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May 30, 2014 A Special Appeal – What is it and do we want it?

Many non-profits host a live and silent auction in order to raise much needed revenue.  These methods are very popular and profitable but require labor to get the donations, store them, and display them at the event.  In addition, most guests attending a fundraising event know they will spend money in support of the non-profit.  However, if they do not see something in the silent auction and can’t afford or are out bid on a live auction item, they go home with that money in their POCKET! 

There is a method to seek additional revenue that can raise money without a non-profit asking for the first item to be donated.  I’m speaking of the Special Appeal, Fund In Need, Paddle Raise, Stand up for Kids, etc.  It has many names and can be customized by the non-profit.  It is simply an opportunity at a point predetermined during the live auction for guests to give at various dollar amounts during “the ask”, or Appeal.  At a recent fundraising gala during the Appeal I received donations of $242,000 over and above the live and silent auction, simply by asking.  Granted, this group has conducted an Appeal for several years, but once you get your guests to understand and expect it, the sky is the limit.

The Appeal is set up by someone related to the organization who has personally received services or funding and who shares their personal story.  If conducted correctly, the Appeal is a celebration of what the non-profit is doing and not an “alter call.”  If the Appeal is not set up correctly it can turn donors off.   A professionally trained fundraising auctioneer can guide you in the best manor to conduct your Appeal.

Many groups have alternated their live auction to every other year and conduct an Appeal on off years. Others do a combination of live and Appeal every year, while others offer an Appeal only.  You need to determine what best fits your non-profit.

If you are not conducting an Appeal, I strongly encourage you to consider doing so.  Guests with money are coming in the door ready to give. How much is walking out?

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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