Audio Visual 101
What To Think About When Planning Your Next Event

If you have seen a striking presentation that took a nonprofit fundraiser to the next level, you can give some credit to the audio visual (AV) provider. Having solid AV for your event will ensure that the speaker’s voice carries to the entire perimeter of your venue and can set the appropriate mood and lighting for your stage. We consider an AV producer one of the most important partners in the event planning process. Here are a few tips to make the most out of your AV provider.



AV can cost upwards of $15,000-$20,000, depending on your needs and the equipment that you choose. Source out at least three bids and as you review those bids, be sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Pricing can vary based on the number of speakers or camera equipment, the quality of the equipment, and the labor and set-up. 

Many venues, such as hotels, partner with an internal AV company to provide all their AV needs. You are not bound to use the in-house company; however, you may be charged an additional fee to use an external company. It pays to get quotes from both internal and external companies and compare all fees to see which service best fits your needs.


Check with your talent

It is important to run your AV bids by your emcee, auctioneer and speakers. Many auctioneers have specific sound and microphone requirements or may require a teleprompter or a confidence monitor. You should check with your talent to be sure you will meet their needs for the event.



Some events require AV considerations for accessibility. It is important to determine the AV accessibility needs of your guests so that you can identify which accessible technology and gear your AV partner will need to provide. You may need to partner with an additional company to provide services that your AV provider does not support, such as captioning and real-time transcription (CART).


Pull out all the stops! 

Most AV companies can provide more than just audio and visual equipment. Some offer pipe and drape, lighting and even stage and decor set-up. You can really enhance your event with uplighting and music bumps for your program. Sit down with your AV partner to look at the layout of the room so they can help you design the room and convey a specific mood to your guests. 


The devil is in the details

You can hire the best AV company out there, but if you have not set expectations and confirmed all the details , your partnership may not be successful. Share your final timeline with your AV provider well in advance of your event. Be sure to know how much time your AV partner needs for set-up and tear-down. Confirm if they need a dock or elevator for moving their heavy equipment and then relay those needs to your venue. Even the best AV equipment is no good without qualified technicians to run it, so confirm how many techs will be on-site and what time they will arrive and leave. 

Having the appropriate audio visual equipment for your fundraiser can bring your event to life. It is  the key to making sure that even the donors in the back of the room can hear clearly and are focused on your program. If you have questions about AV considerations for your next event, set up a free 30-minute consultation with GFS today.