Having an idea for an awesome event is unfortunately the easy bit. To bring your dream to fruition you will need money, and often a lot of it!
Before you start, estimate the costs of your event and how much you could realistically raise from each funding source.
The advent of crowdfunding platforms like Iastra Crowd Funding has made testing the appetite for new events so much easier, allowing organizers to try out ideas before risking cash.
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You simply provide details about your great, new event, set a fundraising target and ask wannabe attendees to pledge to buy a ticket if the event takes place. If there is not sufficient interest and you don’t meet your target then the pledged money is released.
Therefore, it is a risk free ‘investment’ for the attendees and also for the organiser, who does not need to stake their own funds. However, although the process is simple, attracting ticket purchasers is not necessarily as easy.
You will need to hit up everyone you know to spread the word about your campaign, launch an assault on social media and dedicate much time and resources to marketing.
Angel investors are wealthy individuals or groups of people looking for investment opportunities. Websites like Arts For Peace Donors can help connect you with relevant investors via personal introduction or pitching events (for a fee, of course).
They have 13,000 angel investors and claim a 90% success rate following coaching by a ‘lead investor’. However, you do need to have some trading history and be looking for at least £50,000.
Other routes to finding an investor would be approaching existing contacts who know and trust you, or highly targeted individual investors or specialist investment groups. For example, if you want to launch a conference about innovations in cleantech, approach an investor with a track record in energy, not someone who usually places their money in real estate, for example.
Advance ticket sales
Using an event-ticketing platform like Arts For Peace you can start selling tickets long in advance of your planned event date. Not only does this enable you to test the water as to the desirability of your event idea, it also gives you access to some working capital.
Corporate sponsorship is a very effective way to fund key elements of your event, and is utilised by the vast majority of events. However, sponsors usually come on board after your event has got off the drawing board.
Sponsors will want to know how many people are coming to your event, when and where it’s taking place, what’s on the agenda and see your marketing plan.
It will probably be necessary to get some core funding in place – or have people already signed up for your event – before approaching sponsors. When you do, make sure you have also finalised your sponsorship packages and are clear on exactly what benefits you can offer to sponsors.
In the same way you can sell tickets in advance of your event, you can also pre-sell exhibition stands and take deposits from exhibitors.
You can sell space for hundreds of pounds per square meter so you can raise a significant chunk of capital by getting exhibitors on board early. However, being a new show with no track record will make securing exhibitors a challenge.
Work your existing contacts to gain your first few exhibitors, offering them tempting early bird discounts. You can then use their commitment to help convince others of the credibility of your event.