The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Guilds

GA Staff Tips for Success

Bonus Habit #8: Use Guild Association staff as a resource! Guild Association staff can offer tips to maximize your fundraising, review your event materials, help you identify a speaker for your event and much more! Email or call 206-987-2153.

The Guild Association recently asked a few guild members to tell us what makes them effective fundraisers. With their answers, we've put together this list of tips:

1. Value your top asset: your members

What's more important than donated wine and a great venue? Your guild members! Valuing your guild members and their contributions of time, talent and energy is the best way to ensure a successful fundraiser. 

"We work very hard to make sure every guild member has a great experience volunteering," says Mateo Messina, founder of the Symphony Guild. "We look for what inspires people and then match their interests and passions with our fundraising needs."

Messina adds: "Volunteering is a gift. Say 'thank you' when someone makes a great flyer or procures an auction item. Guild members are absolutely the most important part of your guild's fundraising success."

2. Cultivate your donors and guests

Keep accurate records of which guests are new to your event and which guests consistently raise their paddles and reserve full tables for their friends. With this information, you can reach out to them throughout the year. Send save-the-dates with personal notes, ask for feedback and promptly send accurate thank-you letters or receipts.

3. Plan. Plan. Plan.

Then delegate, delegate, delegate. One way to share the workload is to form a steering committee for your event or project. With a steering committee, members in addition to your guild's officers can take on event leadership roles.

4. Know your audience

What kinds of auction items were most popular in your last live auction? What price point will be appropriate for the guaranteed bid in your next silent auction? How much food and wine do you need? How long will people be comfortable sitting down during a program? Knowing these and other facts about your audience will help you plan an event that maximizes both fun and fundraising.

5. Share a compelling patient story

Patients and their families tell the Seattle Children's story better than anyone else, and they can help inspire additional giving at your event. Invite a patient's family to speak at your event or share a video. Contact the Guild Association to identify a speaker who would be a good fit for your event.

6. Study your previous year

Review the financials from your guild's last event: What aspects were most profitable? Did your silent auction generate more revenue than your live auction? Did a dessert dash add extra revenue without increasing expenses? Consider expanding areas of your event that were most profitable and minimizing or eliminating areas that were least profitable.

7. Attend or volunteer at other events

Attending or volunteering at other guild events - or any special event - can give you great ideas for your own fundraising efforts. Attend with your fellow guild members and then get together afterward to discuss what new ideas you'd like to incorporate in your guild's event.