minnesota fundraising auctioneer

How To Capture Fund-a-Need Donations at your Fundraising Gala

Most events are incorporating Fund-a-Needs, Fund-a-Cause, or an Ask at their fundraising events these days. Many events are scrapping the live auction all together and focusing solely on this portion of the evening for donations. The fund-a-need is one of my favorite portions of the evening because it gives everyone in the audience an opportunity to make a difference. 

The biggest concern for my event chairs, directors of development and foundation directors is how to capture these donations. There are several ways to ensure that these donations are captured and I will cover three of the most common.

1. Paddle Raise - When bidders raise their paddles at the amount they would like to donate, volunteers come around and capture their bidder numbers under the amount they have committed to and it is added to their check out. This is the most traditional way to do capture bids. What's required? Many Volunteers, Bid Paddles, Pens and Paper. Pros: creates excitement in giving. Cons: room for human error as sometimes the volunteers don't see everyone or the bidders lower their paddles before a volunteer can get to them.

2. Commitment Cards - This is where we would ask people to raise their hands to show their commitment and build excitement and then we would ask them to follow through on their commitment by filling out a card with their credit card information and commitment amount. What's required? Pens, Premade Fund-a-Need commitment cards, Envelopes on each table.  Pros: Donors do not have to sit in check-out. Cons: Some people don't worry about raising their hands as they fill out their cards instead which will cut into the excitement and therefore impact giving as a whole. Also, some people do not feel comfortable filling out these cards at each table.

3. Mobile Bidding: This is becoming more and more popular as technology is becoming a bigger part of our lives. People would use a mobile bidding device (provided by the mobile bidding company) or their own smart phones. What's Required? Mobile Bidding software (Such as BidPal). Pros: Real Time donation tracking, no check-out, many donors give more than once. Cons: Mobile bidding software costs money.

I have done fund-a-needs all three ways and have had a ton of success with each one. If you are wondering what is the best way to capture donations during your fund-a-need, contact me today and we can discuss what will work best for your event.

Should Every Event Have a Live Auction?

Should Every Event Have A Live Auction | Sarah Knox Benefit Auctions

Should every event have a live auction? As a fundraising auctioneer, I obviously want to say, "YES! Yes! Live auctions are the best things in the world. Ever." Although, I like to think live auctions are the best things in the world ever (right after my family and a good cup of coffee), they are not appropriate for every event. 

GASP! That's right, not every event is going to promote a successful live auction. There are several types of fundraising events that do not cultivate an atmosphere for a successful live auction. Keeping in mind that there are exceptions to everything, here are a few of the fundraisers that may or may not benefit from a live auction: Fundraisers with free admission, Mingle-style events (again, there are exceptions and it takes a well planned out flow of events to make it work), and Family friendly events.

If you are wondering if your fundraiser would benefit from a live auction or if you want ideas for additional creative fundraising activities, I can provide consultation. If you are hoping to have a live auction at your fundraiser, I can help you prepare in advance to ensure that we are creating an environment that cultivates generosity and active participation in bidding. 

Hosting your Fundraising Auction on a Thursday (or any other weeknight)

Host your fundraising auction on a Thursday night! | Sarah Knox Benefit Auctions

So you’ve never thought about hosting your fundraiser on a Thursday? See the following reasons as to why hosting your fundraising auction on a Thursday is a killer idea:

1. People rarely have scheduling conflicts, so more people can attend!

2. People still give money on week nights – not just on weekends!

For a guest receiving an invite to an event, there is less to think about before responding “Yes – Chicken” when it’s on a Thursday. They already know they don’t have a wedding to attend that night, plus they can come straight from work and eat at your event.

If your annual event is more of a sit down dinner style with speakers who educate the guests on the amazing things your organizations provides to our community, this might be a good night for you! It’s easier for press to attend and cover these events as well because it’s not as competitive as Fridays or Saturdays.

Hosting your fundraiser on a Thursday can be wildly successful, but the only thing you need to do is be mindful of time. It’s helpful to put a start and end time on the invite so people can know how late they will be out on a weeknight. 6:00-9:00, for instance. I’ve even done successful Thursday events that are only two hours long 6:00-8:00. They’ve achieved this by either cutting out a silent auction all together or cutting out speakers and focusing on a live auction and fund-a-need. Guests are always appreciative when they know that the organization values and respects the guests’ time and it makes them more willing to come back and give year after year.

If you have questions about hosting your event on a Thursday night, contact me and I can walk you through some success stories and how this can be done efficiently and effectively.