What A Non Profit Really Hears When You Say “$5 for every ticket sold”


What non profit wouldn’t want your offer, right? All they have to do is send out the link and sell 200 tickets and they will get $1K back. It’s so easy, why aren’t they excited? Let’s think about this. You offer them this opportunity. You’re excited. You’re sure they will do it…and they don’t. What is wrong with them? Maybe it’s not them! Maybe it’s (gasp!) US!

Anyone who has ever done fundraising for a non profit knows it takes work…a LOT of work. You are creating events, having people donate, always asking. Here we are asking for one more thing. To us, ‘all’ they have to do is send the link out. To them, it’s another ask of the same people. To them, it’s another job added to their already long list if they want a decent return. It’s ‘we’ve done this before with other teams with less than stellar results, so tell me again why I need to do this?’ What did they just hear? “Good grief…now I have to do THEIR job and sell their tickets for them.” Put yourself in their shoes. Don’t you just love being told about an ‘easy’ opportunity to get money that really means more work?

How can we better relate to the non profit? We have to partner with them, and I don’t mean you will be attending all of their events, but rather, you will help share the responsibility. True partnering will make a success of the event. So how do we do this?

  • Look at your facility. Do you have large event spaces as well as standard seating? Do you have private spaces? Do you have ‘gathering’ spaces? How can you transform them during the game/event into a unique space for the non profit? Partnering means not ‘selling tickets’ but rather creating opportunities…for both of you, and for their diverse data base. Could their board invite up to 200 people in a space that is higher end, includes food, has room for an auction, raffles, and by the way…an amazing game going on as a backdrop? What about the 20-30 somethings that support the non profit? Can you transform your patio area or bar area into a mixer event with an amazing game going on in the backdrop and they charge accordingly? Do you have private space for say 35-50 that you can host an inspirational talk to some of those who are helped by the non profit?
  • Share the responsibility. They will most likely be sending out eblasts to their data base. Don’t expect your flyer to do the job. Help them write weekly fun notes to attach to the eblast. Offer raffle prizes (or attach experiences as prizes) to the first 100, the first 250, etc. Make it fun.
  • Ask them what could be done differently than anything they’ve ever done to create excitement…or come up with an idea. The more unique, the more interested they will become. For example, I’ve done turned a cancer night into a tie in to a massive walk. That evening, they walked into the arena and down and across the court prior to the game….all 1500 of them…while the hand camera took pictures of them coming in with their shirts on from the earlier in the day walk. It was an emotional and impactful visual for the organization, an exciting moment for those who walked, and a tremendous fundraiser.
  • Visit them. Keep check on how they are doing. Offer suggestions. Offer help.This is no different than any other group that you send out a link or a flyer to. You cannot expect that to do your selling. It’s what else you do to generate the excitement and interest is what will move the needle. Work together with them closely so you are truly partnering and involved.

I have worked with hundreds of non profits and have found those that are most successful are those we have truly worked together on. We have a job to do as do they…we can’t ask them to do ours. But we can ask them if we can partner together and create success for both of us. We don’t sell tickets. We sell/create experiences, many unique. We build partnerships. Give it a try….I believe you will be surprised with the results.

Kathy Burrows, Sold Out Seating


More articles by Kathy: http://www.linkedin.com/today/author/burrowsk

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