Sticking to the Schedule is Important for Increased Revenue at Your Fundraising Event

Putting on a fundraising event is no easy task. There are a lot of moving pieces that need to be taken into consideration: where is the event going to take place? Who’s going to be invited? Are we going to have a silent and live auction? What items are we going to get for out auction? What kind of food are we going to serve and how? Once these, and a large number of other questions are answered, we then ask ourselves: how are we going to fit this all into one night?

Often times, a timeline for the evening is put together as a “rough guide” for how the events of the night should play out. But what many organizations don’t understand is that failing to follow a timeline actually leads to a loss in revenue at their fundraising event.

When an organization pushes back on the timeline (or doesn’t seem to have one at all), it can result in guests asking themselves:

  1. Can I trust the program?
  2. Is this going to push back the food service?
  3. How much longer is this going to go on?

Needless to say, it puts negative thoughts into the minds of your guests. This creates distrust and distracts from your organization’s objective of raising money for the event. If you were planning on serving dinner at 7:30pm, and you pushed it back to 8:00pm, your attendees are thinking to themselves “when is the food going to come out? I’m starving!” and that is going to be the main thing on their mind until the food arrives. Meanwhile, you might have someone on stage telling an emotional story relating to your organization’s mission and asking for donations, but a large portion of your audience isn’t paying attention because they are hungry and focused on when they will be fed.

Everyone has been to an event where the timeline has been off, and I believe that most everyone can agree that when you are attending an event and it is behind schedule, it can be frustrating. If your audience is frustrated, then they will be less likely to bid.

The example about pushing the dinner service back by 30 minutes is from an actual fundraising event. Do you want to know what the outcome was? I’ll tell you: By the time the food was served, it was almost 8:30pm. According to the original timeline,  we were supposed to start the live auction at 7:50pm, but we didn’t get started until 8:40pm. The initial 30-minute delay created a 40-minute delay for the live auction. By the time the auction started, people were much less interested in the items, the organization’s cause, and were seeming ready to go home. By the end of the night, the organization felt just like the audience: upset and disappointed.

Thankfully, there is a part two to this story! After the issues they experienced with the timeline the first year, they understood the importance of staying on schedule and creating that smooth experience for the guests. Year two came around, doors opened 6:00pm, the silent auction closed at 7:15pm, and dinner was served on time at 7:30pm. When it was time to start the live auction 7:50pm, the feeling in the room was completely different from the year before. People were excited for the auction, they paid attention to stories that were being told about the organization’s mission and how they, and everyone in the room, were making a positive impact on the community. We started off the bidding and we started high. As the night went on, the bidding got even higher. The Fund-A-Need was also a big success. The difference in sticking to the timeline in year two saw an increase in gross revenue by over 40%.

There are many options that an organization has to increase revenue at their fundraising auction, and while the timeline is one of the most important, there are other options that organizations should look at as well. Johnny B. Auction® can help your organization figure out the best strategies and maximize your profits while giving your gets a fantastic experience.