The Case for Not Doing Fund a Need Last

The Case for Not Doing Fund a Need Last

A successful fund a need is a magic moment. The auction stops, the crowd quiets, an emotional story is told, and then BOOM! The whole crowd is swept up in an avalanche of pledges that brings everyone together in support of a common cause.

It is the emotional cornerstone of the evening; it is inspiring, it is rewarding, and it raises more money than any other single item in the auction. It also means that anything that comes after a fund a need is automatically challenged by comparison.

How could a single lot measure up to such an outpouring of support? Why not end on that massive upswell of support and have that be the grand finale for the evening?

There are a number of compelling reasons not to do the fund a need last, chief among them is that it is important for that moment to happen when the room is full and everyone is ready for it. Putting a fund a need at the end of a long auction could jeopardize its success.

What constitutes a “long auction” is open to debate, especially in these days of ever-shrinking live auctions. I personally set that over/under at 10. Making a crowd sit through more than 30 minutes of auction before getting to the fund a need can be dangerous. Especially if your crowd is prone to leaving before the auction is finished.

There is another compelling reason to put the fund a need in the middle of your auction: the auction and the fund a need serve two different segments of your crowd. The majority of people who bid on auction items will not contribute at the high end of your fund a need. The vast majority of people who contribute to your fund a need will not bid on a single item in the auction.

Embrace the success of your fund a need, and allow it to happen in the middle of your auction. It won’t have the same sense of closure that doing it last might, but it will be more successful. And that, ultimately, is the goal.

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