Funding A Special Need
With any auction lies the opportunity to create an additional stream of funds towards a certain need or cause. This is called a Special Pledge, aka Fund a Need, and can be used to draw in additional money without having to sell any items.
What is a Special Pledge?
A Special Pledge is a segment incorporated into an auction that asks the crowd to donate money for a specific reason. These donations will be used for a specific, often charitable cause without any tangible or intangible items given in return.
Special Pledge can be a great way to help an event meet its financial goals. Conceptually it may sound difficult since you are asking people to donate their money and not receive anything. However, when executed in the correct way donors will feel encouraged to contribute and satisfied they aided a cause.
What Can a Special Pledge be Used for?
A Special Pledge may not be right for every event, but if your auction will benefit from having one – and the purpose of the Pledge is credible and suitable – then it can be extremely profitable.
Examples of Special Pledges:
- Asking for donations to fund a Police Force or Fire Station
- Asking for donations to pay for medical expenses for a sick child
- Asking for donations to pay for a Hospital’s medical research
- Asking for donations for a charity or event
- Asking for donations for a homeless shelter
- Asking for donations to buy textbooks for a school
Who should run the Special Pledge?
An experienced auctioneer should be the spokesperson at any event. They will know how to smoothly incorporate a Special Pledge into an auction.
Specifically for the pledge it’s beneficial to have someone associated with the cause provide details to the crowd. For example, if the Special Pledge is being used to donate money to a school then the Principal or other administrator should prepare a speech and explain what the school needs (i.e. better grades from the students) and what the money will be used for (to buy textbooks for the kids).
The experienced auctioneer will take over when the person finishes and can begin requesting donations.
When should a Special Pledge begin?
This is subjective and should be planned prior to the event.
For most auctions, especially when utilizing the Bell Curve Method, the best time to begin a Special Pledge is near the middle or middle-end of the event.
If you start it at the beginning people may be confused as to what is going on or simply not ready to spend much money. Conversely if you put it at the end of an auction people may have exceeded their spending limit and will be unable to contribute.
The middle of the auction is a good time to start the Special Pledge because bidding has started and people are more comfortable and engaged. The excitement of the auction can be re-focused on the Special Pledge to increase people’s interest.
A Special Fund is a useful way to generate a supplemental flow of money. When planned, organized and delivered correctly it will be something you’ll want to include at all your auctions.