Attitudes at fundraising events are contagious. These attitudes start at the top with the Chairperson and trickle down to every volunteer and staff member associated with the event. And attendees take notice. Whether verbal or non-verbal, guests unknowingly process the attitudes and the actions of the staff and often adjust their attitude accordingly. This is often referred to as “the vibe”. And as you’ll discover – nothing brings more money in than a positive vibe.
Recently I had lunch with a professional colleague who happens to be in the marketing/public relations field. During our hour-long meeting the subject of negativity in daily conversation came up. After citing a few examples of the “downer dialogue” he’s heard throughout his career he looked at me and said, “You know Scott, I always tell the ‘downer dialoguers’ the same thing. Negative feeds negative. Positive feeds positive.”
I couldn’t agree more – especially when you are in a benefit auction setting.
Throughout my career I’ve heard my fair share of “downer dialogue” at fundraising events – much of it by well-intended event chairs, amateur auctioneers and guest speakers. The charity’s story – as well as an explanation for why the charity needs to raise money should be told. But the message should always be positive and uplifting – not depressing.
The reason is simple. The guests are attending your event because they want to support the charity and donate to a great cause. But, they also want to have fun. Negative energy can deflate the “fun balloon” faster than a sharp, 4-pronged pitchfork.
The solution is also simple. Be prepared. All of your guests should know about the charity, its cause and need for money long before they even arrive at the event. That means the minute they walk through the doors they enter an atmosphere filled with fun and positiveness. If the doors to the event are scheduled to open at 6 p.m., EVERYONE should be in position – relaxed – and with a smile on their face at 5:55.
Every charity representative, every volunteer and every staff member should also permeate positive energy. Smiling faces. Warm handshakes and hugs. Light, upbeat conversation. Displaying genuine gratitude for the attendees’ participation.
So at your next event think fun. Think Positive. Remember, happy guests tend to donate more. And that’s something for which I’m positively positive!”