22 Dec

Stretching the Non-Profit Dollar

Planning for non-profit events can be difficult when funding is always major component. From a philanthropic standpoint, it is always important to stretch event dollars as much as possible, however it is also important the image and quality of the event do not suffer because of necessary financial constraints. After hosting galas, fundraisers, and non-profit networking functions at all of our Indianapolis venues, we have learned a few things that we find valuable and want to share with other non-profit event organizers.

Working With Vendors

Paying for another vendor may seem daunting, but don’t be afraid to allot part of your budget for necessary professionals that, in the long run, may help you save and raise money. Realistically share your budget to encourage a more efficient planning process. If vendor know what they have to work with, they will do their best to find ways to make it work or can recommend another reputable vendor that might be better suited. Plus, they may suggest ways to reduce costs that you haven’t thought of.


This past fall we were the venue selected to host the Indy SurviveOars’ Pink Paddle Party. Montage was a great location for their organization, and they made use of every ounce of square footage we had! By far one of the best silent auctions we have seen! It took up all of the Riesling Room and some other spaces in our venue. 

Choosing the Setting

We often talk about the importance of venue for any type of event whether it corporate, social or a wedding, but venue selection is still an important puzzle piece for non-profit events as well. Select a venue that includes the most services with the rental of the facility such as tables, chairs, china, glass, silver, setup and tear down, or even audio-visual services. Choose your date wisely as venues are more likely to offer better pricing mid-week and off-peak seasons. A solid rule of thumb is that daytime rentals are usually less than evening, and winter events tend to be priced differently than summer. Don’t forget to ask about nonprofit rates as well.

Feed Your Guests

This is one section we hope organizations do not skimp on. After all, most events are remembered for their outstanding food and service versus how pretty the tall tree in the corner looked. Take into account whether doing an hors d’oeuvres reception is a better option than a plated meal, or if your crowd or event setup warrants a buffet. This is one of the reasons why budget is so important. A bulk of event costs are usually dedicated to food and beverage because they are paid on a per person basis.

Adding Libations

Ultimately, beer and wine bars are the least costly option in terms of open bars. Your caterer will have the best ideas on how to keep beverage costs manageable. A very popular choice among non-profit organizations, depending on the event, are to offer guests drink tickets that they can redeem at the bar for a beverage. Drink tickets will help the non-profit organization control their overall expenditure while also providing alcoholic beverage to guests in a reasonable way.


This may be one of the most creative decor pieces we have seen in 2016, especially from a non-profit group! The Indy SurviveOars displayed their race winning times on this fun sign they made for their beach ball themed fundraiser for their 2017 season.

Creating the Look

Lighting will have the most impact on mood. Even if little else is done for décor, lighting can make a dramatic impact on the event space changing the overall look and feel of the venue. If opting to also include floral, select seasonal and local blooms. Exotic and out of season floral will add expense to your décor budget that you may not be prepared for.

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