Strike the match

Too many organizations look at the paddle raise or special appeal as a separate item of the auction. I prefer to look at the paddle raise as the central part of the evening. Typically, no single auction item will ever sell for as much as you could raise through the appeal. Using your pre-committed dollars as a match creates an exciting and interactive way for donors, patrons and the auctioneer to grow the appeal by as little as 25% from the year before to a whopping 100%.

These kind of increases are entirely possible to obtain. With some good preplanning, this could be a reality at your next auction.  It's what I call the Magic of the Match.  What is more exciting than announcing to your audience that you have a $10,000 gift waiting in the wings? Maybe challenging everyone in the room to try matching it his own donation? I think most would agree that the second scenario is just a little or a lot more exciting. Instead of a simple ask, we have created a bit of excitement by whipping up a little bit of a competitive frenzy. There's nothing wrong in a little bit of friendly competition in a crowd that's working together towards a common goal.

While corporate and personal matches at the higher levels grab most of the headlines, it is the donors in the room who are giving at the $250, $100 and $50 dollar levels who we really want to engage in the matching process. Recently, at a smaller event, we used a $1,000 donation as a match at the $100 level and ended up raising another $3,000. We did the same with a $500 gift which brought in another $1,500 via 30 separate donors at $50 a piece.

Raise more of those bid cards high up in the air at your next auction!