The “Fund-A-Need” program is a vital part of any benefit auction. It is often times the largest source of revenue for the event. It must be done correctly, however. Here are some ideas to get you started.
First, you must decide on the need that you will fund. It is imperative that you describe the benefit that will be achieved. For example, who will receive the benefits or what opportunities will it provide? Determine the amount of money needed to completely achieve the goal. Create funding levels that most people who attend your event can participate in. For example: $100 will provide a child food for a month, $500 will provide new clothes, etc.
Contact key donors before the event to determine their level of commitment and find those willing to contribute matching funds. Even if they cannot attend the event, they can participate via proxy. Make sure to acknowledge their donations at the auction to inspire other donors or to generate the initial bidding.
Next you must determine how to schedule the “Fund-A-Need” program into your benefit auction. The program should be carried out during the live auction. Timing is important! If it is too early in the program, the energy may not be built up sufficiently and guests are still holding their funds expecting to win bids on items coming up. If it is after the live auction, it will seem like a separate item on the agenda and the energy of the auction will dissolve. The perfect time will depend on your specific event, but most auctioneers recommend half-way or two-thirds of the way through the live auction.
The speaker who makes the appeal should be someone who is directly involved with the cause. It would be ideal if they are directly affected by the need. They should be passionate but brief, moving the donors to give and inspiring a greater commitment. A short slideshow or video may be used at this time.
It is appropriate for the speaker to introduce the “Fund-A-Need”, but always use a professional benefit auctioneer to direct and accept the bids. He can initiate bidding with a lead giver and capture the participation of the entire audience. The charity auctioneer will generate the energy and make the fund-raising exciting. Overall, your guests should have fun and feel glad to contribute to your cause.
If done correctly, the “Fund-A-Need” program will revolutionize your benefit auction. The financial gains will be well worth the time and effort that is necessary. Your donors will feel much more involved in your cause and increase not only their financial support, but their emotional support as well.