Whether you’re planning an in-person, hybrid, or virtual fundraising event, choosing the right venue is the cornerstone of the planning process. Before you start researching your options and stressing yourself out with the many options available, let’s take a deep breath, pour a cup of coffee, and take the stress out of choosing the perfect venue for you.
The best practice for simplifying this process is to evaluate the needs of your event. For example, if you’re broadcasting a live-streamed virtual fundraising event, there is likely no need to rent out a 20,000 square foot ballroom at a 5-star hotel. Maybe your partners are looking for something particular, and communicating to determine expectations is one of the best first steps you can take before considering your venue.
Asking the Right Questions
While every event has its own unique set of circumstances and requirements, we have here some of the common questions we ask when choosing venues for non-profit benefit auctions and fundraising galas:
The Price Tag
Of course, one of the most important factors in your choice will be price and ensuring you stick to the budget. The rates of most venues will fluctuate depending on the time of the year, weekends and holidays, and the day. Here are some of the questions that you should be asking:
What is your Saturday Price?
See if there is any variation between Friday or Saturday.
Is your Friday/Saturday price any less expensive?
Do you offer non-profit discounts?
Don’t be afraid to ask! Many venues offer discounts to non-profit organizations and will even offer to support the mission in other ways. Seriously, we don’t recommend skipping out on this one.
Okay, this is a big one. Not every venue owns its own parking lot. It’s also important to understand where to direct guests for their parking needs, as well as valet options. While the valet service may be free, tipping is optional. It’s ideal to allow guests to plan to have cash on hand if they desire. Parking is also important to communicate with vendors, caterers, production companies, and your event day staff. People need to have a place to park, and directions should be made clear before the event.
Is on-site parking available?
How many spots are available?
Is it free?
Ah, bar service! Venues can be very particular about how bar services work, especially if they have their own liquor license. This could put the venue over your budget. Paying for alcohol through the venue can often be more expensive due to markups, so make sure to find a venue/bartending service where you can provide the alcohol yourself if possible.
What are the bar packages?
Is there a consumption pricing option?
What are the bartending service costs?
Can we bring our own pre-purchased and/or donated alcohol?
May we provide our own bartending services?
Some venues only allow their in-house catering, and some will allow you to select from a pre-approved list. Other venues will allow an outside caterer upon approval, this usually includes a fee to the venue.
Do you have an in-house caterer? What is the minimum?
Do you have a preferred list to choose from?
Is there a fee for using an outside caterer?
Many venues have tables and chairs in inventory. But what else do they have in inventory that can be included in the rental?
What are your table sizes and what is your chair option inventory?
Look for a 60 inch “round” table that seats 8, or a 72 inch round table that seats 10.
Are linens included? Color options?
Is there a stage available? Dimensions?
Do you have any centerpieces?
While every event has its own needs and set of requirements, these questions will help you to evaluate your options when deciding between venues. A great idea is to keep a checklist to compare the features between the venues you’re considering. Not only does this help when making a decision, but you’ll be able to utilize the information for future events and report your findings to your partners.
If you’re looking for professional Auctioneer and Fundraising Event Day Staffing services, or expert assistance with the event planning process, contact us today to see how we can take your fundraising to the next level.
Did you know we provide Committee Management, Auctioneer & Host Services, Volunteer Coordination, and Board Activation? Give us a call today to learn more about our Key Player Management Services.
At Boundless, we know how much work is involved here! Give us a call or email us today if you’d like to learn more about how we can support you in your event efforts.
The BOUNDLESS WAY
We love to make a difference in people’s lives. Whether it’s relieving clients of stress, communicating with vendors, or cultivating relationships with causes or donors, we are passionate about creating personal connections in everything we do. Our approach is simple; first we listen, next we strategize, then we perform. We make an Impact.
We will always strive for perfection & unyielding compassion, driving ourselves and each other to be better. We will be persistent in this endeavor, and work as a team to achieve it. We will be quietly ambitious. After all, a person’s reach should exceed his grasp. We will always push ourselves to deliver creativity, awesome personal service, and unique ideas to meet our clients’ needs. We will always look to go above and beyond, and be at the forefront of new ideas. After all, research and discovery are the fuel of advantage.
Our culture is paramount to us. We support, encourage and challenge each other – to be caring, passionate and resourceful. We are a great cause that works for great causes.
The BOUNDLESS Motto
Meaningful Interaction. Inspired purpose. Strategic Impact.
The BOUNDLESS Purpose
Through compassion, storytelling and the understanding of human generosity, we help non-profits showcase their mission, inspire engagement and amplify their voice. Our commitment is to create lasting impact.