By: Shannon Eason, Fundraising Auctioneer 

We’re hearing nonprofits say, “We don’t want to lose our traditional donors that enjoy the sit down gala, but how do we engage our younger guests that aren’t excited about that event?” We say, “plan another party!” Okay, before you roll your eyes and say that you don’t have the time, resources or energy for another event, just bear with me a few moments and remember to keep an open mind. 

Engaging Young Philanthropists 

We love our galas, but as the next generation of philanthropists begin to emerge, we need to light a fire under them and draw their attention to our organization. How do we do that? Do you have a Junior Board of Directors? If not, it’s high time to get your 20 and 30 somethings on “board” to support your mission. Use THEIR energy to put on your “Friend-Raiser” and spread education, your mission and the love!

Give them attention and responsibility. While they may not have the funds to make major gifts they may be able to give their time, their ideas and their energy. Sometimes, that energy is what you need to have a successful “Friend-Raiser”. We’ve seen those events that were more about awareness and education than fundraising. But, what if you could combine the two? The secret to success is FUN. If you make it fun, they will come. By doing low-level entry raffles and games, you will make friends for life. This gives you a great opportunity to educate about your mission. 

Fun and Low Risk “Friend-Raisers”

One of our clients host a golf event “Friend-Raiser”. At each hole is a silly but fun miniature golf course and a story about one of the agencies they support. When you complete the course, you win a raffle ticket that goes into a barrel. You can win raffle tickets by completing games or you can outright purchase them. You can focus the purchase portion from people unable to attend the event. Think about the arcade and the tickets that pour out of the machine and then you go to buy a stuffed animal for 200,000 tickets. 

There are numerous ways to raise money at golf galas and can even ricochet from an evening event the night before with a live auction and a Calcutta. Are you new to a Calcutta? Teams are sold at auction and the people that bid on the winning team get a cash payout. Between sponsorships, live auction, silent auction, and Calcutta you can see a nice payday as well as bring in new donors for your mission. Win-Win!

Covid-19 brought many creative outdoor ideas that you can roll into fun outdoor “Friend-Raisers” such as drive-in events with food trucks and tailgating. Outdoors is the new black tie!

Still looking for ideas? We’d love to assist. The team at Raising Paddles has experienced hundreds of galas and have covered a vast variety of “out of the box” ideas we’d love to share with you. Just remember, a “Friend-Raiser” needs to raise money too! 

We’re here to help!