Ready to run a Fund a Need, but unsure where to start?
I’ll serve as your polished presenter, advocating on your behalf to inspire guests to become donors … even without a live auction.
Maybe it’s your first attempt at running a special appeal, and you’re unclear on the nuances. You’ve seen this elsewhere, but how does it avoid becoming awkward?
How do you track donations? What about collecting cash?
How does it all work?
These are valid questions. Addressing these and understanding lesser-known subtleties is what allows my clients to create highly charged giving environments.
Running a public pledge, which is also called a Raise the Paddle, Special Appeal, and other names, is an activity that requires exceptional presentation skills AND solid operational systems.
Each year I am retained by four or five schools and nonprofits for the sole purpose of running their Fund a Need.
- They have no live auction.
- They have no silent auction.
- They simply want a flawless Fund a Need.
Though my style varies, below is a video from a gala with 550 guests. The development director had shared, “We’re all about icons this year. We want to be Iconic in Education.”
From her comment, I wrote the speech you’re about to view, which was delivered to set up the donation process. There was no live or silent auction at this event.
(Note: The pledge portion is edited from this video in order to show you the trickier part — the speaking.)
Why work with me?
- As a third party, I can more comfortably encourage donations than your Executive Director, Board member, or volunteer.
- I sound like a local. By using the language you use, many will mistake me as your employee. Expect guests to ask you, “When did she join your staff?”
- I write and present my own speeches; this saves you time. (Do you like writing speeches? Are you good at it? I’ll take this task off your plate.)
- My remarks vary in length, depending on the event. Casual cocktail events require a different style than formal sit-down dinner galas. I adapt.
- Sometimes I partner with a client speaker or video, but often the nonprofit finds it easiest to just have me work independently on stage. In the rush of preparing for your event, you’ll appreciate my professionalism.
- We spend consulting time prior to the event setting up the operational elements of this activity so your staff is comfortable collecting money in the crowd and behind the scenes.
- Knowledge counts. It’s UNCOMMON for an auctioneer to be the hired gun to run a stand-alone Fund a Need, but it’s common for me. I’ve run these so often, I recorded a training on how to do a Fund a Need properly, and — as far back as 2009 — started educating readers via blog posts.
Do you have an event that needs a bottom-line boost? A Fund a Need could be your answer.
Schedule an appointment to visit with me about your plans.
For several years, our school struggled with the charity auction portion (the Fund a Need) of our event. We always have a wonderful crowd of faithful alumnae but the requests to donate to the scholarship fund met with up and down success. The consensus of our planning committee was that we were lacking the auctioneer skills to make this a successful piece of our fund raiser.
Sherry has provided us with just that piece. Her professionalism and ease of style have given us (and our guests) just the right message and tone. As she weaves the story/need of our school, she helps us all be more generous in our response. And all are at ease, no one is anxious – she truly becomes an important part of the event. Our profits have risen and many guests have said “Where did you get that auctioneer?!”
Aggie Noonan, gala volunteer
Presentation Academy Tower Awards for Women Leaders (Louisville, KY)
I have been to a lot of auctions and I have never seen such a comfortable auction atmosphere. You can just tell by watching her that she’s got a personality that’s fun to be around … so happy and smart!
Fyffe Landscape Architecture (Arlington, VA)