10 ingredients to raising over $1 million at a charity dinner
I recently attended a fundraiser that did this, for a great cause! I don't generally run in these circles so it was quite unusual for me to see this in action. This program had been raising money for about 20 years. Their first fundraiser raised $4,000. It was very exciting to be a part of it even though my contribution was closer to a rounding error! It inspired me to be able to do more in the future. It was a great cause and people were very joyful.
1. $150 a plate dinner x 200 people = $30,000
2. Ask a whale to match 25,000 in $1000 gifts: $50,000.
3. There was a live auction for a lavish chef dinner. When the bidding between 2 people stopped the MC said “surprise: there are 2 dinners, would you both accept at the lower bid?” From $25,000 to $50,000!
4. Unique high dollar experiences were auctioned including private jet travel to a football game: $25,000.
The private jet trip was donated and the auction winner probably paid less than it would have cost, but it still raised a lot of money.
5. Table sponsors: in addition to per plate the tables were sponsored at $2500 to $10,000 levels: about $75,000
6. Ask for Donations months in advance on the sign up page
This way you give a donation when signing up and then give more on the day of the event.
7. The charity auction was handled by a professional auctioneer (who donated his time) who did a great job whipping up the excitement
A live auction does something to inspire a frenzy. People were cheering at the larger donations, and also the smaller ones.
8. There was lots of peer pressure to bid.
9. There was a count down done in an auctioneer style at many price levels: who could give $5000? $2500? $1000? $100? $25?
The smallest donations got big cheers. This category was matched (see above).