By: Erin Williams BAS, PRI 

Is less really more? According to studies performed by research psychologists at Harvard and Stanford University, excessive choices can produce “choice paralysis”. For example, a person walks into an ice cream shop and there are 50 flavors offered. Overwhelmed, the customer remains stuck in their decision making and chooses fudge rather than ice cream or leaves feeling dissatisfied with their ice cream flavor choice, wishing they’d purchased another flavor. Choice paralysis can also reduce people’s satisfaction with their decisions, even if they made good ones. In other words, FOMO (fear of missing out) is a risk when one is faced with too many choices. 

This tracks true to what our team has seen in fundraising this year. Several organizations we support adjusted to the comfort level of their donors and hosted a smaller in-person donor group and offered a virtual option for the bulk of their donors to join the gala. To avoid choice paralysis for your donors, this means adjusting your fundraising elements to the size of your group. Offering more or the same amount of revenue generators you did for your 400 in-person event now at your 150 in-person event could result in choice paralysis.  

So, how do we adjust but still reach our fundraising goals? If you are considering hosting a small fundraising event, here are some things to consider:

  • We know it’s important to stay on the radar of businesses that donate to our silent auction. If you miss a year, it can be hard to get back on their list. So still reach out and utilize their donation but rather than waiting till the evening of the event to open your silent items, open the silent auction a few days prior to your event on mobile bidding and invite your entire donor base to participate – even if they aren’t part of the 150 that will attend in-person. 
  • Revenue generators are fun and can provide fun activities during the cocktail hour, but with a smaller in-person group, consider narrowing your list of offered revenue generators. Presenting too many revenue generators can wear you donors down and create “donor fatigue”. 
  • Offer only two raffles, one at a higher price point and one at a medium/low. One raffle could open with the silent auction a few days prior to the event so that it’s available to all. The other could be marketed as a VIP raffle, only available to those 150 attending in-person. 

Focusing special efforts to nurture a smaller VIP donor group can result in more revenue. 

It’s necessary to your success and the satisfaction of your donors to guide them and make decision making easy for them. If you would like to discuss further on these concepts or ideas, please reach out to anyone on our team. 

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!