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Tips for Success

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Does Your Guild “Leave Money on the Table?”

We know that every guild wants to raise as much money as possible for Seattle Children’s. Review these helpful tips from fellow guild members to ensure that your guild isn’t “leaving money on the table” at its event.

1. Make the most of your invitation

First, make sure your invitation gets opened! Consider hand-addressing them and including your name in the return address block. Give people the opportunity to make direct donations as well, via an “I can’t attend, but I’ll donate” option. As you manage your mailing list, make note of which respondents made direct donations, and keep them on the list for next year.

2. Plan to accommodate late RSVPs

Work with your venue and caterer in advance to assure that you can welcome guests after your registration deadline. Most caterers can do this without added costs. Also, consider your last event’s “no-show” rate as you accept additional registrations. Plan ahead for walk-ins by asking guild members if they would be willing to give up their seats. It may be an inconvenience, but it also means potential revenue from a guest’s ticket, raise-the-paddle and purchase of auction items or raffle tickets – for this and future years.

3. Always use Quick Check

Quick Check allows guests to securely scan their credit cards at registration prior to making any purchases or donations. Because payment is made in advance, receipts and auction items can be delivered during the event, which means guests can avoid waiting in line at the end of the event. The easier it is for guests to purchase and donate, the better!

4. Roll out the welcome wagon

As soon as guests arrive, make sure they feel welcome – and that they know exactly where their opportunities are to contribute. Encourage volunteers at your event’s registration tables to act as hosts and to share event details with guests – where to get a drink, how to buy a raffle ticket and when the silent auction closes.

5. Price it right

Make sure you set the right opening bid, bid increments and guaranteed bids for your silent auction items. Good rules of thumb are that the opening bid should be set at 20% of an item’s fair-market value and that the guaranteed bid should be double the fair-market value. Bid increments should increase in approximately 10% steps. Be flexible with these formulas as you create your bid sheet, and do what makes the most sense for the item. Always have a few guild members review the bid sheets to make sure the bid amounts are appropriate for the audience.

6. Review your raise-the-paddle levels

Do you skip a level in your raise-the-paddle? Should you skip a level? Review your prior year’s raise-the-paddle results and consider revising your levels. When choosing your top level, you should feel fairly certain that someone will raise at that level. To maximize participation, add a specific focus to a new level – for example, add a $25 level (the cost of a bag of groceries) for benefit of the Social Work Department’s Emergency Patient Assistance Fund to support this year’s all-guild heartwarming drive. Many guests who have already raised their paddles may do so again for a specific focus.

7. Add a “dash” or “frenzy” to your live auction

Ask guild members to procure a variety of desserts and add a “dessert dash” to your live auction. The Imagine Guild included a dessert dash in their event that raised an additional $2,000 – and saved money on catering. Invite guild members to donate or procure gift cards throughout the year and ask your auctioneer to conduct a “gift card frenzy.” During a gift card frenzy, the auctioneer rapidly auctions gift cards off, one after another, starting at their exact value. You may be surprised by how many sell for above value!

8. Contact the Guild Association for help!

Guild Association staff members can help you strategize ways to maximize your guild’s fundraising efforts.

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