A Well Planned Appeal

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A special appeal can make all the difference for your fundraising. However, just asking for money isn’t enough. A well-orchestrated special appeal necessitates thoughtful planning.

This year at their Equal Opportunity Day Awards Dinner, Urban League knocked their special appeal out of the park. Their big growth was the result of some very specific shifts in four different elements. When thinking about how to structure your appeal, keep the following in mind:

1. Streamline your program. You want to capitalize on the energy in the room. Breaking up your best fundraising momentum with a 4-song concert will only ensure that you leave money on the table.

2. Make your ask ACTIVE. This means asking people to stand or raise bid cards as their financial commitment instead of leaving envelopes on the table hoping they get filled out. Remove the barriers to people giving money, allow them to get swept up in the emotion of your appeal and give on the spot.

Cupid Alexander

Special Appeal Speaker, Cupid Alexander

3. Make a dynamic special appeal pitch. If you speaker telling their story is petrified in front of an audience, put them on video. How the story is told is as important as the story itself. If your speaker can connect to the room and reel them in, their connection and willingness to give increases exponentially.

4. Hire a benefit auctioneer to do the collection for your appeal. Have one specific story you tell, and have that person ask the room for money. But then step aside and let the benefit auctioneer do the work. Again, this makes your appeal ACTIVE and benefit auctioneers are well-versed in selling the ORGANIZATION to the room. They will read the room’s energy and maximize its giving potential.

The results of these shifts can be significant. Urban League got rid of the program elements that detracted from their fundraising. They subbed out envelopes on the table and made their ask active with the help of a benefit auctioneer. The result was an energized moment where the organization and donors became emotionally connected and committed to one another. Congratulations to Urban League and their fantastic (and successful!) Equal Opportunity Day Awards Dinner.

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