So You Want to Run a Casino Night Fundraiser

A lot of these companies will tell you a whole bunch of things, and mainly they do it to…

  1. Help you pull off a successful event, so you’ll contact them in the future.
  2. Want to win your business above the competition.

The truth of it is, many of them do a great job at it, however there are several elements none of these casino entertainment partners can help you with.  I’ll just give you the short list.

  1. Preregistration – I cannot emphasize how important this is when it comes to booking a successful event.  In my career, I’ve seen 2 huge fundraisers implode upon itself because the organizers were going by word of mouth rather than pre-registration, which required all those attendees to put in their money prior to attend the event.  Preregistration also requires the event to have ample time for sign up and incentives for those who wish to sign up early.  This ensures funds to help pay for your event, so you’re not stuck with the event deposit.
  2. Prizes – Although some people don’t seem to understand the law when it comes to these events, you can give away prizes to the players.  Many times you, as the organizer, can petition a company or vendor to offer up prizes for these for free in exchange for brand recognition at the event.  The responsibility of this is with the charity, since the prizes will be on the charity’s behalf.
  3. Ample tables – All the casino entertainment companies I know will work with you on the amount of tables you will need, even until the day before the event (which is not suggested, because of the human resource factor, and the pool of qualified dealers are limited).
  4. Do not skimp on the main draw of your event. – For the sake of all things, do not ask the casino entertainment companies to donate a table or drop down their prices, since you’re not only getting the equipment, but you’re getting the delivery and the hauling away of equipment as well as the qualified talent to run and teach the game.  If you nickle and dime any of your vendors, particularly the main entertainment draw of your event, you put yourself in a position of throwing a poor quality event.  Be mindful of the human resources you’re using.  This is where the old adage “Save a penny, spend a pound” comes in.  If you’re throwing a tournament or a casino event, you’re putting into question the kind of equipment and talent you’ll be giving your potential donors.
  5. Promotion – Lately I’ve noticed that many non-profits do not use social media, but focus on word of mouth to promote their events.  This is foolish, since it impedes the growth of your donor pool.  Most folks who don’t know much about social media think they can do without it, however it stops folks like myself, who want to help spread the word.  Web development and social media promotion does not need to be expensive either.  A lot of the information on SEO (search engine optimization – how to get your website on search engines like google or bing) is available free online and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media outlets are free to use.  If you do not understand it, you can potentially hire an intern who understands it to do it for you.
  6. Brand recognition – Obvious, but not to those who never think about it.  You can get brand partnerships with companies and have them offer up prizes for your event for brand promotion at your event.  Those who ask generally are those who receive, because companies love the positive image of being associated with a nonprofit.  This also works with celebrities.  Not saying this would work all the time, however celebrities love getting the positive press as well.  Getting tied with any kind of large branding can boost the relevance and social awareness of your nonprofit.

There you have it, the short list of what you need to throw a great event.  If you have anything more to add, or have any questions, please feel free to comment.