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.

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