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  • Writer's pictureAmFund

Look No Further: The Ultimate Fund-a-Need Strategy

Often times, organizations will wrap up their fundraising events by asking for donations from their guests. We simply call this a “fund-a-need.” For many organizations, the open ask can be a challenge. It can feel like pulling teeth if the approach is not handled properly. Opens asks usually begin at a high level ($5,000 or $10,000) and then go down from there to lower levels ($1,000, $500, etc.). While this method of an open ask can be effective at the end of an energetic live auction or after an inspiring video or speaker, we here at AmFund came across another tactic to an open ask that works brilliantly!

The Results Speak for Themselves

Just a few weeks ago, we at AmFund were supporting one of our nonprofit partners at their gala of approximately 300 guests. It was at this gala where we saw one of the best (and most creative) fund-a-needs that we had ever seen! Here’s how it works: a donor (we will call him Mr. Smith here) was arranged ahead of time who was planning to donate $10,000 to the organization that year. The organization asked this donor to wait until the end of the evening before announcing the donation. When it came time for the "fund-a-need", the organization announced that Mr. Smith will generously donate $10,000 to their organization if, and ONLY IF, 10 other people will give $1,000 each to match his $10,000. “So who’s in?”

Immediately, the hands started flying up all across the audience. At this particular event, the organization ended up getting 13 people to agree to this $1,000 donation. That means they ended up with $23,000 total from this one level of ask.

Moving Down to Lower Tiers of Asking

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, fund-a-needs usually work best when you start high and then make your way down to lower levels. In this example of the gala that we attended a few weeks ago, this is exactly the approach that was used. An announcement is made that there is a donor who will donate $5,000…only if there are 10 people to donate $500 each in an effort to match the donation. At this event, they found 20 people to donate $500 each! That’s $10,000 right there.

Next, the same approach is done with a donor who is donating $2,500 as long as 25 people donate at least $100. They received 52 people to donate $100. That comes out to $7,700 just for this level of ask. Finally, they went down to a $1,000 donor with the expectation that 20 people will donate $50 each. They received 32 donations of $50. That comes out to $2,600 for this level.

Ok, so let’s put these numbers together. At this point, $43,300 has been raised. The organization lets the audience know that they are only $6,700 short of $50,000. They ask 134 people to give $50. What happens next is incredible! 207 people gave $100, resulting in $10,350 raised on this final ask. The grand total for the night was $53,650!

Planning Out your Fund-a-Need Will Bring in Astounding Results

You don’t necessarily need to host a huge event with hundreds and hundreds of people to come away with a large amount of donations. A smaller crowd — of say 150 people for example — creates an atmosphere that is geared more towards helping “for the greater good.” There is a true team spirit energy that will take hold of your event. Many people will even find themselves giving multiple times across the levels of the fund-a-need. This kind of environment is much better than one that is filled with awkward silences as everyone waits for someone to raise up a hand (especially on the higher levels).

Planning ahead and structuring your fund-a-need with creative methods will ensure that you come away with excellent donation results that will help support your nonprofit organization. For more assistance in developing your fund-a-need, as well as other tips for your next fundraising event, contact us at AmFund. Our friendly and experienced Development Directors help raise funds for hundreds of non-profits every year. We look forward to learning about your worthy cause!


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