Turn Drinkers into Donors: Introduction

One statement that makes me scared for any client is “Let’s get them drunk so they spend more money.” If you have ever said this, thought this, or consider the above to be true, keep reading.

In the next seven blog posts, I will be discussing this topic. First, allow me to define the sentence. “Let’s” refers to you, the nonprofit team who organizes a fundraising event. “Them” refers to your donors who have come to an event to support your wonderful nonprofit.

Most nonprofits provide alcohol at events and in our culture, this practice is accepted, or even, many times expected. There is a BIG difference between the person who has had one or two drinks and the person that is slamming shots of Fireball like it is their job.

Your guests who have had a drink or two are exceptional donors. They are relaxed and have the mental capacity to pay attention. The reality of human behavior is the drunker people get, the more their give a sh&$ button is broken. They are too busy having fun and getting more drinks to pay attention to your mission. If they are not paying attention, they will not become donors.

The myth that people are going to give you more money or bid more in your auction because they are drunk is false. Not only is it false, it is dangerous. A donor who is feeling no pain thanks to Fireball, bids a TON on an item(s) and the next morning your drunk donor feels buyer’s remorse. The next business day, someone within your organization gets a call from Fireball Donor and they are backing out of buying item(s)/donations.

It happens. All of the time. The discussion of forcing someone to pay is long and complicated, but a purchase is a contract and, most of the time, people cannot enter into contracts when they are impaired. Forcing Fireball Donor to still pay is difficult, if not impossible, and also a potential public relations nightmare.

Providing alcohol is most likely part of your event’s culture. But, the bar bill is not the only cost. One cost is the money left in the room because people aren’t paying attention. Another cost is having a donor back-out of buying that fabulous item and now you don’t have that money and may have to spend time trying to find anyone to buy it so you get some money.

How do we eliminate the above train wrecks from happening? Keeping checking back as I review a new strategy each week. Until then, cheers!