Psychology of Giving Expanded Content


Since “giving” is one of the most contagious emotions, it is critical to identify your higher gift donors that will be at the event and raising their bidder number. Once your audience sees other giving at higher levels, they may raise their bidder number at a higher level than they had planned. If you have a difficult time confirming those donors, consider converting sponsor dollars to paddle raise gifts, where we recognize those donors from the stage when they raise their bidder number. In making this sponsor dollar conversion, you are not loosing money, you are simply changing the column in which it is recorded, while inspiring the rest of your audience to give at higher levels.


While every donor is different, many larger donors appreciate their “ego” moment the instant their gift is recognized and recorded. Given this, we like to enlist committee and/or board members (in advance) as the cheering and personal thank you section. These individuals are stationed around the room in sections, and look for gifts at higher levels and go to these individuals to recognize them, shake their hand and thank them for their donation. When other guests see this recognition, they are then inspired to give at higher levels to get their own ego moment. As a side benefit to this strategy, having the board and committee members visible creates more enthusiasm for giving due to their personal contact with many guests in the room.


A great paddle raise educates your audience on your mission throughout the process, uniting existing donors alongside new supporters in giving at the highest possible level. There are several ways to accomplish this, like conducting the paddle raise before the live auction, just after the first speaker, which allows the 40% of your audience who don’t participate in the live auction to give right away, instead of waiting 30 to 45 minutes before being asked to give. There are numerous other benefits to the strategy, ask us for more information.


Matching funds are a powerful way to inspire event night giving because no one likes to leave money on the table, but larger matching gifts can be difficult to secure. In most situations an appropriate match would be 50% of the overall live auction and paddle goal. If that’s not possible, smaller matches can be leveraged at a specific dollar level. For example, if your goal was $100,000 and you had a match at $25,000, we would announce the match at the $2,500 level and seek a minimum of 10 donors to earn the match, etc. Using this matching funds strategy, you will engage and inspire donors at slightly higher levels than they’d planned.

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