Maximising fundraiser return for a donated prize

Fundraiser Tip

A reader recently asked for our advice on the best way to maximise the fundraising dollars for a major prize at a trivia night. She was tossing up between a silent auction or a game such as the ‘Corners’ game. The prize in question was holiday accommodation valued at around $700.

I’ll describe the Corners game in a moment, but first I went to our Facebook community to ask their advice.

There were many votes for a raffle, and some for a live auction. There were reservations about a silent auction, which I personally agree can be dangerous with a large-value item.  A silent auction can be successful if the atmosphere is right and you have two or more people wanting the same item. There is a real risk, however, that larger value items will not reach their market value. Even placing a reserve bid is dangerous as you don’t want to be left with an unsold prize at the end of the night.

There were a couple of other ‘out of the box’ ideas such as a ‘Wall of Envelopes’ at $10 each where everyone wins a prize (even a McDonalds voucher) and one envelope will hold the major prize. Tip: Instead of vouchers, you can just include random inspirational quotes or funny life advice or a challenge – a prize for the soul! A similar concept to this is the ‘key in the bucket’ where only one key opens the prize.

If you run a raffle, make certain you sell as many tickets before the night as possible. Try to sell to people who were unable to attend the evening. You may want to recruit local businesses to sell tickets on your behalf, or send a book home with every child. Selling raffle tickets at your local supermarket can also be worthwhile – and you can promote your event at the same time!

You can run a ‘limited tickets’ raffle – these work best with high-value items that everyone would like. I’ll write a tip about this one in a few weeks, but in this instance you could sell 50 or 100 tickets only (the lower the number the easier to sell) at $20 each to make certain everyone has a great chance of winning and you get a good return.

The ‘Corners’ game is where there is a suit of cards represented in each corner, so one corner will be Hearts, one Clubs etc. During a break in the evening, players can pay an entry fee (say $5/10) and then head to a corner of their choice. The MC will then draw a card at random from a deck of cards – if your suit is picked, you pay nothing – all other players must sit down UNLESS they pay a further $2/5/10 to stay in the game! The stakes can rise throughout the game. The last player standing is the winner!

There are lots of options for maximising the fundraiser return for a major prize – it depends on what type of event you are running, how many people you expect and what fits in with your other plans for the evening.

Happy fundraising!
Mandy Weidmann