Non-Profit Fundraising That Yields Higher Returns

Non-Profit Fundraising That Yields Higher Returns
Debbie Juehring-Hitzel


Impact Auctions Fundraising Event Specialist

Non-Profit Fundraising That Yields Higher ReturnsShare on Twitter

What fundraising opportunities will net higher revenue?

Your committee has opted to have a gala at the local country club. Your fundraising goal is to net $80,000. What fundraising activities would you choose for your gala to reach that goal?

There are hundreds of different strategies to raise money for charitable causes. What’s appropriate for one group might not be for another.  

Here are popular options: Silent Auction, Live Auction, Race, Walk, Dance-A-Thon, Selling Items, Car Wash, Asking for Donations, Raffles, Golf Tournaments, etc...

There are many different pieces when it comes to building a successful fundraising event.   Each piece should be carefully chosen to build upon the next piece.  As it begins to fit together, your non-profit gala should expect record-breaking funds raised in one night as well as attendees being excited about the next year's event.  

A successful combination of fundraising pieces could include:

  • a Silent Auction 
  • a Live Auction 
  • Fund-A-Need
  • add  "additional opportunities"  like a raffle.   

Silent Auctions are very common at the traditional fundraising events, but if you have never held a Live Auction, it’s time to give it a whirl. Live Auctions, believe it or not, are less work and will generate more revenue to meet your ever increasing budget demands.

Many non-profit organizations prefer to plan the charity event around the Silent Auction because they think it is less expensive and involves less work, but that’s simply not the case. The Silent Auction, while still effective, tend to generate less per item making it harder to reach higher demands year after year.    

A Live Auction will yield a higher return on your items simply because your guests are now focused on this high energy period in the program while a persuasive individual encourages higher bids from your attendees.

During a Live Auction, attendees are going head-to-head against other attendees. It’s very exciting for other guests to watch the bidding wars take place which generates passionate fervor in the room. The bidders often get so caught up in the electric pandemonium that they call out higher bids without a second thought. When the live auction is completed, it’s time to add one more critical component in fundraising.

The Fund-A-Need, a direct give, allows all the attendees to participate. Guests who didn’t win an item in the Live or Silent Auction may still want to support the cause. This is an efficient way to engage the audience with the mission of your charity and ask everyone to give from their hearts.  Additional opportunities to think about is adding a raffle item or selling your flower centerpieces at the end of the night.  

All in all, incorporating all these different type of fundraising pieces into one event will give all of your attendees a chance to support the non-profit's mission.  Here are proven strategies to incorporate at your next charity event to yield higher revenue. 

Optimizing Strategies to Increase Fundraising Revenues In                                One Fundraising Event

1. Silent Auction

  • Promote the Silent Auction LOUDLY. 
  • Advertise and use social media:  Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. 
  • Add mobile bidding to increase bidding.
  • If you do not have mobile bidding, ask the auctioneer to give constant updates and countdowns when the silent auction is getting ready to close.
  • Close your silent auction by tables and not all at once giving more time to bid up popular items.

2. Fundraising Auctioneer

  • Hire an experienced professional auctioneer who understands charity auctioneering. Fundraising auctioneers are worth every penny and should be hired for non-profit events. They understand the fundraising components which are essential when wanting to increase funds raised.
  • Your auctioneer should become part of the planning committee which he/she should be asked to give advice on how to sequence the items in the live auction that will promote maximum giving.
  • Fundraising auctioneers should have a team of bid spotters in the audience to promote bidding.
  • The “auctioneer team” should arrive early to chat with the guests and peak their interest in the live auction items.

3. Live Auction Items

  • Quality experiences and items are needed for the live auction. An auctioneer is only as good as the items that are being auctioned. If needed, use consignment trips. These trips can be sold multiple times and is the secret to record-setting funds raised.
  • Seven to ten items should be the maximum offered in the Live Auction. Having “MORE” is not better.
  • Live Auction programs should be distributed with descriptions for each item to all guests.
  • Live Auction should be planned for early in the evening.
  • Slide show presentation should be made and accompany the Live Auction item on a big screen as it is being auctioned.

4. Banquet Room Set-up Guidelines

  • Quality sound system should be one of the highest priorities.
  • Make sure all guests can easily see the stage.
  • Live auction items should be check out immediately (Right after auction item is won.)

5. Fund-A-Need

  • Make a heart-felt mission video to show before the direct give.
  • Make sure the mission and goal is known by attendees.
  • Four different giving levels with a description of each level should be created for the Fund-A-Need.
  • Have an experienced fundraising auctioneer who understands direct giving.
  • Plan, train volunteers, and rehearse how to collect money before and follow the plan.

6. Additional Opportunities to Increase Revenue

  • Raffles
  • Golden Ticket
  • Staging flowers or centerpieces at the end of the evening should be sold
  • Place a table with assorted bottles of wine at the doorway asking for donations
  • Merchandise to purchase

Finally, remember to start early in the planning stage.  Build one piece upon the next and let the event work for you.  As they say, work smarter, not harder.  Using successful fundraising strategies will definitely yield higher returns on every non-profit event.  This is a winning formula:

Fundraising Auctioneer (Silent Auction + Live Auction) + (Fund-A-Need +Additional Opportunities) = Record Breaking Funds Raised 

Best of luck,

Debbie Hitzel                                                                                                                 Impact Auctions Event Fundraising Specialist

About the Author:  Debbie and Ron Hitzel, auctioneer team for Impact Auctions, have been in the fundraising business for over a decade raising money for charity causes close to their hearts. When Ron’s nephew was diagnosed with leukemia in 2003, Ron joined the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’sTeam-in-Training to help raise money for blood cancer research where he quickly assumed the role of fundraising coordinator for his team because of his passion. Through trial and error he found silent auctions to be an effective way to raise “just enough” money. Over time, he realized that securing silent auction items was a tedious task that demanded much energy and time that exhausted his volunteers as well as himself. Meanwhile, Debbie had begun working for a fundraising company and quickly saw the benefits of raising MORE with live auctions at charity events. With her event planning guidance, Ron tried his skills as an auctioneer at their next charity fundraiser. The outcome spoke for itself as the net-profit was doubled in thirty minutes. Debbie and Ron’s new passion for helping fundraisers with live auctions had begun, Impact Auctions was founded.

“Fundraisers are the catalysts of change.”                            Unknown

Ron and Debbie Hitzel

Impact Auctions


Charlotte, North Carolina


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Mission Statement:


Impact Auctions philosophy is simple, "Be Committed To The Cause".  Impact Auctions is committed to listen to each organization's needs, build on the strengths of each organization, and form a fundraising partnership to meet the fundraising goals year after year.  



*2015 was our first year working with a truly professional full
service auctioneer.  We did  a full search and were so pleased with our decision
to go with Impact Auctions! Not only did we raise MORE money but the live auction was
more entertaining than in past years!  Thank you!    


Jane C from St. Gabriel School


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