Fundraising Auctions Should Consider Their Audience Before Inviting Clients To The Party-kisstudou

A few of my firm’s charity auctions have a diverse mix of guests who seem to be comprised of three distinct groups – non-paying clients – non-paying or reduced-ticket-price employees of the non-profit – full-paying guests Although I can appreciate why a handful of "free" guests might be allowed to attend (e.g. a reward to an employee, or asking someone to speak), in a few charity auctions I’ve worked, the majority of the attendees — the majority! — were non-paying or reduced-paying guests. Let’s consider three reasons as to why this might be a bad idea. 1. What is the purpose of your event? When an event manager is given an assignment to plan any event, the first question they are taught to ask is, "Why are you having this event?" In other words: "What is the purpose of this auction fundraiser?" During my studies in event management at George Washington University, this question was drilled into us students. It’s an important point because the answer establishes the tone of the event. So what happens when you have non-paying clients, non-paying (or reduced-fee) employees, and paying guests? It confuses the focus. The "why" becomes muddy because the gala is attempting to reach three different goals: client appreciation dinner, organizational picnic, and fundraiser. Which is it? The event can’t successfully be all things to all people, so pick one goal and build the event to meet that goal. 2. The "wrong" people are offered an incentive to attend. If the goal is to raise money for your cause, a free ticket structure for some works against the ability to do so. Why? By not charging employees and clients to attend, the organization is offering those two groups of people an incentive to attend, yet these two groups will help the mission of fundraising the least. If anything — and I don’t advise this — a "free ticket" incentive would be given to those who can afford to donate to the mission. Clients and employees rarely have the deep pockets needed to help an organization raise significant money, so hypothetically, if anyone was offered free tickets, it would make sense to offer them to those who you believe have money to give. A complementary ticket may encourage them to attend and learn about your mission. 3. Unscripted client interaction could prove risky When you plan a dinner party, you likely put some thought into the people attending and their unique personalities. "I’ll introduce my co-workers Joe and Julie to my neighbor Brad," you might think, "They’ll get along well!" If you want guests to have a positive experience, you wouldn’t introduce Joe and Julie to your mean-spirited aunt and uncle … or your depressed friend Delany. In fact, you likely wouldn’t even invite your aunt, uncle, and friend to the party because the aren’t a fit for the evening’s plans. The success of social events like dinner parties (and charity auction galas) depends on the personalities of the guests and how much they enjoy mingling. At a number of galas, guests see the fundraiser as a time to network with others like themselves. An audience filled with guests who don’t have much in common makes networking challenging and likely decreases donations. Imagine this hypothetical situation: If you operate a soup kitchen, and John Smith wants to interact with your clients, John will likely volunteer in the soup kitchen when you offer opportunities to do so. He is willing to put himself in that environment, and he wants to serve your charity in that way. But if you are throwing an elegant fundraiser with a $100 ticket price, John might not expect to bump into the same people he served in the soup kitchen. It might not upset John (because John volunteers in your soup kitchen regularly), but it might be a surprise to John’s invited co-worker, Tim. Tim has heard stories about your charity from John, but Tim is not the kind of man to volunteer in a soup kitchen. John and Tim could both be great supporters of your charity’s mission, but — like all of us — they are drawn to different activities. Guests will certainly enjoy hearing a well-constructed testimonial from a client at an appropriate time in the evening. But if a guest interacts with a client who doesn’t give a well-constructed testimonial, or who hasn’t been coached, or who hasn’t yet reached their potential from using your non-profit’s services, the interaction could leave a less-than-glowing impression of your gala to a potential donor. Remember: Plan your event from the end, knowing what you want to achieve. If your clients can contribute to the bottom-line of your auction fundraiser, bring them in! If not, reconsider. Copyright (c) 2009 Red Apple Auctions LLC 相关的主题文章:

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