A non-profit organization we work with had their most profitable silent auction yet. There were only 56 people in the room, yet they sold 2 Tuscany trips and 2 Caribbean trips in the silent auction. They then resold each package after the event multiple times to the backup bidders. The secret to their profitable silent auction is that they had the right people in the room.
Who Are the Right People?
When we talk about fundraising events, we want people in the room who have significant capacity to give. At HGAFundraising, we like to say that your ideal fundraising event attendees are people who can write a cheque for $10,000 and not miss the money. These are the people who will bid thousands on a holiday to Tuscany and who will bring friends with similar capacity to your fundraising event.
How to Get the Right People in the Room?
Getting the right people in the room is all about exclusivity. The more exclusive and exciting you make your event, the more attractive it is to donors with the capacity to give. Donors can buy almost anything they want, so they are attracted to unique, exclusive opportunities.
A non-profit organization we worked with hosted a small premium spirits-tasting event for 40 people. Ticket prices were set at $1,000 a head, and attendees all got a sip of spirits that cost thousands for a bottle. Once the tasting was finished, they auctioned off what was left. The donors cared about the cause, so they were placing serious bids. A half-finished bottle of Remy Martin Black Label sold for $9,000.
This event was so successful because it was exclusive. It wouldn’t have been nearly as successful if it was a large fundraising event with 600 people in attendance. Small dinner parties with a special guest are some of the most successful events we have seen. The donors are buying the ticket because they’re one of 10 people in the room with the guest of honor.
Here are some things we suggest to get the right people in the room at your next fundraising event.
Nurture Relationships with Your Biggest Fans
Not all donors are equal. Some donors on your list believe in your organization so much that they will give generously whenever asked and bring their generous friends to fundraising events. They will be personally insulted that you didn’t have enough money to serve your cause and you didn’t come to them to ask for their help.
These are the donors that you want to nurture a relationship with. They are your biggest fans and your best salespeople.
When you nurture a relationship with your biggest fans, you can recruit them for your cause. Some of the ways we have seen these biggest fans help non-profits raise more money include:
A successful fundraiser comes down to quality over quantity of event attendees. These tips to get the right people at your next fundraising event come from our weekly podcast.
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