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December 7, 2018 Brainstorming Fresh Fundraising Ideas

Refresh your charity auction fundraising event

After each charity auction we conduct a post-auction evaluation with our nonprofit clients. The group shares things they thought worked well and discusses any areas that could be improved upon. When we begin consulting with the client for the following year’s event, about four to six months out, we revisit the notes from that evaluation.

Sometimes we get so caught up in the history of the event that we fail to include ways to refresh the event out of the discussion. I’m not talking about changing the menu or the venue, but about refreshing things that are specifically fundraising-related. Let’s explore some of these things together.

Your evening’s program should be mapped out with fundraising in mind rather than a goal of entertaining the guests. Many times, charities want to schedule the fundraising portion of the event at the end of the evening, which is the same time your attendees begin to experience “guest fatigue”. I highly encourage just the opposite. Conduct your fundraising activities early in the evening, while the guests are fresh and intoxication is not yet a concern. And remember, guests don’t want to stay at an event for 3 or 4 hours, so keep that in mind when putting together your event agenda.

I’m increasingly encouraging my nonprofit clients to consider focusing their events more on the appeal. An appeal is called by many things – Fund-A-Need, Fund-A-Mission, Paddle Raise, Pledge, Mission Moment, etc. You can read more about this important component of any fundraising event, and how it can raise a lot of money for your charity’s mission, in an earlier blog I wrote entitled “A Special Appeal – What is it and do we want it?”. In a nutshell, the appeal is simply a portion of your event that allows guests to give to the charity, receiving nothing in return.

The trend we are seeing at benefit events is groups offering fewer live auction items, usually 5 to 10 items, and a significantly smaller or nonexistent silent auction. Sometimes the silent auction is replaced with 6 to 10 raffle baskets.

With fewer auction items, there could be a loss of revenue. To remedy this, a major focus needs to be made toward the appeal, especially obtaining pre-commitments. Pre-commitments are in essence pledges from donors who commit to giving at the higher levels of ask ($1,000, $5,000, $25,000, etc) when the fundraising auctioneer conducts the appeal. I cannot stress enough how important these pre-commitments are to the success of an appeal. I encourage you to strive toward obtaining a minimum of one-third of your appeal goal in the form of these donor commitments.

If you decide to reduce the number of live and/or silent auction packages, you might consider replacing that revenue with impactful revenue generators.

Many of our clients have found that a Three Trip Raffle is a very successful way to raise funds. This raffle consists of 3 different trips that the winner can choose from. It’s optimum if you can get trips donated that are desirable and of a similar value, but most of the time our nonprofits use travel packages can be found at numerous consignment companies. Our nonprofits speak highly of Mitch-Stuart, Getaway2Give, and Winspire.

To facilitate a Three Trip Raffle, you’ll need to identify three travel packages with similar costs of no more than $3,500 each. Create raffle tickets that include a place to collect contact information so you will have the info you need to contact the winner (and add those ticket purchasers’ info to your charity’s database!). Begin selling raffle tickets for $100 each about 6 weeks prior to your event and continuing the sales through event night, when you’ll draw the winning raffle ticket. You can limit the availability to 135 tickets, or not. Selling all 135 tickets means you’ve creates a net profit of $10,000 for your charity. *Be sure to check and adhere to the raffle laws in your state.

Look at your event from your guests’ point of view and make certain you are keeping it fresh and inviting for them. C King Benefit Auctions has many more ideas to help you do just that! Call us today to find out how to bring us on board for your next fundraiser!

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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