“The sound was horrible!” “The people on the left side of the room could not hear.” “The video kept freezing and eventually didn’t work at all!” Have you heard—or said this after an event? Worse yet, was it your event? No matter how hard you work to fill the room with the right people, craft an excellent program, get great items for a fantastic auction, create a video that melts the hearts of donors for the Fund-a-Need, or get the greatest keynote speaker of all time, if the audio visual (A/V) isn’t right, you are sunk!

If your fund raising work involves creating meaningful events, make it a priority to create meaningful relationships with reputable A/V companies in town. Remember, their life’s work is events. You don’t want to have someone running your A/V who is new to the hotel job and has never worked a gala before, or someone who speaks to you for the first time—10 minutes before sound check.

But wait, you might say, “I had to use the house A/V. It was in the contract we signed.” And this is where I tell you that it’s time to give yourself options. When you are signing the contract for your venue read the section on A/V. If the venue says you must use their own A/V cross that clause out! ...Remember, they want and need your rental and catering business and can’t afford to lose either to the option of you hiring outside A/V professionals. Even if (and this is extremely rare) the venue has superior A/V capabilities, cross the clause out. Why? This allows you to get a few outside bids for these services (typically cheaper) and use that information to negotiate for a lower rate with the venue you are interested in. 

Give yourself options for A/V from the beginning so you don't have to look at your major donors and say, “So glad you came. I’m sorry you couldn't hear anything!”