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!











Appeal? This is what it looks like

With spring break behind us now, it's time to start again where we left off. In my experience, spring time auctions are typically smaller scale events, with some as simple as just a special appeal. If you and your cause or not-for profit group are considering having a special appeal fundraiser; something you might want to consider is a weekday night like a Tuesday or a Thursday.

In my 25-plus years of experience; I have found that inviting your charity's biggest supporters, bringing in a powerful speaker, combined with a well-defined appeal run by a capable auctioneer; you can sometimes achieve the same revenue objective as you would with a traditional fundraising auction. That is, without the added expense and manpower hours that it takes to pull off a typical Saturday night gala. Plus, special appeal-only auctions are also an effective way for you to keep in touch with your patrons and for your patrons to keep involved with your cause and organization througout the year.

A well-defined appeal looks like this:

You state to your audience what you are raising funds for. It may be for continued research to cure a disease or educational funding for a child's tuition. Maybe you are raising money for a specific project or a special piece of medical equipment?

You have the support of a major corporation which plans to match tonight's actual funds raised to double the final event tally. A long-time, loyal patron has been approached or volunteered to start the night's special appeal with a special bid.

You plan to start the night with a $10,000 bid and move down the line till you hit $100. I notice that once my audience gets into a groove with me, the momentum carries itself. So that by the end of your special appeal; we'll find that the majority of the room has participated by making a donation. And in this case, size really doesn't matter. A hundred $100 donations is still a decent chunk of change at $10,000.