The world of fundraising is not for the faint of heart

The world of fundraising is not for the faint of heart. You know this; we know this.

Financially sustaining a foundation or non-profit requires strategy, relationship management, diligence, and sometimes a thick skin. Planning a fundraising event takes all of these things plus a strong dose of organization and collaboration.

Last month, Bloomerang hosted a webinar that discussed best practices and new trends for fundraising event success. Here are some of the highlights of their discussion.

Know your guests. Are you hosting a party for millennials or their baby-boomer parents? Are you dealing with corporate sponsors or perhaps a room full of political movers and shakers? These demographics matter, and tailoring your event to suit these different populations will contribute to your success. Knowing what your guests will find interesting and engaging helps position you to find the proper venue, the best silent auction items, and how to craft your ask.

Less is more. This is especially true when it comes to silent auctions. Flooding your guests with choices does not always lead to higher bids. An overcrowded silent auction can leave guests feeling overwhelmed and disinterested. Focusing on higher value items that are in-line with the demographics of your crowd will help foster bidding interest and competition. This may also extend to games like a “wine pull.” If it suits your crowd, you may consider replacing your usual 100-bottle wine pull with a 35-bottle scotch pull. Charging a higher amount for a chance to win, while increasing the overall value of the prize creates fresh excitement for a tried-and-true event game. Again, knowing your guests is key.

Start your event early. Pre-launching your silent auction online is a great way to garner excitement for event night. A pre-launched silent auction helps you engage with not only the guests who are attending your event, but also with those who cannot be there to attend in person. Allowing guests to preview and bid on items provides an atmosphere of friendly competition among top items, and it helps you raise money before the event even starts!

End your event as smoothly as it began. Setting up your guest registration to allow for pre-authorization of payment will facilitate a smooth process for guests checking out once the event is over. No matter how lovely the centerpieces, how robust the selection of wine, or how lively the band; your guests always remember the final part of the night. Standing in a long line to pay for and retrieve silent auction items can spoil a guest’s overall impression of the evening, no matter how many other elements of the night went perfectly. Allowing your guests to pre-register a credit card at the beginning of the event allows for a seamless check-out, and equipping yourself with enough volunteers to manage the end-of-the-night rush will drastically reduce lines.

The rest is a combination of tenacity, attention to detail, and a little bit of luck. Auction Harmony holds tight to the notion that you know what goals are best for your event. We just want to help make those goals easier to for you to achieve.

Our web-based event organizer keeps all of your silent auction, ticketing, guest, and seating information in one centralized location. With a clean interface and various reporting capabilities, all the details and information you collect in the months leading up to your event can be captured and maintained with ease.

Another web-based tool we offer is our Auction Preview, which serves as a platform to allow guests to peruse and bid on silent auction items prior to the event. Generating excitement for your event has never been easier.

If you choose to partner with Auction Harmony, your event data remains available to you year after year. This allows for a comprehensive look into what historically works and what doesn’t, enabling you to build a future event that has the maximum potential to succeed.

We also offer various services to help make the guest experience easy and enjoyable. Our check-in process includes the opportunity to pre-register guest payment, and is coupled with our simple check-out process which reduces lines and includes a printed receipt for each guest. Your guests will leave your event remembering your mission; not the half hour they stood in line to pick-up their silent auction winnings.

We would love to work with you to build some of these best practices into your next event!

To learn more about best practices in fundraising events, watch the full webinar hosted by Bloomerang here.