Fund Raisers: Treat Your Donors Like GOLD

Posted by Dave

Successful fund-raising events combine treating guests to a good time with bringing in a lot of money for a worthy cause. Any gathering which fails in either of these criteria cannot be deemed a success.

To that end, two elements of most fund raisers are the Live and Silent Auctions. Both of these depend on the goodwill of two constituencies – the buyers and the donors. As mentioned above, buyers must have fun, and must feel like they are appreciated.

Donors, however, also deserve royal treatment. Without them, there would be no items for the buyers to bid on, and the beneficiaries of the charities involved would suffer. Unfortunately, donors aren’t always afforded the consideration they deserve.

And by “consideration,” I don’t mean money. Most entertainers I know are happy to donate their talents for worthy causes, and don’t expect money in return. What they do have a right to anticipate is that the good folks at the charity offices will bend over backwards to be accommodating. (I for one would be less than thrilled to find that the charity was allowing the folks who bought my “freebie” to cash it in on a Saturday in December, for example.)

That hasn’t happened. But I did have an incident recently where a charity paired my services with a barbecue dinner at a ranch well outside our metropolitan area. This added hours to the total amount of time I was donating. The trouble was – I had never been asked, nor had I agreed to, this “extra” donation.

It kind of reminded me of the old joke in which a judge tells the defendant, “I sentence you to 20 years in prison – what do you think of that?” And the defendant replies, “I think you are being very liberal with my time, that’s what!”

I thought that the charity was being kind of liberal with mine, too, and that I deserved the courtesy of an advance call. Common courtesy to those who donate their time, talents, goods, and services should be automatic.

Let’s face it – there are lots of worthy causes, each vying for the same donors. If your favorite charity becomes a little casual about showing their appreciation, sooner or later donations will go down.

So when it’s your turn on the charity committee, treat those paying customers nice. But – in every way you can – show just as much gratitude to your donors. Let them see how much you value them as an essential source of revenue.

Otherwise, you will eventually have a really small group of items to auction off.


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