I recently planned an event for a very large non-profit foundation being held at my venue. These very sweet girls came in at the end of August and wanted us to host an event to benefit their foundation. The problem was the event took place mid-October so we had to get moving. After working the logistics of the event out I contacted them for approval and we met to talk details. The deal was to sell a certain amount of tickets to cover the cost of entertainment then the rest would be donated. The event would include a silent auction, raffle, and two bands. They said no problem. By mid-September we had posters and tickets printed and all around town but I couldn’t get a figure on the number sold from the group.
The event turned out to be a disaster with no proper advertising done by the organization (that was promised by these sweet ladies) the event did not generate much attention. The silent auction that should have ended at 8:00PM ended at 10:00PM with a desperate attempt at last minute bidders. As the night got later more people began to wander in but with a higher ticket price and the no-smoking policy implemented at the request of the affiliate director. Eventually the ticket price was lowered and the smoking policy was re-implemented after midnight. I should point out that everyone went respectfully outside as a sign of respect but only two survivors were in attendance so the GM went by and spoke to both of them and made sure they were gone before he re-implemented smoking.
All in all it ended up ok, we broke even and got to meet some survivors that are hereos to us all and we saw many new faces that we had never seen before. But my biggest advice would be:
“Do research on the organization before you go balls deep into a benefit with them.”
If I had done a little asking around I would have learned how some people behave on the front lines in the organization. Now, I’m sure there are many great people in the group because I have met them. But it definitely was not the experience I was looking for when we set out to raise a ton of money for a great cause. Just ask around more than study the history of the organization, their website will just tell you what you want to hear. Ask co-workers, friends, and people in your field if they have worked with the group and then try to draw your own conclusion but tread lightly, don’t let them work your ass off for nothing.