Supporting your Supporters
Looking after the supporters that attend your fundraising events and partake in your online campaigns is absolutely essential in guaranteeing year-on-year participation.
Here are some top tips to help you make sure your supporters feel appreciated.
Make sure that your supporters are clearly informed about the fundraising incentives they are taking part in.
If it's a donation drive let them know when are they expected to pay (upfront or over a fixed payment scheme) and where is their money going (can you give more detail about how their funds will be spent).
If it's an auction then be sure they understand the bidding process and if there is to be more than one winner for the same item at a different winning bid, then make this really clear to them. There's nothing worse than when guests get chatting around the table and find out they all won the same get-away for vastly different amounts! Clear instructions in you auction item descriptions can help eliminate these issues.
Also make sure any T&C's and availability options on the prizes are crystal clear. Include them in the item description and add links to calendar availability for prizes that require a date (e.g. a holiday) so they can make an informed decision if the prize is right for them before they commit to bid.
Selling a cruise to Egypt for 10 for $20,000 is great, as is receiving a donation of $100,000. But not everyone in the room may have such a big budget, but would still like to help. Offer a variety of auction items and donation Ã¤Ã³Ã–wishlist' items at varying price points so everyone can participate.
Also think about your demographic: a last man standing donation drive can be really powerful in the right crowd but can make others feel very uncomfortable and obliged to part with more than they can afford: this will only lead to excuses when it comes to ticket sales the following year.
Another way to achieve a similar effect but in a more positive manner is to do a Dutch style pledge auction where the MC or your Live auctioneer will ask people to raise their hands if they are prepared to donate say $20,000, then $15,000 then $10,000 etc. etc. until you get down to under $100. This is much more inclusive in a positive way and by the end of the Ã¤Ã³Ã–auction' when you are down to under $100 it is always great to see a sea of hands in the air Ã¤Ã³Ã± even from those that have already made the bigger donations!
Recognition and Rewards
We all love a little bit of recognition for something good we have done. A great way to do this is to give supporters who donate something visual, be it a flashing badge or a balloon or a flower. This creates a positive collaborative effect in the room where people want to donate to be part of the Ã¤Ã³Ã–flashing badge' club.
For the silent auction, offer incentives for taking part Ã¤Ã³Ã± like entry into a small raffle for anyone that starts bidding ahead of the live event to encourage early participation.
Having a live screen that updates with info on your fundraising achievements is another way to give some recognition to your supporters. Include an honor role of the names of everyone that has donated, thanking them for their support.
Have a competitive crowd? Take this a step further and show a leaderboard of your top 5-10 donators (great if you can tie this in to companies or tables rather than individuals).
Don't make them queue:
We all know how we feel at the end of an event Ã¤Ã³Ã± be it one we've worked at or attended. We just want to get home, kick off those shoes and have a well-deserved lie-down!
Keep this in mind when organising your payment processes for collecting the funds you have raised. Long payment queues tend to lead to stressed event staff and grumpy guests who are less likely to want to take part the following year.
Going electronic will allow your guests to pay directly for winning items and donations they have made via their mobiles, massively decreasing queue times and allowing them to also pay from the comfort of their own home if they have left the venue a little early.
Using a payment gateway you can also collect payments via laptops, iPads/tablets or any portable device Ã¤Ã³Ã± this means your staff aren't limited to one or two EFTPOS machines and instead can process payments from as many portable devices as they would like to.
Don't charge them extra
Credit card fees should generally be absorbed by the fundraiser Ã¤Ã³Ã± it can leave a negative taste in the supporters mouth if they are expected to swallow your transaction fees as well as pay for the generous donation they have made to you.
The same with delivery costs Ã¤Ã³Ã± maybe instead absorb these into the starting bid of an item so it starts a little higher in your catalogue but includes any P&H or credit card fees as standard.
Make it fun
A really simple one but so important.
Break up the speeches with various interactive entertainment, competitions or fundraising initiatives. Something people can come up to is always effective and breaks up the event: be it a wine wall or trying your purchased key in the locked box of goodies.
Don't drag the Live auction on for too long Ã¤Ã³Ã± remember it's only a small percentage of the room that is actually taking part in this.
Use a mobile bidding system to keep guests interested in the silent auction Ã¤Ã³Ã± outbid texts showing who has outbid you really fuel that bidding gremlin inside of us!