High Expectations

Posted on 09/21/2016 - by Dan Allenby

free-admission-2A common question that event planners face is whether or not to charge for admission. While offering free access tends to drive registrant numbers up, it also tends to result in a lower yield of attendees. On the other hand, charging for events typically results in a lower number of registrants but a higher yield of attendees.

For example, a free event might generate 80 registrants with only 40 of them actually showing up – a 50 percent yield. But if you were to charge a fee (even a nominal one) for that same event, your attendee yield percentage would likely increase even though it might generate fewer actual registrants. This is because the paid event is perceived as more valuable to attendees. They’re invested, which makes it harder to skip if something else comes up.

The same phenomenon can play out in your work with volunteers and donors.

Have you ever found yourself trying to recruit a volunteer to serve on a board or a committee and saying something along these lines? “We’d love for you to get involved and we know you’re very busy. Don’t worry. This won’t require much of your time and there won’t be any heavy lifting.”

When you say things like this, it actually devalues the role you’re asking them to play. Instead, emphasize that the role is important. While it may require a significant commitment of their time and effort, their involvement will not only make a difference for the institution, it will also be a truly valuable experience for them.

Don’t devalue what you need from your volunteers and donors just because it makes asking for it a little more comfortable. Set high expectations. It’s ok if that causes fewer people to respond with a yes. Because those who do are more likely to show up, contribute thoughtful ideas and do what it is you need.

For many, it will make your request even more appealing.

Want to learn more? CLICK HERE for AGN’s Webinar on Engaging Volunteers Online.