If you’re interested in running a Fund a Need auction, today (June 23) at 3 PM Eastern time, I’m offering a live webinar called Fabulous Fund a Needs. (Buy the DVD here and you’ll be registered for the webinar today).
I’ve written before about them. A growing portion of my business is devoted to doing nothing but the delivery of these speeches. And that’s the sub-section I’m writing about today … the trend of skipping a live and silent auction and just offering a Fund a Need.
Each year I am hired to work with a half dozen or so nonprofits that don’t have a traditional auction and instead offer a Fund a Need. They might call it a Special Ask, Raise the Paddle, Mission Moment, or any number of other names.
At these events, my job is to deliver a compelling speech and then transition the crowd into a spirited giving frenzy. I tell the nonprofit’s story and then ask for donations.
At these events, I serve as the nonprofit’s advocate.
Who holds this type of event? Here’s a snapshot view of the Fund a Need-only events I worked last fall (Fall 2014):
- Nashville, TN: A food-station style event raising money for hospice services in India.
- Potomac, MD: A formal sit-down dinner event raising money for injured military servicemen.
- Louisville, KY: An awards banquet raising money for a private girls school. (Scroll down for 2nd video.)
- Rockville, MD: A cocktail reception raising money for a private school, in honor of its 10-year anniversary.
- Washington, DC: A cocktail-style event raising money for homeless shelters. (See video below.)
At traditional benefit auctions, the Fund a Need is often introduced by a client speaker sharing his own story. I speak next, making the ask and referencing his testimonial. (In today’s webinar, I’ll talk about how I’m not a proponent of client speakers and what to do instead.)
But at the events mentioned above, I was a lone wolf. I presented the case of the nonprofit and transitioned to inspired giving.
So here’s some insight: Fund a Need-only events call for a different approach from your auctioneer.
I’ve found that the Fund a Needs I run at events with live auctions are different than the Fund a Needs I run at events that do not have a live auction. As I compare the two types of events, here are the key differences in preparation.
1. I often talk longer at Fund a Need-only events.
Because I’m setting up the ask and running donation collection, I must first establish credibility with the audience. That takes me some time.
As an example of what I’m talking about, watch this video of me delivering the Fund a Need speech at Presentation Academy’s Tower Awards last October (2014). I wrote this speech myself, after the client told me this: “Our new campaign is about icons. We’re saying that we’re Iconic in Education.” This opened my Fund a Need ask.
2. Rehearsing registration and checkout with volunteers.
Beyond writing my speech, there are less glamorous matters to handle.
If the client is new, we’ll commonly spend three hours prior to the event hammering out the details of registration and checkout. This can be a common “fail” point for groups new to Fund a Need-only events.
3. We talk strategy. A lot.
The client and I must come to terms on the best way to leverage matches … anniversaries … anonymous donors … patrons who are unable to attend … corporate gift recognition and donations versus individual gift recognition and donations, and similar matters. These conversations are more critical at events where the Fund a Need is the only donation activity.
Want to learn more about Fund a Needs?
Sign up for the webinar today and you’ll get the live training *and* the DVD recording.
Missed the live webinar? Not to worry. You can still learn how to do this like a pro.
The DVD training has the recorded video, transcript, questions, sample speeches, other videos crafted by clients, and extra resources. Read more on this page.
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