Can you sell tickets to your virtual gala?
Can you charge people to attend a virtual fundraiser? Will they come?
When virtual galas started in March 2020, they were an emergency response to statewide lock downs.
Those events scheduled early in the COVID-19 crisis (March through early May) were actively selling tickets and tables to their gala fundraiser.
When nonprofits cancelled the gala or shifted to a virtual event, most reached out to ticket-holders to offer refunds. Overwhelmingly guests said, “No refund needed; keep my money.”
In contrast, galas planned for late spring and beyond had not yet sold tickets. Nonprofits have had to decide whether they can sell a ticket for an event when there’s no “in-person” experience to enjoy.
Is it possible for nonprofits to sell tickets to a virtual gala fundraiser?
Here’s what I’m seeing.
Free tickets to the virtual gala
Nonprofits are banking on higher attendance and reduced gala expenses to generate the income lost from ticket sales.
This could be a banner year for groups whose ticket price never covered the cost of their gala expenses anyway.
Guests are invited to register online. Though the event tickets are $0, guests might be invited to make a contribution, buy a raffle ticket, or take some other action that requires them to pull out their credit card.
Reduced priced tickets to the virtual gala
If a nonprofit was charging $150 to attend the gala, the new ticket price might be $25 or $50 to reflect the new gala style.
Tiered priced tickets to the virtual gala
Some tickets are free or reduced price; other tickets are a premium price and offer an enhanced experience.
For instance, $350 might get you a dinner delivered to your door and other goodies, along with the full live-streamed gala.
But a free ticket is limited to viewing a portion of the fundraising event. You might only be able to participate in the online auction, or watch a portion of the live-streamed gala.
Have you seen creative ticket pricing strategies for virtual galas?
Post your ideas in the comments below.