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May 18, 2018 Smile! You’re on Candid Camera!

Crowd control at your fundraising event

I am told time and time again by our clients that the guests at their charity events are loud and it is difficult to rein them in for the fundraising. I can tell you from experience that this is a real issue and these clients have a valid concern.

Early on in my career as a fundraising auctioneer I received the best lesson I’ve ever gotten on the subject of crowd control from a client with a loud group of guests.

What I learned was not what to do to control a crowd but what NOT to do.

This event had me auctioneering to a very rowdy crowd of guests. In my lack of experience, I shushed the guests.  Yes, from the stage, with the microphone. Now that I know better, I still cannot believe I did that. Since that incident, I’ve learned more effective ways to capture the attention of guests without shushing them (which is a huge no-no, by the way).

I was recently working an event where 750 very noisy guests were in attendance.  I tried all of my tips and tricks to bring the noise level down to no avail.  In the end, luckily, the event generated in excess of the previous year’s revenue. But this experience caused me to reflect on the event and how it could be improved.

When you have a large number of guests in attendance they can HEAR what is going on from the stage but a large majority of them cannot SEE what is happening because they are seated in the “back 40”.  Because those guests can’t see what is going on it becomes very easy for them to disengage and stay disengaged.  However, when a visual aspect is added to the experience for the guests, it becomes much easier to get them engaged and keep them focused on the fundraising. I’m talking about more than a PowerPoint slide listing the live auction items. I’m recommending incorporating a camera that stays focused on the stage, much like a Jumbotron at a concert or sporting event, which broadcasts the action from the stage to everyone in the room.

Because crowd volume and guest engagement play such an important role in how much money is raised, a nonprofit must do everything possible to capture and keep their guests’ attention at charity events.  A professional fundraising auctioneer will help with crowd control but they can’t always do it alone.  Adding a big screen with a live feed for the guests will create a more enjoyable experience for them and will raise more money.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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