Maximizing Your Fundraiser for a Record-Breaking Paddle Raise
Welcome to our innovative fundraising guide. After extensive experience and keen observation, we’ve identified three pivotal strategies often overlooked in traditional fundraisers. Our approach goes beyond the expected, transforming every fundraiser into a record-setting event.
How To Get Money In The Room
One of the hardest things to do when raising money is to get money in the room, but here’s a way to do it–give an award.
Many non-profit do this, but for those who don’t, I would highly recommend it for two reasons. Honoring someone who has done a lot for your organization is a nice moment at every event. But if honoring someone is 1A, 1B should be to honor someone who has financial means. Think of it this way, the person you are honoring usually has friends who also have financial means and they will likely invite those friends to join them at their table. Now, you have 8 more people or at worst 4 more couples who will donate because their friend is being honored.
However, don’t honor the honoree until the paddle raise and the live auction is over. Make them sit through the fundraising. If you honor someone before the fundraising, they might leave immediately after the award. Don’t miss this opportunity to maximize your fundraising event.
Closing the Bar, Opening Wallets
One of the best strategies to maximize your fundraising gala is to close the bar during the paddle raise and live auction. However, when I bring this up to every non-profit the reaction is the same, “Our donors are going to be very upset if we do this.” The non-profit is correct to a point because most people are more willing to donate when they’ve had a glass of wine or two. However, a glass of wine is great when they are sitting at their table, not standing at the bar. I explain to the person organizing the event, “If someone is waiting in line at the bar for a vodka tonic, do you really think they are paying attention to the paddle raise or the live auction? Just think about how much money we will potentially lose because someone wants a drink.” My suggestion is to close the bar during the fundraising and open it back up when the fundraising is over.
How do we do this? We give a 15, 10, and 5 minute warning when the bar is closing so everyone is aware this is happening and we also put a sign on the bar that the bar is closing temporarily at a certain time.
We want our donors to give their full attention during the fundraising, but if we give them an option to take their attention away from the fundraising, like leaving the bar open, we are losing money. So, if you want to maximize your fundraising and take every penny out of the room, close the bar so your donors open their purses and wallets.
The Fantastic Four Elements for a Record Breaking Event
Don’t make your timeline wait because of the waiter/waitress service
We’ve talked about keeping a tight timeline and one thing that can throw it off dramatically is a sit-down dinner. A sit-down dinner is formal and it feels more special, but it can also wreck your fundraising.
The slower the wait service to go with not enough staff, the more it will slow down your timeline to get to the fundraising. Make sure salads are plated as well as desert. Every time plates are served and cleared, it eats up valuable time and you don’t want this happening during the fundraising as it causes a distraction in the room—taking away from raising money.
You are paying for this service, so demand they have more than enough staff to work quickly. Remember, the longer the program, the more people are going to want to leave your event. Don’t let them leave because the venue didn’t have enough staff on hand as you will watch money walk out the door.
The little things: lighting, sound, sightlines, and seating
It seems obvious to have good lighting, sound, and sightlines, so be diligent when scouting a venue.
Make sure the lighting is good enough so people in the back of the room can see the auctioneer, who is likely standing in the front. If your guests can’t see the auctioneer and the auctioneer can’t see them, there is great potential to lose money. Throw in poor sightlines with wooden beams in the room, and it’ll be very difficult to see raised paddles.
The same goes for sound. Make sure the venue supplies the audio and test it out while scouting the event. If your guests cannot hear the auctioneer describe the live auction item, you guests won’t bid.
Sometimes it difficult to have everyone sitting at a table in the room, but this is crucial to fundraising as well. More people tend to talk when they are standing than when they feel like they are a captive audience sitting down.
I did an event where people were sitting in the front and the other half were standing in the back. Nearly 90% of the money came from the people sitting in the front, while the people standing in the back were talking and doing nothing more than making noise—distracting from the fundraising.
Be a Part of the Change
Join us in revolutionizing the world of fundraising. Be a part of our next record-breaking event and witness how these strategies transform the traditional approach to raising funds. Together, we can achieve unprecedented success.