It’s the night of your big fundraiser. The money raised will define your ability to execute your mission and impact the lives of the communities you serve in a positive way. Your organization has planned every detail. Everything is running smoothly. You’ve come to the point in the night when you will ask your donors (don’t call them guests) to open their minds, their hearts and their wallets to fund your mission. Your guest speaker is about to share their personal story of how their life has been transformed by your organization. The only question is, “Are they ready to share their story with confidence in a public setting?”
With numerous nonprofits finally understanding the fundraising impact of Paddle Raises/Fund-A-Missions, the guest speaker has become one of the most important people for any fundraising event. Their story of transformation can ignite donors to give and give generously. Your guest speaker is your Fundraising Champion. The only question is, do you think of them that way?
In 3 to 5 minutes, the story of your champion can be the emotional catalyst for exceeding your fundraising goals. As a Special Event Consultant and Fundraising Auctioneer, it is my mission to increase awareness and funding of the missions for the Philanthropic Organizations I partner with. One of the first questions I ask during my consultations is, “Who will your champion be?
I want to know their story and how I can use their story to empower donors to transform lives. I understand that a great speech can make or break the night.
I work with organizations all across the country that dedicate countless hours of time and effort into planning and execution of their fundraising event. But very few dedicate the necessary time into preparing their champion to speak. Most champions don’t speak in public on a frequent basis. Remember it’s their story that will inspire people to volunteer, share your mission or make a monetary gift.
Coaching Fund-A-Mission Speakers is one of the most rewarding and exciting activities I get to participate in. It’s something I request. I teach them how to deliver their story succinctly and with confidence. I help them understand why they are one of your organization’s champions. They embrace the power of their story and how it will help create more stories like theirs. When done properly, the speech given by your champion will increase the opportunities for your Fundraising Auctioneer or MC to step on stage and exceed your fundraising goals.
Here are a few strategies to create an amazing fundraising experience built off of your fundraising champion’s speech. They’re may be a few emotional tears shed too.
- Find a champion who knows the mission and impact of your philanthropy. Preferably someone who has personally experienced the impact of the mission. Be sure they are willing and able to speak the night of your event.
- Provide coaching for your champion. Have someone help them write their speech, review their speech and practice it with them. Always review what they plan to say.
- Limit their speech to no longer than five minutes. From personal experience, the longer the speaker goes, the less money your organization will make. 3-5 Minutes is ideal.
- Provide time for your champion to practice their speech at the event location. Remember, most champions are not professional speakers. We don’t want them to look or feel nervous. It is vital for you to create the ideal speaking environment for them. Let them practice speaking with the microphone (most people don’t practice with or know how to use a microphone properly). When using a teleprompter, provide adequate time to practice.
- Designate a team member to be an ambassador for your champion. This person will be responsible for making sure your champion knows when and where to be at the event. They will also introduce them to the MC, Auctioneer and VIPS.
Once the event is over, be sure to thank your champion for sharing their story and giving their time to your mission. Be sure to record the speech for future use. The recording can be used in the future for fundraising opportunities, website promotions, email marketing, and outreach programs with prospective donors. Remember facts tell and stories sell. To elevate to awareness and funding of your mission, commit to coaching the champions who share your story.