Fundraising Blog

12 questions to ask when choosing a ticketing platform for your nonprofit’s fundraising gala

Dee Brannick
Fundraising specialist, Co-Founder of GalaBid

If you are planning a fundraiser, perhaps a gala dinner and you are looking for a way to sell and distribute tickets you may be surprised at the number of options a google search can return.

Here is an overview of some key features important to nonprofits and questions to ask yourself when evaluating the various software options available.

1. If your nonprofit event is a gala dinner do you need a ticketing platform that facilitates table sales with the ability for table purchasers to invite and manage their guests? 

Advanced ticketing platforms will allow the table purchaser to invite and manage the invitations of guests at their table.

Everything from sending the invitations to guests, automated ticket distribution for confirmed guests, the management of cancellations and replacements can massively streamline this process for table hosts. In addition, an integrated seating planner is available with some ticketing platforms and this feature can be extremely useful for table hosts and event organizers.

Individual Tickets and Table Sales

2. How will I check guests into my gala event?

Consider the number of guests that will need to be checked into the event.

At many galas guests are greeted and checked in by event staff. As a minimum event staff should be able to search the guest by name or table host, The ability to check guests in by scanning a QR code can dramatically speed up the check in process for large events. 

Gala Event Guest Check in Software

3. Does the event ticketing platform also offer fundraising capabilities such as online auction, raffle ticket sales, donation drives and payment processing for live auction items at your event?

With an end-to-end ticketing and fundraising platform, your supporters who register to attend your event are also instantly registered to participate in all the associated fundraising activities.

This may sound like a nice-to-have rather than an essential feature, but having all ticket purchasers instantly ready to bid, donate and buy raffle tickets can have a significant impact on the final total raised.  Everyone can take part - you don't miss out on people who intend to participate, but don't get round to registering or donating.

End to End Ticketing and Fundraising Platforms

4. Where would you like guests to go online to buy their event tickets?

Will you need a ticketing platform that can create a bespoke event website, or can the website your ticketing and fundraising platform creates serve as your event website?

Perhaps you wish to embed ticket sales into your organization’s existing website. Ticketing platforms offer various options. For example some ticketing platforms allow you to sell tickets on facebook and other social platforms. 

Fundraising Ticketing Websites

5. An important question is of course how much does a ticketing platform cost?

Ticketing Platform pricing often takes the form of a box office fee. This fee can either be built into the cost of the ticket, i.e absorbed by the organizer, or, the fee can be passed on, so it is paid by the purchaser in addition to the ticket price. 

Many ticketing platforms advertise "truly free pricing” or “the first and only 100% free event registration software for nonprofits.” These platforms are free to the organizer, however, the companies providing the platforms are for profit and they of course need to be paid.

Instead of asking the event organizer to pay they ask the ticket purchasers to pay. A software fee is added to the price of the ticket and the purchaser can remove it if they prefer not to pay it. The payment is a suggested tip or a voluntary contribution to the platform provider. We all know there’s no such thing a free lunch so it’s best to check if the ticketing platform is free, how the software provider gets paid.

Free Ticketing Platforms

6. How do ticketing platforms charge for free events?

Ticketing for Free Admission Events

Eventbrite used to be the go-to for ticketing for free events.

Since Eventbrite changed its pricing structure many event organizers are looking for an alternative. There are numerous ticketing platforms available where ticketing for free events is provided free of charge. GalaBid’s advanced ticketing platform is free to use for free-to-attend fundraising events.

7. Another question related to pricing is how much are the payment processing fees? 

If you’re accepting cards, processing fees are of course inevitable. How much the transaction fees cost can vary. If you choose a platform where you connect your own payment processing account you will likely receive more competitive rates. 

Many platforms integrate with the established payment processing company,  Stripe. If you don’t already have a Stripe account, setting one up from within your ticketing platform should be a quick and straightforward process. 

Competitive Payment Processing Fees

8. Can I ask or mandate ticket purchasers to cover the processing fees?

Most ticketing platforms will facilitate these options. Covering processing fees can be mandatory or optional.

Passing on Payment Processing Fees for Ticket Sales

9. Can I invoice ticket purchasers instead of taking payment online?

Many ticketing platforms will also enable you to process tickets and tables sales paid by bank transfer, check or cash.

Gala Event Tickets Sales via Invoice

10. Can ticket purchasers make a donation in addition to purchasing a ticket?

In the case of nonprofit events, there is often a desire for the ticket purchaser to have the option of making a donation on top of the price of the ticket. If this is something you would like to offer you should be aware that many platforms offer this feature. 

Donations and Ticket Sales

11. Another question often asked by non profits is whether the purchaser's receipt includes the market value of the event ticket?

Ticketing platforms catering to nonprofits offer this feature.

Fair Market Value - Ticket Sales

12. And last but by no means least, what support does the ticketing platform offer?

Video tutorials, FAQ’s and online chat support staff who are knowledgeable and available are standard for all reputable ticketing platforms.

Some providers also offer consultation calls and dedicated account managers. Check reviews for other clients’ experiences, or ask to speak to other clients from similar organizations to your own.

Ticketing Fundraising Platform Support

Best of luck with your search for event ticketing. Reach out to our team any time for more advice and guidance. Book a 30 minute consultation call here.  

About GalaBid

Ideal for donations. Perfect for Raffles. Awesome for Live and Silent Auctions! GalaBid’s online fundraising platform is designed for fundraisers of all types and sizes. For over 10 years we’ve been helping non-profits, charities, community clubs, churches, schools, and individuals to raise more and make a difference.

More Posts