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August 18, 2017 Silence is Not Always Golden

There is often great debate within nonprofit committees about whether announcements should or shouldn’t be made during the cocktail time, when revenue generating activities are occurring, at a fundraising event.  I’d like to weigh in from a fundraising perspective on this topic.

Many auction committees prefer there are no announcements made from the time the doors open to the time the guests are seated and the program begins.  Instead, they want to allow guests to have drinks, eat food, socialize, bid on silent auction items and participate in revenue generating games/raffles.

With all of these activities going on, what do you think is NOT top of mind for your guests?  Yeah, it’s pretty obvious – fundraising.  I often pose this question to the nonprofit – “What is the purpose of your event?  Is it a friend-raiser (social gathering) or is it a fundraiser?” I would hope the answer is “fundraiser”.

If fundraising is your goal, the best way to raise the most money is to remind guests occasionally of the activities they can participate in while they are enjoying their evening. And your guests will still have fun with their friends while they are doing this.

My recommendation is to have your professional fundraising auctioneer make announcements about every 15 minutes or so.  These announcements are important to help welcome the guests and to share briefly what activities are going on and how they can be involved.

To drive this point home, I’ll share a personal experience.

Recently one of our nonprofit auction committees decided they didn’t want any announcements made during the silent auction/cocktail time. In the past with this group, we had always made these announcements at this event. In this situation, we were selling a revenue generating game (raffle) called “Best of Live” in addition to some other games.  This particular client has set a new record every year for the past three years by selling the most Best of Live chances.  Because they instituted the “no announcements” policy this year, the results of their game sales didn’t really surprise me. They sold 38% less chances than they did the previous year. This equated to $3,800 less revenue for this event and even 27% less revenue than the very first year they offered this game.  That is some REAL money lost!

I caution you to think long and hard before you make the decision to ban announcements from the silent auction/cocktail time at your fundraising event. Those few blips made to encourage the guests to participate in your revenue generating activities can mean more money for your mission.

If you are looking for more ways to raise more money at your next fundraising event, give us a call or send us an email. We’d love to help you.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!



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