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Ticket Pricing for Nonprofit Events

Updated: May 30, 2023

Determining the best ticket price for your nonprofit event can be complex. With a variety of factors to consider, figuring out what to charge your guests for a gala or other fundraiser may seem like a challenge. But finding the best nonprofit ticket pricing strategy can be approached systematically. Read on for some of these key ideas and approaches.

Beautiful Gala event tables

Decide on your Fundraising Goals

How do you decide what the right ticket price is? You may be able to simply charge a percentage above cost, but often it's more complicated than that.

First, you will need to determine your organization's fundraising goals. This amount will depend on your organization, as well as the particular event you are envisioning.

For example, a gala is typically a high-grossing fundraiser, while a speaker luncheon may serve to educate your audience but achieve lower net proceeds.

Once you have determined the event's overall goals, you can move on to some basic calculations.

Create a Budget

Next, you will need to carefully consider the costs of your event, which may include all event preparation and execution, such as catering, venue, equipment rentals, marketing expenses, and event staff fees.

If you have done a particular event in the past, you can always start with last year's numbers and estimate from there.

Make sure your projected budget includes all of the above expenses along with a buffer amount in case you have last-minute changes or unexpected charges. This budget should provide you with a breakeven point, over and above which everything is considered net proceeds.

Examine your Target audience

Reflect on your target audience in order to estimate the potential price range of your event. This is an important part to the process of ticket pricing and will depend on your target audience's demographics and preferences.

nonprofit concert event

For example, if the event is tailored to a younger crowd of attendees, then it may be worth lowering the ticket price to ensure more affordability and therefore increased attendance.

However, if you are producing a more upscale event or gala with a focus on donors and sponsors, you may be able to increase the rate you will be charging for tickets.

compare to your competitors

Scoping out the competition is another important part of the process. By researching what similar organizations and events are like in your area, you’ll be able to set some broad parameters for what your own ticket prices should be.

Costs and Calculations

Now that you have figured out your goals, and your costs, let's go over the basic calculations. Here is a list of questions you should ask yourself when

Woman calculating an nonprofit event budget

figuring out your event ticket pricing:

  1. How many tickets will you sell for the event?

  2. What is the projected total cost of the event? (Per your budget above.)

  3. How much net proceeds or net profit do you want to make? (How much money you want to make over and above your costs)

Once you have nailed down your event costs and goal net proceeds, you can plug those numbers into a simple set of calculations.

  • Goal Net Proceeds + Event cost = Gross Proceeds

  • Gross proceeds/Number of tickets sold = Ideal ticket price

Now that you have determined a target ticket price, let's dive into how to achieve your goal of maximizing ticket prices for a successful event.

Look into Finding Sponsors

Event sponsors can provide financial backing for the event so that all ticket and auction proceeds can go toward the cause. In return, Underwriters receive benefits for their own financial support. Such benefits can include discounted tickets, name recognition, and other expressions of gratitude.

you can also offer your underwriters benefits such as extra tickets, VIP passes that grant them access to exclusive activities, reserved seating, or backstage passes if you are hosting a larger event. Your underwriters are important, so be sure to take care of them and offer a special package if it is appropriate.

Value consideration

Your event creates value for the community and is a reflection of your organization. Take the time to evaluate the unique experiences and exclusive opportunities your attendees will be offered as part of your event. These can include access to experts in the field, guided workshops,

Macaroons in a clear box.

entertainment, awards or recognitions for members and sponsors, delectable foods and beverages, networking opportunities, educational resources, or even something as simple as a small gift bag.

Be sure to communicate these benefits and perks to your audience ahead of the event. Don’t be shy! It’s perfectly acceptable to let your guests know about the benefits and perks of the event.

On the topic of discounted tickets, offer your attendees the option to purchase a whole table. This can be a great incentive to encourage increased attendance as well as ticket sales!

Conclusion: The perfect Nonprofit Ticket Pricing

Determining ticket prices for your events can be challenging. You don’t want to charge too high of a price as this may lead to a lower attendance rate. On the other hand, you don’t want to lose money by pricing tickets too low. Follow the steps above to make the most bang for your buck, and maximize your attendance rates and proceeds. Your organization makes a positive difference and is worth the price, and your audience knows that too! By considering the key tips above you can ensure your confidence in your event and your ticket prices.

For more information about ticket pricing or consulting help on how to find the right price, please contact Oscar & Ma.

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