There are several keys to success when planning a Charity Fundraising event. Most aspects we can control with proper planning. However, there is only one aspect which we cannot – time. Understanding that time is either on our side or can play against us is very real in regard to your ultimate success.
1. Event length – 4 hours – One thing you should absolutely know for certain, your event will run over if it’s too short. In order to plan a successful fundraising event, event planner must allow for enough time for everything while understanding that people need to get “Engaged” in the event. A 4 hour event allows for enough time for speeches, presentations and all your fundraising platforms. If it shorter, there will not be enough time and something will lack – normally the fundraising. But having a long event, your guests will get bored and lose interest.
2. Appointed “Clock Watcher” – One person should be appointed as the Event Manager. This person is totally in charge of the event. The event manager should not be sitting down having dinner with their guests or standing talking for an extended period of time. This person is the most important person at your event. This person will monitor the time and ensure the time line is followed closely.
3. Check In personnel – the staff working the “Check in” table, should stay in place at least 45 minutes after the event starts. Even after the 45 minutes, people will still trickle in so the check in table should be monitored.
4. Dinner – While people are eating dinner, do not appoint a certain amount of time to it. People eat at different speeds so don’t give them a certain time.
5. 15 minutes prior – Prior to someone giving a speech, speak to them 15 minutes before and ask them to get ready. It will always take them 5 minutes or so to break away from what they are doing. Then another 5 minutes to get them near the stage. You will then have a five (5) minute buffer.
6. Run on Speeches – When asking someone to give a presentation or a speech, ensure you tell them how long they can speak and they adhere to it. Someone needs to stand stage left or right, in the peripheral vision of the speaker monitoring the time and give them signs when they are getting close to the end of the time allotted.
7. Closing the Silent Auction – This perhaps is the most important aspect which either positively or negatively effects the success of your Silent Auction. Understand that people will “Stalk” the silent auction, finding something they want to bid on then watching the bids. People will not begin to bid until 15 minutes prior to the close of the Silent Auction. This most important task you can do is to announce when the Silent Auction will be closing. Let your guests know it will be closing in 15 minutes, then 10 minutes, 5 minutes and then 1 minute. Closing the Silent Auction should be a “Rolling Closer.” There should only be one (1) person appointed to closing the Silent Auction (which will be yet another blog). If you have more than one person closing the Silent Auction, your guests will not have enough time to place last minute competitive bids. By closing it this way, it will promote “Bidding Wars.” Your guests should be allowed to bid until they are completely done with a winner.
DO NOT close the Silent Auction without telling your guests – DO NOT quickly pick up all the bid sheets. Allow them time to be competitive because the success of your Silent Auction will go up and up.