Auctioneers Blog

Event and Paddle Raise Messaging

Event and paddle raise messaging for most fundraisers is left undeveloped until the last possible moment; in many cases, right up to the event start time.

Imagine how much more successful your efforts would be, it you took a couple of hours up front with your team, and developed a messaging program that included your mission, values, accomplishments and future needs. Then deployed that information across every platform and with every committee member, donor, board member and volunteer.

The influence of a consistent message, communicated over and over would reinforce to everyone involved, the power of what your organization does, why it’s important to attend, donate, match funds, provide sponsorship, and raise their paddle.

When you think about messaging as a major task, it may seem daunting, but for most organizations, you and your team already have the information, you just haven’t thought about how significant organized communications can be. The following a simple outline to begin the process:

1) Organization
a. State your:

i. Mission
ii. Vision

b. Develop and share the following:

i. Your brand values
ii. Your brand personality
iii. Your brand promise

ACTION ITEM: Develop short, powerful, one-line catchphrases that will inspire action!

2) Characteristics: How staff and volunteers should talk about your organization:
a. What do you do?
b. How do you do it?
c. Why are you different?
d. Why what you do is important?

ACTION ITEM: Create three to five one-line catchphrases that will explain what you do and who you are in a short, relevant manner.

3) Decide what your organization and team care about:
a. What are your community:

i. Goals?
ii. Needs?
iii. Accomplishments?

ACTION ITEM: Create three to five one-line catchphrases that will explain what you’ve accomplished and what your current needs are, in a short but powerful way.

4) Develop concise “calls to action” on how individuals and businesses can get involved:
a. Volunteer
b. Donate
c. Advocate
d. How to invite friends, neighbors and associates to get involved.

ACTION ITEM: Create a document that you share freely with these calls to action

5) Be clear and communicate how much it costs to deliver programs and services in your community, not just overall costs, but costs per program, person, family, animal, etc.:
a. Annual budget for service delivery
b. Costs per person
c. Benefits per person
d. Lifelong outcomes

ACTION ITEM: Develop a messaging document for your auctioneer that details what a donor’s dollars will do for the communities you serve. Begin with a goal number that is two – three times higher than what you expect to raise. Here are some examples, but use your own stories and numbers.

$100,000 will feed 492 families for an entire year – that’s just $203 per family
$50,000 houses 500 homeless youth in immediate need at the Youth Homeless Shelter, just $100 per youth
$25,000 will save 200 dogs from euthanasia, just $125 per dog

Continue this exercise with the following numbers:


Conclusion: When you provide this level of detailed information to your auctioneer, she can deliver a powerful presentation from the heart, and become your advocate on event night and throughout the year.

Isabella Bird Community School

Hello Shelly, I just wanted to send you a personal note thanking you for your outstanding work on our “Beach Bash” last night. You did an amazing job bringing out the best in our community, and we are all so thrilled with the results.

More importantly, you were a true partner with those of us working on the auction, asking for input on items and approaches. It was really a joy to work with such a committed professional. Thank you!

Martina, Auction Chair, Isabella Community School

Motorcycle Relief Project

“Shelly, I just wanted to let you know that Libby did an absolutely fabulous job on Saturday night. As you heard we had some technical difficulties. Libby offered valuable solutions to the problems and was able to go with the flow and adapt and still do a fantastic job. Everyone has been telling me that it was a really great event, and Libby played a big part in that. Thanks Libby!”

Tom Larson, Executive Director

Kilimanjaro Technology Foundation

 “Shelly, thank you for going above and beyond our wildest expectations in raising raising over $200k! Holy shmoly, Diva! (See goal #1 target, “$50,000 or more,” in the kickoff call notes!) Thank you, you are amazing!”

Laurel Warner, Co-Founder

City Year Denver

“Shelly, I can’t begin to thank you enough for flawlessly executing the live auction/night of ask for City Year last night! You did an incredible job and the results showed! We more than doubled what we raised at our last evening event earlier this year and easily raised 40% more than the event prior to that! Thank you so much for helping us reach our goals!’

‘It was a great evening!”

Vanecia B. Kerr, Managing Director

Hill Middle School

“We used Libby’s auctioneering service at our fundraising event for Hill Campus of Arts and Sciences last night. She was incredible, amazing, fun and vivacious!  She told jokes and knew a lot about the school from the tour she had taken and the research she had done (on both the prizes and the school).  She brought in MUCH more than we anticipated, she literally doubled our proceeds for the night!”

Molly Kirschling, PTA

The Butterfly Pavilion

 “I have had the privilege and honor to have partnered with The Auction Divas at numerous fundraising events I have lead as a Director of Development. Their thoughtful suggestions and tested knowledge have led us to beat projections at every event I’ve used their team. From planning to auction packaging, community contact and unique and fun style, they truly cannot be beat. I would move event dates to ensure they were part of my event because of the success they bring to the team. I can count on them to get every dollar in the room.”

Andy Szekeres, Director of Fund Development