How To Hit Your Live Appeal Goal With Donation Gamification – The MAD Finale!

Picture this: your event is off to a great start. Guests are connecting with your mission and you’re watching the fundraising dollars roll in! Now it’s time for the big finale – your Live Appeal. Make sure your event ends as strong as it started by unlocking the power of gamification. Dive into these tips, tricks, and how-to’s to make your live appeal a smashing success.

Include Multiple Revenue Streams At Your Event

Fund-A-Need, Paddle Raise, Special Appeal and Make-A-Donation (MAD) are just a few names for a live appeal for charitable donations. A live donation appeal is a direct ask for your supporters to donate funds for a specific need/project/campaign (e.g. scholarship, new equipment, operations, etc.) with a defined dollar goal amount.

A live donation appeal can raise thousands of dollars in a matter of minutes. A live donation appeal can raise even more when supplemented by a game—such as, the Fund-A-Need Finale!

Fund-A-Need Basic Tips

Your basic live appeal should be a direct donation request to your supporters for a specific reason with a specific financial goal.

Appeals work best when they include:

  1. High energy – Whoever is making the Ask is also responsible for pumping up the attendees. This individual should involve the audience, their enthusiasm about donating and about the overall mission should be contagious.
  2. Building excitement and donation momentum – Not everyone will donate immediately. The emcee should be thanking donors as he/she rallies others.
  3. A repeated goal – Raising $XX for your cause. Don’t be afraid to remind your guests that they are attending a fundraising event! Share the donation goal multiple times and update your guests on progress to goal.
  4. A professional charity auctioneer – Need one? Look no further than the industry leaders that partner with OneCause.
  5. OneCause’s mobile bidding or Text2Give® – along with a customizable Scoreboard that reveals real-time results.

Fund-A-Need with a Finale

A Fund-A-Need Finale compliments your existing live fundraising appeal by adding an exciting element of gamification at the end of your appeal.

A successful Fund-A-Need with a finale typically:

  1. Takes place after the live and/or silent auctions have ended.
  2. Allows an organization to collect multiple, smaller donations from each participant.
  3. Is celebratory, yet competitive.
  4. Gives your audience one final opportunity to make an additional donation.
  5. Is ideal for involving the entire audience, especially those who did not win a live or silent auction package.
  6. Includes an incentive. We know that supporters give more when there’s a chance to win a prize. Travel and other experience packages are always popular items.

How To Conduct The Fund-A-Need Finale

Your Finale can be conducted in one of two ways:

  1. As a second live appeal – either with the same funding goals or for an entirely different goal
  2. As a conclusion of the original appeal – when the live donations slow down but you haven’t yet hit your dollar goal

Have your emcee make a very clear announcement that it’s time to close the silent auction. Once you have your audience’s attention, get back to the giving!

Explain to guests the Fund-A-Need as well as the Finale component. Suggested announcement:

“The silent auction may have ended but the fun certainly has not. We’re going to play a game – won’t take but a few minutes – and the winner of the game will receive a fabulous prize!”

Educating your guests is vital! They must be emotionally motivated, they need to know “why” giving is so important to your organization. If they don’t understand the game, they likely won’t participate.

Identify one of your nicer auction items for the prize. Travel and experiences packages almost always work well at fundraisers.

Fund-A-Need Finale Rules

Explain to your guests that the last name to appear as a donor on the Scoreboard when the emcee/auctioneer reaches the end of the Fund-A-Need wins the prize. Suggested Announcement:

“Ladies and Gentlemen, the last person here who donates, regardless of the donation amount, is the winner. The last donor’s name that is on this Scoreboard screen [point to screen] when time runs out is going to enjoy this prize!”

Everyone can and should participate!

Create excitement by describing the prize and what makes it so valuable. It may be worth mentioning who donated the prize and how much it’s truly worth.

Create a sense of urgency by emphasizing the short length of the Finale – this is the only chance to win the prize!

Once you’ve identified the length of time you’ll spend playing the Finale game, very clearly, and with pomp and circumstance, start the game.

Continually announce the goal and the time remaining

Without a countdown timer, the audience is relying on you for updates. Suggested announcement:

“Just $2,000 more to reach our goal! And only 3 minutes left for your chance to win this amazing prize!”

To fill small pauses, list the names of donors who appear on the Scoreboard and thank these supporters. You might also use their name and/or donation to motivate others. Suggested announcement:

“Well thank you Mr. & Mrs. Smith for the donation! Hopefully the rest of your table follows suit! Speaking of suits, that’s a nice one there sir, have I seen your name up on the Scoreboard yet?”

Countdown with the clock. You might even involve the audience! Suggested Announcement:

“In just a few seconds, we’re going to have a winner…10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1! [Turns to Scoreboard screen] Congratulations John Smith! You’ve won!”

When it’s time, close the finale – and punctuate the entire evening on a positive note – with an announcement of the winner’s name and a round of applause for all participation. Emphasize the funds raised, the generosity of the supporters and, most importantly, the mission.

Taking a risk to try new fundraising activities can be scary but can also provide great value. Remember that we often meet our own expectations. So raise your expectations and raise your results!

Wrapping Up

We’ve gathered some additional resources to help inspire your next Fund-A-Need and Fund-A-Need Finale: