5 Ways to Boost Income at Your Benefit Event

Every dollar counts. As a fundraiser, you know this as well as anyone. Consider these tactics to increase your donations above and beyond what you earn from winning bids.

1. First in the Valet

Many high-end events use valet parking. Valet parking is convenient on arrival but can be a nightmare after the event is over. While that’s an unfortunate reality, it’s also an opportunity.

Start the live auction by offering “First in the Valet” as an auction item. The winner has their car brought up to the valet area immediately, and it is waiting for them any time they wish to leave. They skip the valet line and head directly to their car!

Of course, feel free to sell “Second in the Valet” and so forth.

2. “Raise the Paddle” Round Up

After you record the winning bid for your final item, tally the total amount you raised at your event. Use AuctionMaestro Pro to make it easy to find this amount in real-time.

Then, let the auctioneer know this amount. The auctioneer can then announce, “We are so close to raising $XX,XXX tonight, a new milestone and record. Is there anyone who would like to make an additional donation to get us there?”

It may take a few people, but most of the time it is relatively easy to earn additional donations to reach a new level.

3. Reward the Last Donor in “Raise the Paddle”

After all “Raise the Paddle” donations have been made, the auctioneer holds up a prize (bottle of wine, dinner certificate, etc…) and says, “We appreciate all your generous donations tonight. Before we move on, I want to give this gift to the person who is willing to be our very last donor at the $50 level.”

Of course, many cards go up and the auctioneer now can get additional donations until there really is a last donor at that level! Often the “winner” is a donor from the $500, $1,000 and up level who just wants to have fun and isn’t concerned about the extra donation above what they already pledged.

4. Checkout Round Up

At checkout, ask the guest if they would be willing to allow the final bill to be rounded up to the next $100, with the extra being a cash contribution. Most agree, of course, adding significant cash contributions to your total.

AuctionMaestro Pro’s unique Round Up feature automates the round up process when a donor agrees, so your checkout line doesn’t stall.

5. Post-Event Matching Funds

Many companies have an Employee Matching Gift Program that will match at some level the cash equivalent of their employees’ donations. In order for the company to match the donation, the employee needs a duplicate receipt showing their cash donation.

The problem is, once your event is over, it is too late to start that process of asking for the match because your event is “old news” to the guests by that time. So, the best and most profitable way to assure you get corporate matching gifts is to start at the time of the invitation! When you create your invitation place a check box that says:

❑ My employer has an employee matching gift program

Your guests are likely to provide this information before your event because they are being asked at the time they are accepting the invitation. It is a natural thing to do. After your event, send a duplicate receipt and letter to your guest asking for help facilitating the corporate donation.

A nationally recognized benefit auctioneer and consultant, Jay Fiske has helped raise millions of dollars for a wide variety of organizations. Additionally, he authored The Big Book of Benefit Auctions and founded MaestroSoft (mobile bidding and event management), where he serves as CEO.

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