At HGAFundraising, we are always looking for ways to make fundraising more efficient and effective so that non-profits of all sizes can raise as much as possible for their cause. Many of the non-profits we work with have committees and teams dedicated to fundraising, but some have just a few people in charge of fundraising events. Let's take a look at how you can use the resources you have in the most efficient way.
How Do You Raise Money More Efficiently?
The first thing you need to ask yourself is how much money do you want to make? When you have a concrete number in mind, you can reverse engineer how you will hit your target.
Before Covid-19, I would tell people they need to have at least 50% of that money raised before the event. Now, I'd say at least 70%. You can raise that money by taking advantage of underwriting opportunities. We talked at length about the opportunities available in this blog post and how asking donors to sponsor aspects of your event is more effective than selling tables. Remember, your donors are excited to help you raise money, so don't feel awkward about asking for money.
Raising money efficiently means focusing on the fundraising activities that raise the most amount of money for the least amount of effort. Here are some ideas that are super easy to set up. We've helped non-profits set them up the day before the event.
Last Champion Standing
Last champion standing is an effective fundraising activity, and we were converted when we saw it raise $11,000 for a Yeti Cooler with a 12-pack of beer and some odds and ends that were worth around $1,500. How it works is the auctioneer presents the item and asks everyone who would pay $50 for the item to raise their paddle. Then, they ask everyone who would pay $100 to keep their paddle in the air and so on and so forth, until there is only one person left. It creates some healthy competition and provides some novelty to your fundraising event.
We recommend keeping your live auction short. We talk a lot about the golden hour of fundraising because, after an hour you start to lose the attention of your donors. The focus and attention of your donors are your most valuable asset in fundraising, so be mindful of that with a live auction. We always recommend keeping the live auction compact by using a premium silent auction to sell high-ticket items.
Premium Silent Auction
Use your silent auction to sell high-ticket experiences that capture the emotions of your donors. Vacations are a great item to use in a premium silent auction because most of your donors will be planning a trip for the near future, so this allows you to tap into their vacation budget as well as their donation budgets. Just remember to set your starting bid 20-25% more than what the item will cost you. This way, even if you only get 1 bid, you still raise money.
Golden Ticket Raffle
Raffle off a high-ticket item for $100 per ticket (or $250 for really high-ticket items) as an easy way to add $10,000 to your bottom line. The golden ticket prize could be an item that was donated or you could get the golden ticket prize on consignment. We recommend using your social media to allow people to preview the items for the golden ticket, live auction, and the premium silent auction before the fundraising event. The prizes and auction items should not be a surprise - you want people to think about what they want to bid on in advance.
How Do You Use Resources and Talent Efficiently?
Another thing to consider is what kind of staff power you have available. All the revenue enhancers we discussed above don't need large amounts of time or staff power to implement. Everything else that goes into organizing a fundraising event does, though. So, it is important to make sure you are using your team and volunteers efficiently.
The first thing to think about is the talents of each member of staff. Let's say you have a team member who is great at sales. It doesn't make sense to send them on a 2-hour roundtrip to collect a donation for the live auction; you want them on the phone calling donors and asking them to underwrite the event. Send a volunteer to pick up the donation instead.
Next, you want to protect your event and fundraising teams from getting overwhelmed. You want their focus to be on the most important aspects of the event instead of allowing the committee to pull their focus in a million different directions. If you've ever worked with a committee, you'd know that committees are great at finding things for people to do. Empower your committee to keep their eyes on the most important things and work with the team to prioritize tasks. Reverse engineer suggestions to find out how it will work. For example, if someone suggests a fundraising activity, work out what you want to earn from that activity and then find the item that would make that happen.
At HGA, we're dedicated to helping nonprofit organizations Raise More Money through coaching, auction items, and auction software.