Fund-a-Need Fundamentals: 10 Mistakes That Can Destroy a Cash Appeal

Posted by Summy Lau on Sep 20, 2016 9:33:16 AM


Most event organizers know a big portion of the night's proceeds comes from the fund-a-need, also commonly known as a cash appeal, special appeal or fund-a-cause.

Nonetheless, this revenue strategy can be tough to execute properly.

You may be uncertain if guests will give—after all, they have paid good money just to attend, and you want them to spend big on the auction. Or perhaps you've never tried something like this in the past. If the appeal falls flat, say goodbye to the night's energy and momentum.

All that to say, it's not easy to jump on stage and ask guests to pledge cash.

Last week we discussed the 4 crucial elements of a successful fund-a-need:

  • An emotional trigger
  • The "ask"
  • Bid cards
  • Three (3) recorders

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While these are the 4 logistical requirements for holding a fund-a-need, there are proven best practices that will make the process even easier and more lucrative for your organization.

If you're wondering, "Can we hold a fund-a-need without a live auction? Where would a cash appeal work best in our program? Do we have to raise funds for one item? Should we start high and go low? and more" - this post is for you.

Read on for practical tips to sidestep 10 of the most common mistakes nonprofits make when conducting funding pleas and special appeals.

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Topics: event-production, cash appeal

Fund-a-Need 101: 4 Steps to Execute a Smooth Cash Appeal

Posted by Summy Lau on Sep 13, 2016 7:30:00 AM

4 Steps to Execute a Smooth "Fund-A-Need"To pull off a successful charity gala, golf tournament, benefit auction and more, profits don't "just happen."

Recently we discussed the need for fundraising events to create a profit plan that (1) keeps the focus on fundraising throughout the entire evening and (2) incorporates a wide variety of revenue streams.

One income stream nearly every event should use is the cash appeal, also known as a fund-a-need, fund-an-item or fund-a-cause.

Cash appeals have always been a staple of fundraisers and even more so recently, as studies show we're increasingly happier spending our money on memories and Experiences rather than things.

Some people attending your event may feel they have enough "stuff" and aren't interested in buying more tangible goods. Nevertheless, they are there to support your cause.

How can you capture donations from those who may be passionate about your mission but don't see anything on the auction tables they want to buy - or better yet, want to give in addition to their auction winnings?

Enter: the cash appeal.

Though this one income stream can have a huge impact on the night's revenue, we all know it's not easy to jump on stage and ask for cash. Fortunately, there are 4 proven strategies you can employ to make the task easier, efficient and ultimately more lucrative.

  1. Effective emotional trigger
  2. The "Ask"
  3. Bid Cards
  4. Three (3) Recorders

For the scoop on all four of these critical cash appeal elements, read on.

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Topics: Fundraising Tips, fundraising-tip, event-production, cash appeal

Special Appeals: When's the Best Time to Ask?

Posted by Ian Lauth on May 27, 2015 9:57:52 AM

Benefit Auctioneer Specialist Ben Farrell

The special appeal. The fund-a-need. The funding plea. The "Ask"... The only hotter topic of debate than what to call the special appeal has to be when, exactly, you should schedule it during your charity auction event. Okay, so maybe special appeal placement isn't exactly a burning debate, but it's certainly a subject of discussion within the fundraising community... and it's not hard to see why.

After all, charity auctions have many moving parts -- the silent auction, the live auction, the presenters, the cocktails, the food -- it can be easy to simply place the appeal wherever it seems convenient within the schedule. But, just as with each element of an event, there needs to be a strategy, and in the case of the special appeal, there's more than one school of thought on which strategy is most effective: Specifically, should the special appeal come before or after the live auction? 

We asked two well-known Benefit Auctioneer Specialists, Doug Sorrell and Ben Farrell, to shed some light on the varying strategies for placing the special appeal during a charity auction event.

A quick note: The placement of the special appeal really depends on your audience and the size and scope of your event. As Doug Sorrell puts it: “Both sides of this debate are correct.” We simply wanted to explore the reasoning behind each strategy so you can make an informed decision for your own fundraising event.  

Special Appeal After the Live Auction

The prevailing philosophy among many of the more traditional benefit auctioneers is to schedule the fund-a-need last, after the live auction, when people are swept up in the excitement, emotion and energy of bidding on big-ticket items. Placing the appeal before the live auction can also have a detrimental effect on the level of audience participating during the live auction.  

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Topics: event-production, cash appeal

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Meet Winston & Winnie, the Winspire Twins

Winston & Winnie love to help Nonprofits raise money for amazing causes. They also love to travel and have a bucket list of amazing Experiences they are determined to complete in their lifetime. Winspire News is the result of this shared passion, offering fundraising advice, industry news and insight into charity fundraising with travel.