We live in a world where if it's bigger, it must be better.
In the fundraising world, that axiom is not always true. Sure, it's exciting to be in a room filled with hundreds of other well-dressed and like-minded people thrown together to raise money for a shared cause, while also being entertained by the theatrics of the auctioneer. But the reality of large fundraising events is that only a small portion of those in attendance are actually active participants in the live auction. In my experience, I would venture to guess that only about 20% of the room is doing 80% of the bidding and buying. Yes, it does seem that more people tend to join in on the bidding for a special appeal. Though often, that may be the single occasion of the evening when that specific bid card saw any action.
So my question to event planners out there is, "How much thought and effort do you put into the process of guest selection?" Like most not-for-profit organizations, do you simply send out invites to the masses hoping to fill the huge ballroom that you have rented for the night? Or do you pick and choose those patrons who have potential in their pocketbooks and the ones with proven buying power to contribute to your night's cause? What if you could cut the cost of producing your event in half and at the same time, double your audience participation? Wouldn't you be interested in knowing how? Stay tuned for some hints in my next blog.