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rwrussom
03-14-2009, 08:19 PM
To those haunts that use volunteers from organizations in exchange for donation. How do you structure this. I have put feelers out and have a few groups already interested.
I am going after a fixed number committed for a full weekend run to receive the benefit. I first considered a per ticket purchased donation system. While this might entice the group to promote sales, it also make the last weekend of October the most desirable and the earliest weekends a hard sell. On the other hand, a fixed donation per weekend really does not reward the harder work of the busy times.
I would love to hear how others work the details of this arrangement,

Randy

Greg Chrise
03-15-2009, 02:58 PM
How hard they work, percentage wise is what they recieve from ticket sales. So the last weekend is not when any organization should be schedualed to have their event. The oney comes from the general public coming then and having the events earlier weeks is the free advertising for the haunt to have a big final weekend, of which they may be working and be elligible for a percentage. If you have one of their open nights in addition to the general public, you may actually have the general public do a drive by thinking it is too busy and plain lose money.

Whether it is $2 a ticket or 20% of revenue they are working for, it is the same thing. Plus there are only so many nights an so many spaces for organizations and only so many 20% that can be given out. The house is one of those 20% at a minimum so that leaves 4 other organization spots open. If you have your own actors as well expecting to be compensated take away one of those 20% and then there are only 3 spaces available.

There's the concept but, your attendance expectations, how much you really have invested and how many years you are willing to operate to get this money back, what ticket price will the market bare relative to what you are offering.

Some organizations perfer to just pay for the night rather than speculate on potential income. They already have a budget for this and it can't be more than that or shouldn't be expected to be less. This is the best kind as they aren't concerned for how much was actually achieved or how hard it was to do so many customers. They had their event night in exchange for supporting the event. If they want that last Saturday night it has to be equal to some serious number of tickets sold to the general public that would have been displaced otherwise.

Say your event cost $25,000 even if everything has been donated or uses existing facitilties of some non profit organization, it has a value just like you were out renting a place in your area, paid electric and labor and so on. Each night is to go for $5,000. There is no telling if the weather in the last or even their weekend would otherwise be a poor performer. Once everything is paid for and everone is familiar with their roles from year to year it. Still, you can't plug up that big producing Saturday night for $1000 or $1500 bought/raised at a discount. Or long term you are no bigger than any one organizations personal appreciation party and have no more potential than that. You have lowered yourself to being a caterer or party rental group rather than being the event.

Over the years organizations will pull out and others will grow. People die and people change in leadership roles and don't get it. You then have a history of impressive or not numbers in your specific area of how much can be gained by an organization with your event. You end up with a list of 20 that are interested but oly can place 3 or 4. If one bails, go to the list and get on the phone.

If you are paying the rent or there is a landlord sponsoring there goes another 20 or 25% There might only be space for two organizations. What each offers is what their percentage is. If they onl work their night, they might be at the 5% level of the whole event when they could have been in for 20% of even the general ticket sales. Who knows what that could be.

If you absolutely have to, you can at a moments notice give away the last nights to make a return on investments, all orchestrated from a cell phone in the front seat of a hearse. If you are really slick, you have prearranged not only organizations to help and their patrons but also large groups of customers show up because you had a contact with a group that had nothing to do with the event at this time. Kind of this is time to come see what it was all about and whether this might work for you next year. Every potential sponsor and their people, every potential organization and their people, every local business or even church youth group is brought to the haunt to spawn sales. Even other haunts are invited to see what you have and they are more likely to mention you to those wondering what other haunt experiences can they go have.

Of course you spent all year talking to people didn't you. It's time to come give me $10 or what ever it is to help out these great organizations. Anyone that has taken up hours of my time or weaseled money off of me gets a call. It's open right now, I'm here with the hearse, see you here and they have to pay. No deals at the ticket window. I love hitting up weasels that otherwise would never help the community and only think about themselves.

I'm on a mission to find non contributing, non helpful weasels and make them pay. I get 20% and my list this year is growing pretty rapidly. Bring your friends, bring your enemies! Everyone must participate in the cash flow experiment. Some will pay just not to have the hearse come to their house.

Boni
03-15-2009, 08:20 PM
I assume you know, based on last year, how much you are willing to shell out on actors from volunteer organizations. Divide that by the number of organizations. Don't give some more, some less based on the night they worked, then you get organizations upset that they did not get the prime night.

Basically tell them, last year we contributed x amount of dollars which was 20% of our profit for the year, you are one of 6 organizations we are aiding this year. As long as you provide 25 actors on this date, we will give you 1/6th of that 20%.

The exact number will not be known until 1 week after the event closes. At that time we will issue you a check for the donation to your organization.


Another thought I had, and I am still working on details, have each organization pre-sale tickets for you. I think the best way to do this would be to sell the group of tickets to the organization for 80% of their value, then when they sell the ticket, they keep 100% of the value, so they make 20% of the ticket sold. This might open up your haunt to customers you are not reaching with current marketing.

legendsofthefog
03-22-2009, 07:09 AM
Our haunt started a few years ago in a partnership with the "Y-M-C-A" We had a long-term deal that was fulfilled with in-kind donations up front, and monetary donations down the road. As most people know, it is very hard to break even in the first year. Long story short, we installed an athletic field (our haunt's parent company is a sod farm), and the new Y administration decided it wasn't a hefty enough donation, and they dropped us (after 1 season?). No big deal.

(Back to the point) The deal was: the Y would provide wagon security, ticket takers, tractor drivers (in some cases), and other administrative positions, and try to promote to get kids to come out in exchange for 30% of profits on a 5 year deal (no contract). The Y did their part, whether they brought in other organizations to fill their requirement, or did it themselves. For a first year, we averaged more than 100 actors, 25 support staff for our haunted hayride. We didn't pay out any cash, however, they received an athletic field at their new center, valued around 8K.

My experience says although it is important to work with charities for $$$, you need to be able to 100% staff yourself without them, and their support is only a bonus. We all know you can never have enough actors. Treat them like GOLD and give them a little creative leeway and they'll always come back.