Given the success of our Q&A style sessions with the VST team and industry experts over on the VST Group website, we’re excited to share with you the first edition of our VST Venues specific Q&A series. And to kick things off, we’re looking at what makes a good venue for charity fundraising activity, with insight from our Operations and Business Information Manager, Chrissy Mitchell.
Having been with VST for over 6 years now, starting in quality control, ‘quality’ still sits integral to everything Chrissy does and considers for VST Venues – especially when sourcing the right venues for charitable organisations and fundraising activity. Knowing what the client wants, what the client needs, and what makes a good venue for these needs are key factors for fundraising success.
Read Chrissy’s top 5 considerations when booking venues for fundraisers, with the session led by our Partnerships Director and Founder, Andrew Smart.
1. Demographic of people attending the site
When Andrew asked Chrissy the question of what typically makes a successful venue for charities looking to fundraise, the first thing Chrissy spoke about was the demographic and type of people typically passing through or attending a site:
“So we know that for a fundraising campaign, typically, our customers are looking for people who are middle aged, have disposable income and are wanting to support charitable causes.
A great example of this is retired or semi-retired people out attending food festivals, farmers markets or big brand supermarkets. Conversely, we know that it isn’t always successful for fundraisers to work in areas highly populated by students. Charities need donors who sign up and stay supporting the charitable cause for the long term, so demographic is key.”
2. The footfall of the venue (and ‘dwell’ time)
Chrissy went on to discuss the importance of not just footfall and the number of people passing through a fundraising site, but also the amount of ‘dwell’ time at said location. You want to give the fundraiser enough opportunity to have conversations with potential donors, especially with those that aren’t in a rush. A supermarket is often a great example of this, whereas a football stadium wouldn’t be given the rush at the start and the end of each match resulting in little dwell time.
Chrissy then went detailed just how VST Venues track the footfall of potential venues for clients:
“For an event in a retail park, we often use Google footfall tracker to find those fundraising spaces which have a steady flow of footfall all day long, not just for an hour in the morning and evening.”
Then, Andrew built on this by mentioning the importance of ‘dwell’ time at each venue:
“And of course, high dwell time is best. Motorway services are great examples of this, next to EV charging points for example. Retail parks, town centres or as a random example, even the Chelsea Flower Show meet both the high-footfall and often high dwell time criteria, matched with a good demographic.”
With Chrissy closing the point by outlining how gyms are often a great high dwell time area as well:
“We’ve also seen great success with premium gym chains, like David Lloyd for example, with cafes and saunas. As opposed to a PureGym where it’s more of an ‘in and out’ gym experience.”
3. Fundraising pitch positioning
“Good weather and a suitable pitch, taking positioning into account, is absolutely vital” – Chrissy Mitchell
Chrissy went on to discuss how in winter, you don’t wanna be outside with no shelter (when it’s cold and likely to rain). So the client and fundraiser needs to have a suitable pitch where those doing the fundraising are comfortable and happy, and have ample opportunity to interact with potential donors. A sheltered or indoor pitch or foyer space is pivotal if you’re outside in Autumn and Winter.
When we’re booking supermarkets and venues for fundraisers, we always negotiate a foyer area, and avoid outdoor pitches in cold and unpredictable months! If this is not possible our team will always check each venue has somewhere sheltered and warm if you can’t fundraise inside for any reason.
4. Ensuring ROI on the cost of venue
We are very aware that the venue, site, pitch, location or event we book has to be commercially viable.
“At VST Venues, we always take your expected donor acquisition and what you can afford to budget for paying that site into consideration, to ensure you’re achieving a solid return on investment across your fundraising campaign and activities.
Your donor or prospect acquisition cost vs cost per day for the site can help you work out a typical ROI formula. Which should then tell you if a site is commercially viable based on the number of expected donors vs the cost of the site” – Chrissy Mitchell.
5. Rapport with your fundraising site/space provider
From knowing where to park, who you’re reporting to at the venue and what you need to take with you on the day (insurance and proof of ID) through to what promotional space you have, available materials, and stands – you can’t just turn up and expect to have a successful day of fundraising. Planning and strategy is vital for any fundraising campaign.
Chrissy went on to discuss how your chosen field reps and field marketers need to also do their homework. For this reason, leaving nothing to chance, VST brief all of our venue clients with details on where they’re going, an appropriate stand solution, clothing to wear, and also research the demographic and location.
VST Venues have been booking premium sites and venues since 2011, so we have built this rapport and knowledge around a variety of fundraising spaces. We’re trusted by some of the UK’s largest field marketing agencies and national charities and commercial brands, having built partnerships with major retailers, sites, shows and supermarkets across the UK. VST Venues are your secret source of high quality, cost effective venues.
Join VST Venues next Q&A
Are you interested in joining VST Venues’ next Q&A discussion, or want to delve into the topics we covered a little further? Feel free to contact us directly, or connect with those involved in this weeks Q&A session;