The Nonprofit Guide to Sell More Event Tickets

The Nonprofit Guide to Sell More Event Tickets_Blog HeadersThe Nonprofit Guide to Sell More Event Tickets

The Basics You Need to Succeed Selling Tickets and Filling Seats



  1. Choosing a realistic ticket price
  2. Make your event irresistible
  3. Honor an Influencer
  4. Use a volunteer committee
  5. Use social media to build excitement
  6. 06 Tips and Tricks


01. Choosing a realistic ticket price


Price tickets so that you cover overhead costs without scaring away your supporters!

Pricing tickets can be tricky. You want to carefully consider what your supporters and target audience can afford, yet ensure that your event will make a profit.

Analyze what you are offering guests.

If chicken dinner costs $35 per head, then you should resist the urge to charge ten times that as a ticket price. Overcharging is a real turnoff for event goers.

General rule of thumb is that ticket prices should cover the hard costs of producing your event!

Food for Thought:

Consider offering VIP tickets and sponsorship packages for those supporters and companies that can support you at a higher level. These premium priced tables should have upgraded wine and consider giving each of these special guests a lovely gift at their seat (hopefully donated by a sponsor).


02. Make your event irresistible


To sell tickets you must freshen up your event and make it enticing to those who may be bored of the same-old program.

Add sizzle to your event with awesome branding elements or an appealing theme.

Consider adding a theme to your event and build expectations with a clever invitation.

Come up with a tag line and logo that engages your supporters’ attention. This doesn’t cost extra money and does a lot to sell tickets.

Case Study:


A dog rescue organization replaced their unsuccessful dinner gala with a “Dog Days of Summer” concert held on the dog rescue’s premises. The casual invitations featured a logo of a dog floating on an inner tube and encouraged guests to come in swim suits and frolic with the dogs. The event included a local band, food trucks and lots of water games with the pooches. The concert was a huge success financially and is now is held annually and is eagerly anticipated by local animal lovers.


03. Honor an influencer


It is widely known that saluting a person or corporation does much to sell tickets.

Paying tribute to a person or corporation will bring their peers and colleagues to the event.

When honoring a corporation you set the stage for that company to purchase tables and ad space in your tribute program.

Corporations have earmarked funds for tickets to charitable events, and honoring their business ensures they will want the tables filled when they come onstage to accept their award.

Don’t Forget!

Honoring an influential individual brings their social circle into play when creating your invitation list. People are proud of their achievements and want to have friends, family and colleagues on hand to witness the tribute.


04. Use a volunteer committee


Harness the power of dedicated volunteers who will encourage their friends and family to attend


Using dedicated individuals with strong social circles to help with your event planning not only lightens your staff’s work load, but also extends the reach of your mailing list.

When people put time and effort into a project they have “skin in the game” and are far more likely to open their address books and share contacts for your invitation list.

These volunteers also encourage their friends and family to attend their event just as they have supported events of those same folks in the past. All the effort your committee has put into the planning makes them determined for the event to be a success.


05. Use social media to build excitement


Social Media is the quickest way to build excitement for your event.


Make a Facebook Event Page that allows you to post photos and updates as your event takes shape.

Have your committee extend the page’s reach by sharing and liking your posts. Facebook is also an excellent vehicle for sharing post-event details, photos and thank-yous.

Twitter can build excitement and sell tickets as guests tweet their enthusiasm about attending the event.

This platform can keep your event in the public’s eye which makes it more likely that they will purchase tickets. Like Facebook, on Twitter people not only can create posts about your event but they can also share your companies’ posts about the event.


06. Tips and tricks


It is IMPORTANT to remember...

The majority of the tickets are sold either immediately after receiving an event invitation, or two weeks prior to the actual event.

Don’t panic if you have a sales slump between those time periods. Continue to be enthusiastic and promote the heck out of your event. If folks don’t know about the event, they can’t buy tickets!


Everyone feels wonderful when they feel acknowledged.

Saying thank you is one of the most important parts of all our fundraising activity! You should thank supporters upon their purchase of tickets, thank them at the event, and thank them afterwards in a series of (at least) three heartfelt thank you notes over the next several months following the event.

ALWAYS make the DONOR the HERO in all your Thank You correspondence.

Pro Planner’s Tip
Thank supporters in advance for purchasing tickets. They may have been unsure as to whether they would attend, but your kind words could make the sale!


Phrases to Trigger Ticket Sales


  • “We’re all so excited for the event!”
  • “Wait until you to see what we have in store!”
  • “This year will be our best event yet!”
  • “We are so appreciative of your support!”
  • “Whose table would you like to sit at?”

Success breeds success...talking about your event being a WINNER makes people want to participate.

Pro Planner’s Tip

Consider yourself a cheerleader for your event. Always have a positive attitude when discussing the ticket sales with your Board or volunteers!



Phrases that Kill Ticket Sales


  • “I know our ticket prices are high, but...”
  • “We are really in a bind & need you to come.”
  • “It’s just the same event that we did last year.”
  • “I thought the Board would be more supportive.”
  • “I can’t wait until this event is DONE WITH!”

The words you use when speaking to your Board, staff and supporters can make or break ticket sales

Pro Planner’s Tip

There are times when all of us get discouraged by the progress of ticket sales. Don’t give in to negativity...your enthusiasm actually sells tickets!


Meet the Author:

A.J. Steinberg

A.J. STEINBERG, from Queen Bee Fundraising

As principal of Masquerade Events, A.J. Steinberg has been creating outstanding successful events for nonprofit and social clients since 1999.

With a background in marketing and fundraising, it was natural for her event planning company to become specialists in nonprofit events. Working as a nonprofit consultant and liaison, A.J. became known for her success guiding volunteer committees in their production of nonprofit galas, fashion shows, concerts and street festivals.

Working with a broad spectrum of nonprofits including The Jane Goodall Institute, Cystic Fibrosis, BreatheLA and Union Rescue Mission, A.J. became the leader in the field of committee-based fundraising. With a keen understanding of the benefits of engaging volunteer committees to create fundraising events, A.J. also studied the risks involved with having non-trained volunteers representing a nonprofit in their fundraising efforts.

In 2015 A.J. created Queen Bee Fundraising which focuses on the art of nonprofit special event management. A.J. teaches volunteers and nonprofit professionals the strategies for producing successful fundraising events along with guidance on how to successfully lead volunteer committees to achieve their goals. Her workbook series, Successful Nonprofit Events, will be published by the Charity Channel Press in 2017. A.J. Steinberg leads webinars, workshops and appears at speaking engagements that teach the art of committee-based nonprofit special event management.

Topics: Fundraising, nonprofit members, nonprofit, Nonprofit Communication, best fundraising, branded event, nonprofit expert advice, fundraising events, Event, nonprofit events, how to make fundraising easy, Nonprofit Tips & Tricks, Events for nonprofits, fundraising for nonprofits, Nonprofit Organizations, Nonprofit Professionals, fundraising skills