When it comes to getting people to attend your event, the tactics run wild.
You might have tried to “steal” guests via the cold-invitation approach. One of my clients poured through the benefit auction catalogs of nearby charities, made note that so-and-so supported THAT event, and then sent them an invitation to their own gala.
It was effective. Remarkably, the nonprofit’s highest silent auction spender that year came from sending the woman a “blind” invitation. I seem to recall she even bought a table at their event.
(This is one argument for continuing to print some elegant paper invitations, despite your desire to go all-online. Emailing someone without permission is considered spam, regardless of how “beautiful” your email invitation might be. But when someone receives a beautiful paper invitation in their mailbox, it’s not immediately — if ever — seen purely as “junk mail.”)
A better way to build your audience is to identify untapped supporters in your community. Despite what you think, these people DO exist. In this video, I give two examples of ideal auction guests and share why they have never attended a benefit auction in their respective communities.