy event to people who go to comedy / music / magic events.

    As you are doing it for a hospice, if you get to the last moment and still haven't sold many tickets, to avoid having an empty room could you offer any spare tickets to patients and their families? I appreciate that wouldn't raise you any money but you might have a better atmosphere in the room if i is not 3/4 empty.
    • robin58
    • By robin58 9th Nov 17, 9:03 PM
    • 1,964 Posts
    • 2,018 Thanks
    robin58

    Thanks for your feedback, the entertainer is quite witty and the tin foil hat is intended to be tongue in cheek, not serious.

    And in terms of the first five rows, on the contrary, out of the tickets we have sold so far, three quarters of them are this type of ticket.
    Originally posted by dodge08
    But you know him, I don't and maybe the people you are selling to don't either.
    The more I live, the more I learn.
    The more I learn, the more I grow.
    The more I grow, the more I see.
    The more I see, the more I know.
    The more I know, the more I see,
    How little I know.!!
    • dodge08
    • By dodge08 10th Nov 17, 10:51 PM
    • 38 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    dodge08
    I agree with the comments above about having it on Sunday and about their being no bar.

    It also seems quite expensive for what it is, and the flyer isn't clear. At first glance I thought it was £10 for kids and £15 for adults - looking again it I can see it's an extra £5 for a glass of fizz, and it is not clear whether there are cheaper tickets for under 16s or whether the event it age limited to the over 16s.

    i think another issue may be the type of entertainment - magic shows are a bit of a marmite thing - people either love them or hate them. I personally wouldn't go because I actively dislike that kind of thing- it's not something where I'd be willing to 'suck it up' because it is a charity event.

    If it were a charity I was interested in then I might be willing to buy raffle tickets or (if I knew about it) put in a sealed bid for something in the silent auction. It might be worth you publicising those things separately if you can.

    It might also be worth you canvassing local venues to see whether they would be willing to display your poster or leaflets - for a charity event and as it is on a sunday when they may not be open themselves, they might be willing to do so, n which case you might do better if you are advertising a magic / comedy event to people who go to comedy / music / magic events.

    As you are doing it for a hospice, if you get to the last moment and still haven't sold many tickets, to avoid having an empty room could you offer any spare tickets to patients and their families? I appreciate that wouldn't raise you any money but you might have a better atmosphere in the room if i is not 3/4 empty.
    Originally posted by TBagpuss
    All great points, thanks for the advice.

    We have seen a good uplift in tickets this week, all organic, so I think getting the right exposure has made some difference. Plus a very different, graphic intensive flyer as well
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