Walk Away a Winner with Your Special Appeal

Every nonprofit wants its special appeal to be a success and raise much-needed dollars.

Here are tips on how to make yours sing via Artisan Auctions. The colorful infographic is hand-drawn by Urban Wild Studio at our 2019 Thought Leadership Summit as is the basis for the following article. This is article 2 of 4 in this series.

Special appeals offer your organization the chance to bring together a group of people for a common cause. With well-told story formats, you can show how your mission impacted one person. It’s also an opportunity to raise unrestricted funds for your organization by sharing broad stories and appealing to emotions.

Imagine three stages of an appeal.

There’s the planning, the storytelling aspect, and the donation itself.

Planning is always an essential part of a special appeal. Is this it for a #GivingTuesday event or a mid-year appeal or a special campaign?

There’s the initial story-telling element which is more important than ever now in the age of virtual events. Shorter, online events require a different strategy for fundraising than a physical event. For one, it’s essential that you keep the audience engaged in real-time. You can do that through giveaways and online bidding.

Virtual events require a strong storytelling element that can be multi-media with frequent “asks” woven into the presentation. For example, your emcee may welcome the audience and say, “Thank you for joining, we’re here to support this great cause, what do you say, we pull out our phones and make a donation? Now, we’ll watch a video.” By cutting away to the video, that gives viewers time to make a donation via their phones. Then, the emcee will return to thank everyone.

Even in a physical event, short videos are useful to engage the audience and appeal to their emotions. Once the audience is hooked, there’s the call-to-action followed by the jackpot ask.

A professional benefit auctioneer can help make this process seamless. Benefit auctioneers move people and can sell anything! They’re skilled strategists, entertainers, storytellers, partners, and connectors wrapped into one. They can welcome the audience, appeal to their emotions, and set the stage for effective fundraising. If you’re using videos and photographs in your event, those can also go online which extends your appeal.

Plus, an experienced auctioneer understands the terms to use. Language like, “Because of the generosity of folks like you in this room…” “I invite you…” and they know not to say “thank you” because it shuts people down. They’ll build momentum and make asks for pre-committed donations.

The Superhero Ask

The final flourish includes a superhero ask. This is the one where you leverage the highest bids as leadership or matching gifts, use matching gifts, and build a team of trusted vendors to partner in your success.

Successful appeals are memorable, and they can become a cornerstone of your fundraising efforts. They’re well-planned and executed with a team of professionals who can coordinate any needed technology to make the presentation run smoothly. Whether your next special appeal involves a physical event or a virtual one, discover other awesome takeaways and best practices for nonprofit leaders at our virtual Thought Leadership Summit coming soon. You can register here.

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