9/5/17

Case Study: How An Emerging Charity Doubled Its Fundraising Target

It can be challenging for new and emerging charity organisations to establish meaningful connections with potential donors. Competition for funds is fierce. It is therefore critical for new and emerging fundraisers to actively engage potential supporters. Ride for Jase was established in 2016. The organisation was set-up in support of Ben Wood's epic 18,000 km cycle around Australia . This coming June Ben will complete the ride to raise awareness about mental health illness. He will also be looking to raise money to support the mental health charity, the Black Dog Institute. On Saturday April 29, Ride for Jase held its inaugural Gala Auction Evening. The black-tie event took place at Sydney's beautiful Hilton Hotel. The primary purpose of the evening was to raise funds to support Ben Woods' ride. Ride for Jase set a fundraising goal for the Gala evening of $35,000. They ended up smashing that target to raise over $75,000. It's an amazing achievement for an emerging charity. A large percentage of the funds were generated through the silent and live auctions. Here are the key elements that made a difference:

  1. A Marvellous MC

We talk a lot about how a great MC is worth her or his weight in gold. Get the right person and the ROI can be huge. For Ride for Jase's Gala ball the MC (Matty De Groot) achieved a key aim: to get everyone registered for the auction. The trick is to make registration a quick and easy process that is achieved at the start of the night (before any alcohol really starts flowing). Getting registration done early also allows time for any questions or queries about the auction to be addressed well ahead of the auction itself. You can read more about how to register 1,000 guests in 1 minute here. But needless to say the Gala evening's MC did a great job in getting everyone registered super quickly.

  1. Professional Auctioneer to Encourage Underbidders

A professional auctioneer can also generate a much better outcome for funding on the night. He has an important role and can make a difference by galvanising the underbidders. Having multiples of a single item (e.g. holidays) means you can create some competition (and fun) amongst a number of bidders. At the Ride for Jase Gala night a number of people bid for an amazing Private Port Douglas Mansion holiday. There were three holidays available. Naturally, there was a leading bidder. But those behind the leading bidder were given the chance to secure the prize at a lower amount. The auctioneer encouraged underbidders to up their bid to a certain amount with the promise of still securing the prize. It's a sure fire way to maximise the amount raised and to ensure as many bidders as possible get the item they want.

  1. Amazing Speeches

It's fair to say that attendees of charity events already have an emotional investment in the cause. However, it really helps to provide detail about the importance of fund raising, what the money will be raised for and how it will make a difference. At the Gala evening Ben Woods gave an impassioned and moving speech about his brother, Jase, and how he inspired Ben to undertake his epic adventure. Ben also made it clear that the funds raised on the night were vital to ensure the ride could take place. They would go towards elements needed for the cycle, such as equipment and a support crew. Ben also introduced a former commercial airline pilot who was grounded due to the debilitating nature of his mental illness. The pilot told his story and underpinned the huge importance of raising greater awareness about mental health and continuing the research into its treatment.

  1. Big Screen Visuals

A visual display gets everyone focused on the auction action as it happens. Ride for Jase had a leaderboard running on the big screen for the night. Everyone could see who was leading the charge for each item. With current bids also shown, bidders knew exactly how much they needed to bid to try and secure the items they really wanted. Leaderboards create a feverish sense of excitement and competition. With people keen to see their name at the top of the board, big screen visuals gets bidders to dig deep and bid big.

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