May 23, 2014 What Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg?
While I’m not going to debate chickens, I am going to help you explore your fundraising gala. During my consulting over the past seven years with non-profits, there has been a lot of discussion regarding when the live auction should be conducted during the evening. Many groups want to “set the tone” with keynote speeches, awards and videos, all in tune with the mission. While these things do set the tone and ensures the guests know the non-profit’s mission, I would like to offer a more profitable suggestion.
The biggest revenue over and above sponsorships is the live auction and the Appeal (Paddle Raise, Fund In Need, etc.). Guests sometimes battle with several issues when attending a fundraising event. They can get guest fatigue by “hanging out” too long or drinking too much (which affects giving) and they can be distracted with issues at home (babysitters, etc). My motto is “get the money early” and offer an upbeat and timely event. Start with the silent auction for the first hour and a half or so, closing it before the seated dinner and program. Then I recommend conducting the live auction within the first 30 minutes of the program, saving the awards and keynote speeches until after the fundraising concludes. This allows you to conduct your live auction and Appeal at the peak of the evening from a guest’s perspective. Therefore the giving is at its peak.
So, do you tell ALL about your mission at the start of your event or share a little about who you are, and then get into the fundraising? To me, the fundraising is the egg and it comes first! We may have just solved the age old question. It’s the EGG!!!
Make every minute a revenue generating minute!
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