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How to Run a Successful Fund-A-Need Campaign

How to Run a Successful Fund-A-Need Campaign

Fund-A-Need campaigns go by many names, such as Paddles Raises, Special Appeals, and Fund-A-Causes. If your fundraising goal is to raise as much money as possible for a specific cause, a Fund-A-Need campaign could be exactly what you’re looking for. These cash appeals are a great way to engage your supporters and inspire them about your cause.

Check out our simple guide on how to run a successful and profitable Fund-A-Need and learn how to connect with your donors on a deeper level.

What Exactly Is a Fund-A-Need Campaign?

A Fund-A-Need campaign is often used to provide a simple way for donors to support a specific cause, idea, or service. They differ from silent and charity auctions, as Fund-A-Need “items” are not required to be physical prizes. Also, these special gifts can be donated by multiple supporters – there doesn’t need to be just one winner.

Pre-Set Donation Amounts

With fund-a-need campaigns, the need is generally highlighted rather than the amount of money. Fund-a-needs represent different contribution levels, such as $500 or $5,000, and can generally go quite high. The key for your organization is to show your constituents what that donation level represents. So, for example, $500 provides one month of food and shelter for an orphan. Donors will experience the joy of accomplishing a goal when that level of donation has been met.

Fund-A-Needs are most frequently used as an add-on to charity auctions or run simultaneously with other fundraisers, such as crowdfunding campaigns. Participants can bid on the items they are interested in, and at the same time make cash donations to your cause through the Fund-A-Need campaign. When done well, this type of fundraising campaign can dramatically increase your organization or cause’s donations.

DoJiggy clients can include Fund-A-Need campaigns in their online auctions with our e-commerce sales function.

How to Successfully Plan and Run a Fund-A-Need Campaign

Make a Plan for Fund-A-Need Campaigns

Follow our essential guide to help you run a successful and profitable Fund-A-Need campaign.

It’s essential to start organizing your Fund-A-Need campaign with plenty of time, as this is a crucial part of your fundraiser that can earn a substantial amount of money in a very short time. Know who your audience is and how to reach them on a profound level so that they are inspired to give big. How generous your donors are will depend almost entirely on how motivating your auctioneer and speakers are. So, make sure you carefully choose your fundraising team and are prepared to get your supporters fired up and donating to a good cause.

Campaign Timing Is Key

Creating a clear and easy-to-follow timetable is an essential part of running a successful Fund-A-Need. FAN’s in general don’t run over 20 or 30 minutes – especially when managed as part of virtual or hybrid fundraisers. They should be fast, fun, and engaging.

Think carefully about where to place your Fund-A-Need if it is part of a live auction. If you start the Fund-A-Need too early on at the event, your donors may hold back on making contributions until they’ve seen the auction items. However, if you place it at the end of the fundraiser, they may have already spent all their money and won’t be able to participate in further contributions. As a happy medium, try to run the Fund-A-Need after bidding closes on your highest-priced items in the auction, this way your donors will be at the peak of their interest and excitement.

The Fund-a-Need Presentation

The success of your Fund-A-Need will greatly depend on 3 factors:

  • Setting the Scene – Your auctioneer or MC needs to engage your crowd of supporters from the get go. They will have about 2 minutes to pump up the audience, give brief and clear instructions on how to make a contribution and where the money will go. Focus on the ultimate fundraising goal of the event and the powerful impact everyone can have together.
  • Creating the Emotional Trigger – This is where you captivate your donors by showing them where their donations will make an impact. Show them a short video highlighting the story behind your cause and inspire your supporters to give and make a difference. The emotional appeal should be uplifting, rather than depressing or negative.
  • Professionally Asking – Now you have your participants all fired-up, briskly hand your Fund-A-Need over to a professional auctioneer and start asking for donations at various contribution levels.

Carefully Consider Fund a Need Contribution Levels

Setting donation levels is important for Fund-A-Need campaigns

It’s vital that you know your supporters well, so you can decide what starting donation level best fits them. Once you have chosen a suitable starting amount, work your way down to the lowest increments. Use your discretion when setting these increments, for example, maybe start at the highest level of $10,000 and work your way down slowly to $250. At the highest donation level, it may be best to find a supporter who can commit in advance with you. You don’t want to call for a $5,000 fund-a-need and not get it, after all. That will dampen the mood and momentum of your campaign. Once a supporter has accepted the challenge, others will be more apt to jump in.

It’s important to consider the importance of the lower-level contributions, as many people will feel more comfortable with donating a smaller increment after seeing fellow attendees donating large amounts of money. Trickle down gradually with your increments – don’t jump from $10,000 to $500, as you will miss everything in between.

Make it clear to your audience what you are raising money for so they know how they will personally be making an impact. It is often easier to ask for a specific need or initiative such as a new library, specialized medical equipment or housing for a new school in a developing country. When people can visualize where their money will go and how it will be used, they often feel more comfortable with giving. This is not to say that raising money for ‘general funds’ at your Fund-A-Need is a bad idea. As long as you give an engaging presentation that triggers emotion amongst your donors, you will have a profitable and successful evening.

Accepting the Donations

For live events, make sure you have enough staff and volunteers on hand as they will be needed to run around collecting and recording bids on a tracking sheet or through electronic bidding since it is so fast-paced. It is crucial to collect all the donations that night, as you don’t want to lose any contributions amongst the hustle and bustle.

DoJiggy Fundraising Software for Fund-A-Needs

If you are hosting a virtual or hybrid Fund-A-Need, your guests can have the option to donate by texting and mobile giving directly from their cell phones or any device.  Dojiggy’s software tools make this really easy.

Closing on a High Note

Always inform your donors of how much you raised at the end of the Fund-A-Need. If you met or exceeded your fundraising goal, share and celebrate this information with your guests. If you fall a bit short of the goal, don’t forget to tell your supporters that the bidding will stay open for another 24 hours so they still have a chance to reach the target. Close your event by clapping and cheering to recognize the generosity of your donors. This should be a lively, fun, and inspiring event, so keep that energy up until you reach the finish line!    

Pro Tips For Running a Successful Fund-A-Need

Live Stream for Hybrid and Virtual Fund-A-Need Campaigns

These fund-a-need ideas are sure to make your event more fun and profitable.

  • Pick a captivating cause to raise funds for. Knowing your audience well lets you decide on an impactful, profitable fund-a-need campaign idea.
  • Find an auctioneer or MC that specializes in Fund-A-Needs. You need someone who knows how to inspire a crowd, ask for donations, and succeed in getting them.
  • Hire great speakers or produce a short video to tell the story behind your Fund-A-Need to motivate donors to make generous contributions. Live stream their speeches if you’re running a virtual event and have some pre-recorded videos as backups.
  • It’s vital to hand out or post a clear and simple timeline and agenda for the auction participants to follow. If they arrive late to the event, they can see where you are and what’s coming next.
  • If planning a virtual or hybrid Fund-A-Need, make sure to have some tech-savvy staff or volunteers at hand for any technical problems and questions that may occur. This will ensure that your donors feel that they are in safe hands and will eliminate any unnecessary stress and confusion. Check out our guide on How To Run A Successful Hybrid Fundraiser for more tips.
  • Post and consistently remind your audience of the phone number to text to donate for your virtual donors.
  • Use gamification such as fundraising thermometers to motivate and visually remind your donors of how close you are to reaching the fundraising goal.
  • Always announce how much was raised at the end of the evening and how the money will have a huge impact on your cause, highlighting where the donations will be spent.
  • Keep thanking your donors when you’re receiving contributions. Don’t forget to make a point of paying public gratitude to top donors.

Fund-A-Need Game Ideas: The Popcorn Game or The Run Around

VIP Tickets for auction campaigns

If your planning committee is looking for a fun alternative to a classic charity auction and Fund-a-need, how about hosting a ‘Popcorn Game’ to raise money for a good cause and win a fantastic prize in the process? So what is a Popcorn Game, also called a Run Around? Here is a simple rundown of how this type of Fund-A-Need campaign works:

  • First, decide what your main prize will be. You need to choose a desirable prize with broad appeal, such as a luxury weekend getaway, an all-inclusive trip to a beach paradise, or VIP tickets to a concert or sports tournament. See our top tips for the best auction/raffle prizes to offer your guests.
  • The auctioneer will introduce and clearly explain the game whilst motivating and inspiring the audience.
  • Just before calling out the last donation level (usually around $100), the auctioneer will announce that there will be a special prize for the person holding the last paddle in the room.
  • So then the fun begins! One person raises their paddle to make a $50 donation and the luxury prize is all theirs until the next person raises their paddle to make an equal donation, and they then take the prize. So then the previous person donates again to gain the prize back, and so on.
  • This game turns into a bidding war, with donors raising their paddles multiple times to try and win the top prize. The key is that the participants’ donations go directly to the Fund-A-Need campaign’s cause.
  • The advantage of hosting a Popcorn Game is that you receive a high level of participation from all financial donor levels, and it’s a great incentive to give more to the Fund-A-Need.

Lisa Bennett

About Lisa Bennett

Lisa is the Sales Director at DoJiggy. She joined DoJiggy in 2006 and loves her job. Prior to working with DoJiggy, she worked at several non-profits and managed special event fundraising.

See other posts from Lisa Bennett