Elk NetworkRun Your Event like a Business Part Four: Deciphering Banquet Merchandise

Volunteer News | January 22, 2020

One of the key components to planning a successful RMEF fundraising banquet is getting the right amount of the right merchandise for the right price. One of the biggest pitfalls people face is overspending on banquet merchandise. This is easy to avoid with prior planning and goal setting.

The first step: Planning

First, work with your regional director to look at the performance of your event in past years. This will determine your future event planning. Look at attendance, gross revenue and net revenue. Determine what you spent on merchandise in past banquets. Guided by these past numbers, set the number of games and raffles your event will have. Then set the number of live auction items and silent auction items you will sell. Taken together, these figures will show you how many total items you need. After all this planning, you’re ready to set your merchandise spending goals.

Getting the right merchandise

Next figure out what kind of merchandise you want at your event and where to get it. Selecting highly desirable products that the attendees will be excited about and be willing to spend large amounts of money for, is key to success.

Some of the best merchandise comes from local vendors and artisans. Have the chapter committee meet with vendors to seek donations of top quality merchandise.

Handmade quilts or saddles can be top sellers. Custom firearms or knives are very popular, along with handcrafted furniture or original artwork. Full donations of gravel or top soil can be very profitable, as well as firewood, propane or heating oil, which are items that everyone needs. Truck or SUV tires always go well. One of the best donations you can secure are hunts or trips, these tend to perform exceptionally well at banquets.

Spending the right amount of money

Stick to your spending goals. Do your best to secure as many donated items as possible. This will significantly reduce overall merchandise expenses. Make it a priority for the committee to go out, talk to potential donors and secure full donations.

You may not be able to get a hunt or trip fully donated all the time. Another option is to do a 50/50 or 60/40 split with the donor on these trips. This can still generate tremendous net income.

When you’ve exhausted donations, use the RMEF merchandise catalog to fill in where needed. The catalog has a variety of products, many with the RMEF logo and at discounted prices, including a good selection of firearms. Your regional director has access to additional firearms at good prices, so make sure to take advantage of those opportunities.

When ordering any merchandise, always order with purpose. Know exactly where that item fits in, such as a card raffle, or silent auction, etc.

Pre-planning merchandise for your event is key. If you tap in to your resources and do the pre-planning, you can ensure that your event will be a success!