There’s no doubt some of you have spent a little time in a casino or know someone who has. At the very least you’ve heard stories about slot and table players receiving free drinks as an enticement for them to continue their play – and because of the alcohol – spend a little more money than they had originally planned.
Serving free drinks is a great marketing tool for casinos. And they do it for a specific reason – to make more money. However, when it comes to charitable fundraising events I highly discourage the practice for a number of reasons.
What I’m about to describe is an actual event which occurred recently. I think it will serve as a prime example of how over- serving the guests at your event will actual hurt your bottom line – not increase it.
During the cocktail hour and silent auction the charity had a raffle for a cooler of alcohol. The contents of the “Cooler of Cheer” were all donated bottles of various liquors. Guests were invited to buy raffle tickets with the winning ticket taking home the entire cooler.
It sounds like a great idea – except for one twist. When a guest purchased a raffle ticket they were also given a shot. If the guest bought 3 raffle tickets he or she was given 2 shots.
No one likes to drink alone. So those who bought 3 tickets and had 2 shots in front of them usually invited a friend over to join in on the festivities. The friend who just came over now decides to reciprocate and purchases 3 tickets too. Now he’s given 2 more shots which of course he shares with his friend.
By the time the raffle is over the room has a good number of people with 3 to 4 shots in them – and that’s not counting what they consumed before this all began.
Now, the meal comes and a little later the live auction is about to begin. The guests who consumed the straight alcohol are now “three shots to the wind.” Not only do they feel over-served, they are tired, sometimes disruptive during the live auction and pay less attention to what’s going on. As a result of being some guests being over-served – the fundraising effort of the live auction suffers.
In an earlier Blog I talked about non-alcohol events. My conclusion was they are not the way to go – not even if the charity deals directly with the social issues that come from drinking.
You want your guests to have fun. Non-alcohol events tend to be quiet and dull and a real challenge to build emotion in the room. And fundraising is all about emotion.
On the other hand an event should never be set up where guests could be over-served. Remember, your goal is to make sure your guests have fun, remain happy and healthy throughout the course of the evening and perhaps most importantly, make good decisions at your event.
A little bit of alcohol is wonderful. Too much alcohol has the real potential of backfiring on your fundraising efforts.
Remember, too many “bottoms-up” leads to “bottom line down.”