Fund Raising Events – Double Your Revenue With a Special Pledge Appeal

Fund Raising Events – Double Your Revenue With a Special Pledge Appeal

What is a Special Pledge Appeal?

It is simply a pledge by generous supporters to donate a specific amount of money to help a non-profit group raise additional funds for a specific cause or purpose.  The special pledge appeal is a perfect add-on to your live fundraising auction. But for some, a well-executed special pledge appeal can generate more revenue than your live & silent auctions combined.


Names you may have heard it called:

Fund A Need
Fund A Cause
Fund A Program
Fund A Piece Of Equipment
Raise Your Paddle
Paddle Raise
Bid For A Cure
Cash Ask

A Fund A Need or Special Pledge Appeal auction segment is the most important part of your charity benefit event. Why? Because when done correctly, the most money is raised.
The Special Pledge Appeal is the single most important part of your event because of it’s capacity for raising an incredible amount of money for your cause.

One of the beauties of fundraising auctions is that you can include multiple revenue streams within your revenue-generating event. And perhaps no other single option offers as much potential as the Special Pledge Appeal.

A successful special pledge appeal doesn’t just happen. There are several important elements to it and two of the most important elements are:

1.  Why are you asking for the additional money?
2.  Who should actually ask for it?
3. Why Are You Asking For The Additional Money? What are your objectives? How will the funds be used?

With your silent or live auction your supporters will receive something tangible in exchange for their donation. But with the special pledge appeal, you are simply asking them to donate even more money to help you accomplish your goals.

Your supporters and benefactors need to clearly understand why you are seeking the additional funds, and what their money will be used for. Are you seeking to:

Fund Something? – A specific program, a new cure, a new building or wing, etc.
Buy Something? – An important piece of medical equipment, a van to transport those unable to drive themselves, winter coats for the homeless, etc.
Help Someone or Something? – Food for the hungry, a special trip for someone in need, provide a final life experience, etc.

The explanation of “why” the money is being raised should come from a highly visible, charismatic, and well-spoken leader of the group. Perhaps the CEO, the Event Chair, a recognized personality, or some other highly credible individual.  Here are Tips to consider when planning your Fund Appeal.

TIP 1:   Hire a professional auctioneer who knows how to bring in the money.  Some groups make the mistake of assuming they can save some money by having a volunteer handle their auction bid calling and special pledge appeal, but that rarely works well.  Few volunteers are experienced in soliciting money from a group, and basically none understand all of the intricate elements of the special pledge appeal.

TIP 2:  Prior to the event ask your auctioneer to guide you through the auction & pledge planning stages, including where to position the pledge within the live auction, the pledge timing, the asking amounts, and other pledge tips & strategies.

TIP 3:  Don’t rush the special appeal and ask for 100% participation.  You will not get, unless you ask and have an attainable goal that is visible for all guests in attendance.

TIP 4:  The Direct Give Appeal must be positioned properly during your fundraising event.  Remember the fund appeal must have a story, the ask, and the collection piece to run smoothly and efficiently.

In summary, the special pledge appeal is not for all groups and there are many elements required to make it work effectively. But when planned properly, positioned properly, and executed properly, it can raise more money than you ever thought possible.  img_0041

Debbie and Ron Hitzel are Fundraising Auctioneer Experts for Impact Auctions.  Contact us for a free consultation.  P:  407-267-8988

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