I’ve said it, and I’ve heard others say it: Charity auctions should emphasize the mission of the nonprofit.
- Maybe part of the program is devoted to telling the nonprofit’s story.
- Maybe every live or silent auction item sold has a tie to the mission.
- Maybe the benefit auctioneer inserts one-liners like, “Remember, .90 cents of every dollar you donate feeds the homeless.”
I agree with a mission-focus.
But galas also need to be fun. It’s rewarding to hear about improved health care and nutrition for famished kids, but it’s not really “fun.”
It’s satisfying to hear about reductions in heart attacks, but it’s not really “fun.”
These mission-based statistics make me feel good, but they aren’t “fun.”
Yet when people have fun, you can get them to eagerly engage in activities they ordinarily may not like to do. They’ll pick up trash … recycle bottles … reduce their car speed … exercise. They’ll do all sorts of things if they have fun while they are doing it.
For proof that we’ll do almost ANYTHING if it’s fun, watch this video before reading the rest of the post. It’s one video of a series from a project by Volkswagen called “The Fun Theory.”
If we incorporate fun activities into your gala, you’ll raise more money. And by “fun activities,” I don’t mean “wild crazy party.” That’s not typically constructive to the larger goal of your organization.
But I do mean things like auction games, interesting raffles, competitive activities … all of those are fun at galas.
Over 20 of these activities are taught in my new video tutorial course called “Charity Auction Bells & Whistles, auction games, raffles and activities that make money while guests make merry.” (Note: We change programs every so often, and this program is no longer available. Check out the “Store” for what’s current.)
Jonathan Howard says
Sherry – I confess to being a mission bore. But the first step is admitting you need help. When I was president of my neighborhood association, the jobs I advertised for volunteers to fill included “party person,” and “social butterfly.”
Results: regular wine tastings and social hours at area restaurants, gardening events and other independent neighbor initiatives making direct contributions to our mission – building social capital in the Summit neighborhood.
Sherry Truhlar says
Jonathan, I love that you advertised for those two volunteer titles! The work of those two positions helped build bridges among neighbors, and the resulting connections made for a stronger mission. Smart!
Roger Carr says
Yes, Yes, Yes! People having fun are more open to learning and giving. Even when the mission is being discussed, it should be presented in a way that benefits the potential supporters. Personal/corporate ego should not be present in any way.
Betsy Baker says
Yes, let’s make it fun! Great insight, as alays.
Greg McRay, EA says
Engaging participants is so key to success. Make it memorable! Great article.
Love this! Can’t wait to get inspired and share the fun!