Ten Tips for the 24 Hours Leading Up to Your Fundraising Event

The venue, food and drinks have been confirmed, but there are still a lot of things that can go wrong if you’re not prepared…

  1. Confirm your venue’s Wi-Fi capabilities. If they do not have a large enough capacity for your staff and volunteers (and your guests if you’re using riskier guest-enabled mobile bidding), consider bringing in your own Wi-Fi hotspot or two. This will be especially helpful if you plan to use any mobile apps for check-in/-out, paddle raises, etc.
  2. Assign volunteer roles based on individual strengths and personality. You might be surprised how many times we’ve seen misplaced volunteers. If a volunteer is uncomfortable or unable to complete their task, nobody wins – not the guests, not the event, and not the volunteers. Is there a volunteer who’s super outgoing? Task them with checking people in. Have someone who really likes order and is tech savvy? Have them manage the check-out process. The more comfortable and capable everyone feels, the more smoothly things will run.
  3. Finalize table assignments by ensuring all guests are accounted for – no duplications nor exclusions. Whether you’re using an online event platform like myRollCall or an Excel spreadsheet, it’s important each guest is assigned the proper seating. Review this once. Review this twice. Review this three times, even, to prevent any disruption while getting folks seated.
  4. If you’re using a mobile app for check-in/-out (which we certainly recommend!), make sure your volunteers have devices that match the app’s mobile phone requirements. It sounds simple enough, but the last thing you need is incompatible technology amongst your team.
  5. Your volunteers are your salesforce for donors. Encourage them to ask your guests to use their credit card for check-in. We’ve found that in some instances, 80% of guests will do so. Now, their info is already on file, making the check-out process even faster for everyone.
  6. Make sure everyone is on the same page regarding paddle raise levels – your auctioneer, the mobile app, volunteers, etc. Adding new donation levels to your mobile app on the fly is a stress no one needs. Simply put, avoid surprises.
  7. ALWAYS have a plant (or two) for your largest paddle-raise levels. Few things are worse than hearing crickets as you’re trying to raise that big money. Plus, giving is contagious; if one paddle goes up, more are sure to follow.
  8. Be sure to provide a light meal for your volunteers BEFORE the event. The last thing you need is for “hangry” (hungry meets angry) volunteers eyeing your guests’ plated dinner or raiding the buffet table before the guests are able to eat. After all, is there anything worse than being hungry and watching other people eat? A satiated volunteer is a happy volunteer.
  9. Remember to bring the physical “stuff” – the award for any honoree(s), photos, extra phone and laptop chargers, extension cords, silent auction bid sheets, easels – to the venue in advance. Making a mad dash back to the office for an award is, unfortunately, all too common. Save yourself the headache and stress of this last-minute emergency.
  10. Confirm details with your photographer – arrival time, agenda, shot list, turnaround time, etc. This will allow you to rest easy knowing you’ll get the photos you want.

When planning a large-scale fundraising event, it’s the little things that so easily fall through the cracks. By just a little planning (we love a good checklist!) and thoughtful delegation, you can ensure the details are well taken care of so you can focus on the bigger picture – raising those funds!