How to Cultivate Return Guests at Your Next Special Event
I have both attended and offered her services at her fair share of special events. “If people aren’t having fun, they aren’t going to come back. That’s just a fact,” Snow says. Many supporters, sponsors and donors are invited to several fundraisers annually, and you must take the necessary steps to make yours a memorable one.
Here Snow offers her tips for creating an engaging and memorable evening to
which people want to return:
1. Offer to cover costs when approaching caterers, designers and others. “If you ask for something for free, you’re not going to get what you want,” Snow says. “When you offer to cover costs, you get a better product that will elevate your event.” When you show caterers, designers and other contributors you are
willing to work with them, they will take extra steps to make sure you’re satisfied with their services, because hopefully that will translate into return business for them. Offer press or other benefits to supplement their donations or discounted prices.
2. Avoid the traditional sit-down dinner. “Everyone says cocktail parties are the best,” Snow says. Give your guests something to remember by creating a fun, inviting atmosphere that helps facilitate conversation among guests.
3. Incorporate a Sotheby’s-style auction. “Move everyone to a separate space where you have their undivided attention and hold a Sotheby’s-style auction,” Snow says. “They are infectious and really fun for guests.” By moving guests into a different room, you create a smooth transition into the next portion of your evening. Hand out paddles that are preassigned by name to ensure an organized
auction, and offer both expensive and affordable items so all attendees can participate.
4. Recruit an impressive board. “Heavy-hitter names will attract reputable guests who want to be in their presence,” Snow says. Inviting big names creates excitement, but make sure to recruit board members who you know will purchase tables and cultivate new supporters for your organization.
5. Push personal connections to guests. Remember your event is a social outing for guests. When it’s fun and includes the people they want to meet, you’re guaranteed to have return attendees.
Source: Meryl Snow, Vice President, Feastivities Events, Philadelphia, PA.
Phone (610) 659-9197. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.MerylSnow.com