blue line

Back to RESOURCES Page

Get OFF the Microphone

by Debra Dion Krischke

If you've attended fundraising events for any cause, you know one of the most common mistakes made is the over use of the microphone.

We all know we have to thank the very important sponsors, we have to announce anyone we are honoring, we have to let people know why they are there but just keep it brief. Fifteen minutes is a long time when you want to be chatting, eating, drinking or doing something other than listening! And, of course be sure you have a good microphone and speakers so your audience can hear you!

Depending on how you're going to raise money beyond ticket sales and sponsorship - you need to be creative about staying off the microphone.

Silent Auction vs. Chinese Auction - I've explained the differences in earlier blogs but here's the 101: if you are selling tickets for people to drop into containers in front of an item they could win - it's a Chinese Auction. When bid sheets are available for each item - for the purpose of one attendee out-bidding another - it's a Silent Auction.

If you have a special few items that previously or potentially will result in big bucks and you want to give them special attention, by all means - make an announcement! But, make it short, sweet and to the point!

Use your program to give visibility, use a slide show on a big screen, use a flyer or tent card on the table but always think of creative ways to GET OFF THE MIKE!

Now you have to deal with letting your guests know who's won. Here's where the pain level for your "customers" can set in if you're not careful. No one wants to listen to you read number after number of lucky winners.

Here are a few ways to keep the chatter down and the fun up:

  1. If everyone isn't checking out at the same time, you have a little more latitude. You might be able to write all the winning numbers on a big bid board so they can see if they've won - and then have someone retrieve the winning item for them.
  2. You could have a form with the auction items on them and then write down the winning numbers either by hand or on a laptop. Make copies and hand them out to each table. This only works if guests are seated, as in a luncheon or dinner, and of course if the schedule of events allows.
  3. Read the numbers over a microphone. If you only have 20 to 30 items it's not so bad - but you can't hold guests attention for 20 or 30 minutes with this method.

Bottom line: They've paid to attend, they've bought extra raffle tickets - treat them as the guests they are. Think about everything you do, as if you were a paying attendee. If it would be fun and enjoyable for you, chances are it will be for your guests too!

Debra Dion Krischke specializes in raising money for women's initiatives.

Back to RESOURCES Page