Helpful Tips for Charity Events
Charity events require a lot of equipment: Tables, Chairs, Linens, Tents, Lighting, Generators, Restrooms etc. You want to try to get these for free or at cost. This requires you to call around to different companies to get the best deal you can, so most of the money goes to your cause. This is the point where most Charity Organizations will hit road blocks.
Realize that most event rental companies get at least 10 calls or web inquiries a week requesting assistance, in-kind sponsorships, and free equipment. No one you’re calling wants to be the bad guy, but each of these businesses is For-Profit, and can’t accommodate dramatically reducing costs on every Charitable event. Every aspect of the Rental Industry costs a Rental Operator money. Deliveries of any equipment require warehouse labor they must pay, delivery drivers they must pay, the fuel they’ll use (deliveries/pickup/ generators). Inventory at your event means less inventory in their availability that they can rent out at retail pricing. Labor to do all your set up and take down, the heavy equipment they may need to rent to put up and take down your event, staffing for your event etc……this all adds up!
Below you’ll find some helpful hints that every event rental company will appreciate and take notice of when you’re cold calling!
1. You need to set yourself apart from other organizations that are calling. Research the event rental companies you’re calling. Try to figure out what types of events they primarily do (Corporate Events, Festivals, Sporting Events, Galas, Weddings etc). Do you have an “in” with a large For-Profit event that you can assist them with introductions? Do you have a major sponsor for your event or Charity that does their own events? Think about ways that you can be an equally good partner to the Rental Companies you’re trying to get deals from.
2. Put a marketing plan together. Gone are the days where an event company’s logo on your Website, Step, and Repeat, Social Media pages etc will be enticing, they do not drive traffic to Rental Companies Websites. Event Rental Companies are looking for a Return on their Investment of providing free or drastically reduced pricing. Consider offering them a Blog or Press Release Spotlight about their partnership with your Charity. Are you doing any kind of Commercials or Radio advertising for your event? Offer them mentions on these! Mentioning a Company’s Name several times throughout your event and what they provided for your event, is equally important! Offer them tickets to your event that they can use to entertain their existing clientele or woo a potential client!
3. Plan your event in your area’s Off Season!!! This is extremely important. For instance, Florida’s busy season for Events is when the weather is cooler and the chance of rain is low. This is an Event Rental company’s prime money making season and inventory is at a premium. A company is less likely to be able to help you when they have most of their inventory already booked with more orders expected to come in. This also means that their office staff and field staff are stretched thin. Planning an event in slow season dramatically increases your odds at getting assistance.
4. Never, ever disclose the pricing you received from a Rental Company to guests at your event who are interested in using their services for their own event. The pricing you received is not retail pricing and was custom created based on your specific event and you are agreed upon sponsorship or marketing plan.
5. Be Loyal. If the Rental Company did a good job for you, was a good partner to you, helped promote your event……don’t shop around for better pricing the following year.
6. Be prepared. Have a site map ready including locations of utilities (water, power etc), where you want tent’s, stages, chairs, tables etc. Provide a complete list of inventory needs. Have solid delivery dates, pick-up dates, event hours, expected the number of guests etc before you start cold calling. This reduces the amount of time a Sales Person needs to spend to put an estimate together so they can get with an Operations Manager to see what their company’s hard costs will be. Being prepared will get you MAJOR Brownie Points!
We hope you find this helpful, and we appreciate everything you do to make a difference in your community!