Fund a Need donation appeal, 5 steps to success
Structuring a Successful Appeal
Determine your Fund-a-Need goals.
Do you envision presenting the audience with one group goal, such as building the playground or raising enough to buy the $250,000 piece of hospital equipment? This strategy has the advantage of helping everyone in the audience feel able to contribute, regardless of amount, and works well with handheld bidding technology. Alternatively, some appeals promote several specific levels for donations, and tie these to the mission by explaining what those dollars can provide. For instance, $2500 furnishes a room in our shelter; $1000 provides legal service to a battered woman; $500 provides transportation assistance; $250 funds clothing and necessities.
Prepare the presentation.
In order to inspire giving, you need to communicate on an emotional level. Some groups show a video of their programs in action, and others invite a recipient to speak. The most important part of your message, however, must be a compelling story. Statistics rarely motivate people to give, but genuine emotion can. Take note, however, that even the most tragic story must be delivered with a hopeful resolution; your supporters want to feel uplifted by the transformations your services provide.
Let people know you will be asking.
In the weeks leading up to your appeal, ask for commitments from your best supporters. It helps your audience tremendously when a bid card goes up in the air as soon as the auctioneer asks for money. Having donors already identified and ready to start the giving encourages the rest of the audience to join in.
Use matching incentives to boost funds.
Ask your major sponsors to offer a challenge match if a goal for dollars raised or number of participants is reached (“ABC Company will donate $10,000 when we raise $10,000”).
Know how you will track the donations.
Will the auctioneer call out bid numbers? Is there an envelope on the table? Will volunteers be coming around?