We have all seen it: fundraising events run by committees of volunteers who are committed to the cause, but do not understand the dynamics of running a large event. Usually, in an effort to honor a chairperson, one of the committee members is chosen to also be the Master of Ceremonies and speak on the microphone throughout the night. While this can be a successful choice if the speaker is a seasoned crowd-pleaser, the choice of having an amateur speaker can also bring confusion, tedium and ultimately negatively impact the bottom line of a fundraising event.
Most fundraisers have a similar format: dinner during a silent auction of donated items followed by entertainment (usually dancing to a DJ). Occasionally, there is also the addition of a casino night for faux gambling with an effort to win prizes. Door prizes with numbered tickets are also a popular choice. But what else can be done to enhance a night and how can it be cost-justified?
The first thing to know is that a seasoned DJ & MC can act as your A/V person and technical advisor when in the planning stages of the event. As a veteran of literally thousands of events in my entertainment career, I have seen a lot of options on how to “flow” an event. There are also numerous ways that a DJ with Video Screens can help enhance quality sponsorship and properly honor those that need to be recognized during the event. It is best to have these things planned before the donated items even are solicited. A benefactor is a lot more likely to donate a quality item if they know their name/face/logo/brand/company message is going to be on 10 foot video screens in front of hundreds of people. Preparation in this matter is key.
A good MC can also act as a pseudo “auctioneer” to help spark interest in certain items. One common technique is to call out to the audience to “sponsor” a specific event, person, project, etc. The Master Of Ceremonies can continue solicitations until a financial goal is met. This alone will usually pay for the level of service a true professional DJ & MC will bring to an event.
Of course, having an entertaining theme and a person who can play the right types of music to energize your audience is crucial to a successful night. This is even more important if a fundraiser is intended to be an annual event. Woe to the annual fundraiser committee who follows the year after a dud-DJ was hired! It is very difficult to get your audience back into a giving mood once they have been burned by a poor quality entertainer. Remember, the best professionals always bring more value than you will ever pay them.