1. What is a Fund a Need or Special Appeal?
A Fund a Need (aka: Special Appeal, The Ask, Cash Ask, Fund a Mission, etc.) is the single most important fundraising technique at your benefit event, whether you do silent and live auctions or not. The fund a need is a completely different fundraising aspect than your silent auction, live auction or other revenue enhancers. It allows your donors to give a cash amount at a specific level to help fund a specific need or needs that your nonprofit or school has.
This is your opportunity to ask your donors to give at specific levels to fund your Nonprofit’s biggest need for the upcoming year. For example: If you are a school and need to purchase iPads for the 6th graders, this would be a perfect fit for fund a need.
3. How should we determine the different levels for our donors to give?
We at Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services believe that you should do no more than six levels beginning high and working to low. The first high level should be determined prior to the fundraising event with one of your larger donors so that there are no crickets in the room when your professional fundraising auctioneer begins the ask. Once you have established your high level, work with your professional auctioneer to determine how many and which levels should follow.
4. When should you conduct a fund a need?
The fund a need should be done at every single fundraising event that you conduct where you will have an opportunity to be in front of your donors in a sit-down environment. The beauty of a fund a need is that you do not have to do any other fundraising elements, and you do not have to procure items to conduct one successfully. It is simply your donors showing their support of your cause.
5. Who should conduct the fund a need?
A fund a need must be conducted by a professional benefit auctioneer, preferably by a designated Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) to get the most desirable results. There is a definite formula for success here and a professional will more than pay for themselves!
The simple answer is NO! The success of a fund a need depends largely on emotion and a group of people giving together to fund a great cause. Using mobile devices to give takes out almost all of the emotion and generally produces mediocre results compared to a traditional appeal using a qualified professional charity auctioneer.
7. Why is the fund a need important?
The fund a need is important for many reasons. The top two reasons are that it raises funds that would otherwise “walk out” of your event and it enables you to determine who your biggest supporters are. Knowing who your biggest supporters are is essential to having fundraising success in the future, but that’s an entirely different blog for another time.
Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services