Fund-a-need appeals are a great way to get potential donors excited about your organization.
You can use this type of appeal to raise money for anything: from equipment that’s needed in your office to funds for a new program or initiative. The goal of any fund-a-need appeal is simple: make asking for donations fun and easy by providing tangible examples of how funds will be used. Here are some tips on how to host an effective one at your next event:
A fund-a-need appeal is a perfect opportunity to get your donors engaged and excited about your mission.
A well-executed fund-a-need appeal creates an opportunity for attendees to spend time with one another while discussing their favorite causes and ways they can help. A successful fund-a-need appeal can also be used as part of your overall marketing strategy. The more people know about the organization they’re contributing to and how those organizations are making a difference in the community, the more likely they’ll be willing and excited participants at future events!
The first step in planning a fund-a-need appeal is identifying what need you’re trying to fulfill with the money raised.
The first step in planning a fund-a-need appeal is identifying what need you’re trying to fulfill with the money raised. Is your organization looking for funding to support one of its programs? Or do you want to create something new, such as replacing outdated technology or purchasing new equipment?
You also have to consider how much money needs to be raised and how it will be spent while setting your goal. Will this be enough money on its own, or do you need an additional source of funding? How will this “seed” amount benefit your organization? What are the specific benchmarks for success that indicate success, and when will they be achieved?
It’s important to set clear expectations around timeframes as well. How long should someone give before reaching out about their donation being made public (and thus letting others know about how generous they are)? When does a donor receive information about his/her gift being fulfilled (to acknowledge and celebrate) after giving a donation?
Planning a fund-a-need appeal starts with what you’ll say in front of the room when you’re asking for donations.
Now that you’re clear on the purpose of your fund-a-need appeal, it’s time to start planning what you’ll say in front of the room when you’re asking for donations. When hosting a successful fund-a-need appeal, here are three things to keep in mind:
- Start by saying why you’re asking for donations. Explain how much money is needed, what the funds will be used for, and why it matters so much if this organization gets funded.
- Talk about how impactful their participation can be. If someone gives $25 every year for an event instead of buying dinner at a restaurant once every few months, think about how much better off both parties would be!
- Make sure attendees know this is a one-time ask—and make sure it stays that way! You don’t want people thinking “Well if my friend gave money last year, then I should too.“
To help make your fund-a-need appeal as compelling as possible, remember that visuals are key.
To help make your fund-a-need appeal as compelling as possible, remember that visuals are key. Use video, PowerPoint, or other visual aids to help tell the story of why your cause is important. Same with stories and examples. If you’re trying to get people excited about helping kids in Africa go to school, show photos of smiling kids!
Visuals can also be used to illustrate the impact that donations can have—show people what’s being built, who will benefit from their contributions (have pictures or video!), etc.
Finally, use music! Music helps set the mood and make an event more memorable for those who attend it (and those who aren’t there will be sure to ask about the music after hearing about it later). It also helps keep everyone focused on what matters most: raising money for whatever cause is important for your organization at this time.
You’ll also want to include specific examples of how donations will help your organization during your appeal.
You’ll also want to include specific examples of how donations will help your organization during your appeal. This can be especially effective if you highlight how your organization’s work helps people in tangible ways, such as by providing access to food and clothing or counseling services.
The most effective fund-a-need appeals tell potential supporters what they’ll get out of giving their money directly to the cause. For example: “If you donate $10 today, we can provide three meals for hungry families.”
Make Giving Easy.
Make sure that you have everything you need to make your event successful, including clear instructions on how to donate. For example, you can ask donors to raise their hand or bid paddle at various giving levels, ask them to fill out a card on the table, or provide a hybrid option and ask them to text-to-donate.
Make sure that you are collecting the information you need to secure the donation, but make it easy for your volunteers and donors to record. Work with your auctioneer to establish a clear plan.
If your event has a large number of attendees who wouldn’t otherwise be able to give, consider using text-to-donate as a way for them to contribute without needing cash on hand. Text-to-donate is fast, easy, and intuitive. You can use it for special appeals and fund-a-needs, such as a generous donation from a donor who’s celebrating a birthday or an anniversary. Your attendees (most likely) have their phones in their hands during the event, so text-to-donate allows them to contribute quickly and easily. Hosting an appeal this way also creates less work for the fundraising staff post-event because the payment information is recorded securely during the time of donation.
Consider timing your fund-a-need within your event timeline.
The tone you set at the beginning of the evening will help determine the success of your fund-a-need. The wrong time for your fund-a-need can be detrimental to its success. If you place the fund-a-need at an opportune time in the evening, more guests will participate and give more money than if it were placed at another time during the evening. Make sure you place your fund-a-need in the schedule at a point that makes sense for the flow of the live auction. Make sure everyone has a good time and feels like they’ve done their part, you’ll want to give your audience a chance to get to know the cause. Create excitement about your mission, allow guests to ask questions about it, and even bid on other items before you make your cash appeal.
If you’re looking for a way to engage your donors, a fund-a-need appeal is a perfect solution.
It’s not just about raising money for your organization; it also allows donors to get personally involved in what you do and why it matters. The best part? It doesn’t take much time or effort on your part—just some thoughtful planning!