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So Easy it Feels like Cheating: Four Tips for Your Auction & Fund-the-Need

These four tips might feel like cheating, but we can promise that they won’t get you in trouble. Instead, they’ll help ensure your event runs smoothly and that you “pass” with flying colors.

so easy it feels like cheating 1-pledges

Your fund-the-need can be the most profitable part of your event if you set it up properly. It’s ok to approach your biggest donors beforehand to let them know you’re planning a fund-the-need, and see if they would be willing to pledge an amount to donate that night. You’ll have a good idea of which price point would be a good place to start (i.e. if someone pledges $10,000, you know it’s safe to start there). Knowing that you’re going to get that donation will make you feel more confident. Their donation might even inspire others to give at the same level.

so easy it feels like cheating 2. fund the need


After running thousands of events, our staff has learned some best practices. We have found that there are two ways to run a successful fund-the-need.

Paddle Raise

Use peer pressure to your advantage. When guests see others at their table raising their paddle it can entice them to do the same. You can even create a competition to see which table has the highest percentage of participation.

Electronic Donation

Gesture can make your life simple by sending out a text message with a link to your donation levels. Have your auctioneer encourage guests to click through the link on their phone and donate.

Don’t worry; we can keep the momentum up in the room by utilizing a display screen to show who is giving. Gesture’s platform allows you to set custom displays where you can choose to hide or show donor names, donation amounts and your running total. Here are a few examples of what this display screen looks like:

so easy it feels like cheating display example 1

This display includes the donor name and a thermometer which shows your goal and how much has been raised so far.

so easy it feels like cheating display example 2

In this example, the donor name and total amount raised is shown. 

so easy it feels like cheating display example 3

The third example shows how you can include the donor name, donation amount, and the total raised so far.

so easy it feels like cheating display example 4

The final display example just shows donation amounts and the total raised, which gives your guests anonymity. 

so easy it feels like cheating 3-duplicate-items

Some items, like dinner with your school’s Principal or President, are easy to duplicate. If there are two individuals willing to pay $2,000 for the chance to dine with the head of your school, why turn one down? Determine these items in advance and play it by ear the night of the event. If there’s enough interest, give the item away twice. Instruct the auctioneer to ask the runner up if they will pay their highest bid amount for the same prize.

so easy it feels like cheating 4. Be creative & specific

Which silent auction item would you be more likely to bid on…

so easy it feels like cheating chicago-package-vertical so easy it feels like cheating explore-chicago-vertical

Probably the “Explore Chicago” one, right? Adding more pictures, details and descriptive language will entice your guests to bid on that item. Spending an extra five minutes of choosing a fun title and writing creative copy could be the difference between making $200 and $700.

Interested in bringing your auction to the next level? Contact Gesture today!

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