A Guide to Raising More Money With Discounted Event Tickets

For many nonprofits, fundraising events play a key role in revenue generation. Whether it’s a single major event, a series of smaller ones, or a whole portfolio, nonprofits often rely on these campaigns to support their most impactful goals and projects.

There are several ways to generate revenue from a fundraising event. But the simplest and most common method is through the ticket sales themselves.

It's no surprise, then, that nonprofits like yours are willing to try different strategies to make sure that their ticket sale campaigns succeed. Not only is ticket revenue the most reliable for organizations, but selling to the right audience can lead directly to success in raising more on event day itself. Offering discounts on event tickets can be a major tool that helps a nonprofit’s event hit its revenue goals.

Here, we'll look at five possible discount ticket promotions for your nonprofit to consider, and how each of them can help your fundraising event reach its objectives.

Remember: in order to sell tickets on your event website or any other online platform, you'll need a payment processor to manage online credit or direct debit transactions! To learn more about how payment processing affects online ticket sales (and online donations in general!) before we dive in, check out this thorough resource.

Early Bird Discounts

One of the most common discount ticket strategies used is an Early Bird promotion. Typically, organizations will offer their tickets at a lower rate when they first go on sale. This offer will be available for a few weeks before prices rise to their regular level.

There are a few key reasons why an Early Bird discount makes sense:

1. For one, it can be very effective for a nonprofit to generate early sales. This can help pay for some of the up-front costs of putting on an event, like down payments for venues and vendors.

2. An Early Bird discount is also effective because of the audience it likely reaches.

3. Those willing to commit months before the event date are generally supporters and fans of your organization. Their enthusiasm for your cause will help create a great atmosphere at your event.

4. Plus, their passion makes them more likely to be willing to spend on merchandise or other on-site fundraising initiatives.

Past Attendee Discounts

Like an Early Bird discount, nonprofits will often use a Past Attendee promotion to generate early results.

This is an effective strategy for many organizations because they have direct contact information to reach those who have supported in the past. Typically, there will be a time limit on this discount as well, but it generally lasts longer than the Early Bird discount as an extra perk.

Inherently, coming back to your event means

1. the supporters enjoyed themselves previously and are likely to have a positive impact on the vibe.

2. As well, attending multiple events is a great sign of a long-lasting relationship forming between a nonprofit and a supporter. Continuing to steward these individuals through interactions at events can lead to eventual major gifts or large pledged donations.

Group Sales

Businesses love to use bulk purchase discounts, and the reasons are clear. Not only is it more cost-effective to sell in big quantities, but buyers can typically be swayed to add to their purchase when there is an incentive.

For fundraising events, there are even more benefits.

1. The hardest sale is often the first one, so motivating a company to send a larger team or a group to invite a few more friends can be a smooth process.

2. Certain events fit ideally with specific discounts. For example, a fundraising gala can sell full tables together so that a company can send ten of its employees to have an area to themselves. In charity golf tournaments, it makes perfect sense to sell a complete foursome at a discounted rate compared to an individual ticket.

3. In other cases, nonprofits will have more flexibility. There can be a standard group rate, where tickets are discounted when, say, four or more are purchased together.

You can also offer larger discounts for larger groups. For example, groups of five would have one rate, while groups with ten or more would receive a lower price.

Friends and Family Discount

Your staff – whether it’s senior executives, team members, or volunteers – are often among your most passionate and vocal supporters. And they likely have a lot of friends and family who support them!


1. Giving your staff a discount code that they can share with their friends or family can be another great way to get the word out about your event and reach an audience that you might not otherwise appeal to.

2. Even better, this is a great way to boost morale and excitement throughout your organization. Your team will feel proud to have a something to offer those they are close with, and they may be extra motivated to put on a fantastic occasion if they know their friends and family will be there to enjoy it. 

3. Plus, you can turn the discount into a fun competition among your team, with a prize available to the person who generates the most sales.

Branded and Personalized Promo Codes

Promotional codes are an effective tactic for many reasons, but today, one of the additional benefits is how easy they are to share on social media.

When you work with influencers, whether they are sponsors, spokespeople, or other well-known attendees, it can be very effective to have them mention the promo code in their Tweets and Facebook posts.

These too can have an expiration date to help drum up excitement and buzz.

To make this type of promotion simple and effective, you can even prepare the social messages for your sponsors, spokespeople and endorsers, so that they can help you sell tickets with just some easy copy-and-paste.

So, how do I manage this?

If you’re ready to take advantage of discount codes to help achieve your fundraising event goals, you may be wondering how to go about it technically.

1. Fully-functional fundraising event tools should offer the ability to create and manage discount codes.

This means that you can generate a unique code, either through random characters or a term you select. From there, you can control all the details of the discount code: whether it is a fixed dollar amount or a percentage saving, which ticket offers it applies to, and whether there is an expiration date or limited quantity.

2. Your best bet for success is to ensure that this ticketing tool is integrated with your donor management tool.

This will make it easy to reach former event attendees and existing supporters, while being able to track your performance, see which promotions are most effective, and identify how this event connects to your organization’s other campaigns and initiatives.

Causeview makes donor and event management simple, from start to finish. With all the tools you need to track, manage, and grow your supporter relationships, Causeview comes with fully-loaded event management functionality.

You can organize all your event details, create tickets and discount codes, design and launch online ticketing forms and landing pages, and easily process transactions with iATS Payments.

Event fundraising of any kind relies on secure payment processing. When you use Causeview to manage your next event, you're also guaranteeing that all your donations (discounted or not!) will be handled securely through iATS Payments, the only dedicated payment processor devoted exclusively to nonprofits. 

To request a Causeview demo, click here.

This informative post comes to us from Doron Barbalat, the marketing manager at Causeview. As the developer of giving apps for nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions, Causeview transforms CRM platforms into Donor Management systems by providing powerful payment processing functionality. You can reach Doron at dbarbalat@causeview.com and learn more about Causeview here.

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