When you are planning your next fundraising event, there’s one area of the event that cannot be overlooked: the cocktail hour. The cocktail hour sets the tone for the entire event. It builds excitement amongst your guests. On top of that, it’s also the first opportunity for fundraising at your event. For these reasons and more, it’s essential that you put some extra time and care into the planning of your cocktail hour.
Let’s take a look at some of the important components that make up a great cocktail hour.
Arrive and Socialize
Give your guests the chance to arrive and socialize. Keep in mind, many of your guests are members of your community that know each other. They look forward to taking the time to socialize. Be sure to give your guests this opportunity as your event opens up.
Don’t Forget about Fundraising Opportunities
Socializing is nice, but be sure to work in some fundraising opportunities as well.
Try out a high quality silent auction (with no more items than about 25% of the number of couples in the room to encourage bidding wars).
Raffles, wine pulls and other games are good fundraising opportunities as well, but be careful about how many of these you choose to do. You don’t want it to turn into a circus with too many games.
Pay Attention to Seating
Seating is an often overlooked component to cocktail hours. In many cases, seating areas can be a detriment to your cocktail hour. A good cocktail hour is set up so that guests can move freely around the room to mingle.
Be sure not to have seating areas (especially high top tables) crowding up the center of your room. Again, your guests want to move around the room and socialize. Large seating areas in the center of the room will mess up the flow of the room. Guests will often get stuck sitting in these areas, rather than moving around the room.
AmFund Tip: If you know that many older guests will be attending your event, put limited seating (benches or chairs) along the outskirts of the room.
This allows the older guests to sit without preventing other groups from congregating around the room.
When it comes time to plan out the logistics of the cocktail hour at your next event, reach out to us at AmFund. Our experienced team will make sure your cocktail hour makes a great first impression with your guests!