Imagine this. You’re organizing your biggest event of the year, and tickets are selling like crazy. You’re getting excited for the big day, but then the venue owner calls saying they need $50,000 by the end of the week to secure the space or you can’t host your event there.
Cue the panic! Your team is scrambling for ideas to find the funds — at some point, you even consider dipping into your personal savings. In the end, you end up calling countless organizations until you find one that’s willing to invest in your event and help save the day.
This happens all the time. But this doesn’t have to be you. You don’t have to bend over backwards to make sure you have the money to make your event happen.
As part of Eventbrite’s customer experience team, I know that money is the fuel for making an event happen. Keep reading to learn how to fund your event even before ticket sales start rolling in.
Get paid as quickly as possible
When researching ticketing providers, one of the most important things to ask is “When will I get paid for my ticket sales?” Many people assume that the money starts flowing once orders come through, but most ticketing providers will actually hold your funds until after the event is over. The payout is typically sent out the next day, and then it usually takes another few business days for the money to hit your account, meaning you don’t actually get paid until about a week after the event takes place.
Clearly this isn’t ideal, especially when all your event expenses start piling up. Look at companies that can ensure you’ll get funds deposited right into your bank account once you start selling tickets — not after the event is over.
If you use Eventbrite, you can request payouts upfront to get your money faster. You’ll get payouts twice a month up until your event (at no additional cost).*
If getting ticket sales money sooner still won’t solve your problems, you’ll need to look outside the box office. Here are a few ideas:
Crowdfund your event
Have a great idea for an event that you know is going to be huge with your audience — but traditional funders aren’t sold on yet? Go straight to the audience.
If they really want it, they can show you — with their wallets. Just set up a page on a crowdfunding site like Kickstarter, ask your audience to donate to reserve a ticket, and set a target for how much money you’ll need to raise before you can make the event official. Then unleash the marketing campaign.
If you fail to reach the target, your would-be attendees get their money back and you get to move on without any lost deposits.
Snag sponsors early
Sponsors can be a great resource for a number of reasons, but lending your event financial stability is a big one. They want an opportunity to reach and connect with your attendees, so they’ll do what they can to make your event happen.
But sponsors also need to know they’ll get a return on their investment before they throw money at your event — so you’ll need some funding secured before you make your pitch. If your event is somewhat established, try to secure core funding prior to approaching sponsors, and they can take you the rest of the way to event day.
You could also try securing your first few sponsors with Early Bird discounts, targeting local small businesses who might not be able to afford sponsorship otherwise. Then you can use their commitments to convince bigger sponsors to come on board.
Look for investors who might be open to taking a risk on your event. If they have a history in your event’s industry, they might have an interest in hearing your pitch. If your event succeeds, they get a return on their initial investment, much like a sponsor.
Depending on your situation — specifically, whether you have assets to borrow against — you could also look into taking out a loan from a bank or other financial institution.
Get creative with bartering
Depending on what exactly you need your pre-event funds for, you might be able to just work around them. Can you offer your venue free ad space for their upcoming events until you can come through with cash? Can you offer the caterer the contract for your next event up front? Perhaps that partner who’s demanding an upfront fee can be turned into a sponsor instead.
It will take some creativity to find a pile of money that wasn’t there before — well before your event. But it’s doable.
Want more tips on growing your event with little to no funds? Check out “The 10 Best Ways to Promote Your Event Online.”
*Note: Eventbrite holds a small portion of your sales until after the event ends to account for refunds and chargebacks