Why you should ALWAYS sell tickets in advance

Why you should ALWAYS sell tickets in advanceSelling tickets in advance is often a challenging question that organizations are forced to deal with when hosting an event. The “pros” are often strong reasons to give it a try. They include things like having the ability to plan and prepare, an essential part of having a fundraising event. It’s like having a crystal ball that tells you how many people to expect (and cook for!), and how much money you are guaranteed to bring in. But more often than not it happens that organizations are scared off by the “cons” of selling tickets in advance. Using online ticket sources means that you may lose a percentage of what you are bringing in to fees, and doing it by hand can be cumbersome, difficult to manage and track, and generally speaking– a pain in the butt.

LET US HELP YOU! UltimateDonations.org has partnered with Eventbrite.com {affiliate link} to make ticketing for both paid and free events a snap.

Don’t believe us? Even with those cons we still highly encourage you to sell tickets in advance, online, and we’re going to tell you why.

It all starts with that crystal ball. Knowing exactly how many people to expect, and how much money you will be expecting to bring in, is huge! It takes away that element of surprise and the stress of whether you will be prepared or not. And let’s face it, people buy EVERYTHING online now. You buy movie tickets, pay your bills, make restaurant reservations, do your grocery shopping, order your medical supplies online. So it’s not really a stretch to see that your audience is comfortable with going to the internet for almost everything; don’t be the one thing they can’t get online! In fact, very few people are willing to drive to skip the online fees – it’s convenient and it guarantees them a spot at your event, unlike purchasing tickets at the door.

But couldn’t I sell tickets in advance by giving out my phone number or email address, and save my organization the fees? Well, you could. But if you do, the next thing probably won’t happen… When you use online ticket sale platforms, guests have the ability to share the event online easily with friends who might also want to come. This social share often times makes the difference between a well-attended event, and an event that is busting at the seems. Let’s do some simple math. Let’s say you are hosting a Beefsteak Dinner. Tickets cost $30 per person, and you generally sell 150 tickets. That means that you make $4500 on tickets sales for your event. Not a bad haul. But maximum capacity is 250. Now let’s say you use an online ticketing platform that integrates social sharing, like the Eventbrite.com {affiliate link} software does. Now when someone buys a ticket they have the option, with a click of a button, to tell all their friends on social media that they are going. Their friends think, “hey that sounds fun!” and they buy tickets. Before you know it, the event sells out… 3 weeks before the doors even open! That $4500 grossing event is now bringing in $7500! Wow. The bottom line is that selling tickets online and in advance gives you greater odds of selling out and maximizing how much your organization will make. It even gives you the opportunity to decide if you want to add another sitting if the event is super popular.

But what about those fees?? Well, there are two ways to address those. First of all, it is possible to pass along those fees to the person purchasing the tickets. If you don’t want to do that, and the organization wants to absorb the costs then you’re probably looking at between 6-9% once everything is said an done (credit card fees, ticketing platform fees and convenience fees), depending on the ticketing platform. Of that $7500, even at the high end of the spectrum, it’s still under $700. But the thing is, we haven’t talked about the last really important reason for selling tickets in advance, online.

Selling tickets online is a great idea is because it allows you to collect those precious email addresses. And chances are, if someone has come to your event once and had a great time, they’ll likely want to hear about your next event so they can come back again. Creating these lists make it event easier to ensure that future events are well attended, and is also a great way to spread the word about the good that you do and the causes you support. And that’s great for your organization!

Looking for event software? Contact us today at media@ultimatedonations.org for more information

Media and Marketing at Ultimate Donations
Jaime is the conceptual mastermind behind UltimateDonations.org, a website that helps nonprofits find and request product donations for fundraising events. When she is not helping nonprofit events to reach their fullest potential, she's spending time with her two adorable girls, volunteering within her local community, and sneaking leftover Halloween candy when no one is looking.