Raising More Paddles

Raising More Paddles & More Funds at Your In-Person Events

simplify + modernize + monetize

It’s no secret that giving is growing. More individuals are making monetary contributions to causes they’re passionate about than ever before1. But here’s the secret. Raising money is all about in-person events. Nearly 90 percent of people donating to nonprofits prefer to give in person at events2; even millennials prefer in-person giving3! So, let’s talk about how to get the most out of your in-person fundraising events.



From the planning stages through the event itself, keeping things simple is key.

Before the event

  • Define your event’s purpose
  • Set financial goals and create an expense budget
  • Stay within your comfort zone, from the scale of the event to the location
  • Mobilize staff and volunteers
  • Set up the event page with information like save-the-date details, sponsorship info, advance donations and matching gifts

During the event
Beyond the logistics of organizing the event, you’ll want to be sure to simply and clearly define your goals and objectives during the event itself.

  • How many new and returning guests and sponsors are you expecting?
  • What are your financial goals for each audience? Be sure to increase your goal from previous years. You may fall short, but you’ll never know until you ask.
  • Do you have designated staff and board members in place to engage with your guests? Volunteers, board members and staff should be ready to discuss the organization’s mission or share a story of how they’ve personally been affected by your nonprofit.



Excel spreadsheets can only take you so far, and let’s be honest, managing them can be a headache you just don’t have time for. Take your event to the next level by utilizing more modern applications that allow you to streamline processes for both your staff & volunteers, and guests.

Customer relationship management (CRM)
We recently partnered with Kindful to provide our clients with seamless integration between their myRollCall event management and a top-of-the-line CRM platform. With all your guest info and event details in one place, you can create reports, see giving history and make follow-up communication a breeze!

Mobile devices are becoming the go-to device for more and more people. Ensuring your event is mobile-friendly is crucial for guest satisfaction and giving, and can increase giving by 125 percent4! You can’t afford NOT to go mobile. Keep in mind, this doesn’t necessarily mean a designated app for your event, just a mobile friendly site or landing page for your guests.

Go mobile-friendly before the event for:

  • Easy-to-use, multi-level ticketing and registration
  • One-time and monthly giving options or membership signup
  • Sponsorship signup and management
  • Ability to share the event across social networks, as well as email and text
  • “Store” management: auctions, paddle raise levels, raffle tickets, etc.

Modernize further and utilize a robust day-of-event mobile app like myRollCall so your team can stay organized to avoid any hiccups. Consider the benefits for your staff and volunteers for going mobile at your next event:

  • Clearly assigned roles and responsibilities for each staff or board member and volunteer;
  • Easy check-in and check-out. Imagine replacing rows of laptops and printers organized alphabetically with a few strategically placed iPads that allow guests to check-in anywhere; and
  • The convenience of mobile giving and collections. Volunteers are able to accept donations directly from guests!

The myRollCall platform also makes post-event delegation simple with financial reporting and tracking, including: vendor payments & disbursements, sponsorships & donors, ticket sales & gifts, and fees & payouts.



There are, of course, many ways to raise funds both before and during your event. We’re all familiar with sponsorship packages, individual tickets, pre-event gifting options, raffle tickets, and live and silent auctions. But, perhaps the most effective way to raise funds is through a special appeal (usually by having a paddle raise or an oral auction) during the event itself.

Graphic courtesy of Swaim Strategies, 2016.

The special appeal should include three key components: the story, the ask, and the collection.

The story

Storytelling becomes an important part of in-person fundraising events. Stories are how we learn, how we connect to one another. They create an emotional resonance and tug at the heartstrings. Spotlighting someone who’s benefitted from your organization and sharing their story in a compelling way (often a video) primes your guests for the ask.

The ask

Rather than having your executive director or development director ask for the funds, have the person whose story you’re sharing come to the stage and ask your guests directly. Maintaining the personal connection to the nonprofit’s mission and putting a face to the cause is a great way to engage your audience and make ‘em cry (in a good way, of course).

The collection

Once the ask has been made, watch the money roll in! Providing donation envelopes or giving cards on each table are a couple of ways to provide a passive giving option for your guests. But what’s better than passive giving? Active giving, of course! The more active the giving, the more money raised! A simple raising of paddles is often the best way to excite and engage your guests. Even better for them, they get to be seen giving.

Events are an incredibly powerful tool in your nonprofit arsenal. They allow you to gather your donor base under one roof, connect with them through the organization’s mission, and engage them through auctions, storytelling and interactions with board members and beneficiaries.

Luckily for you, nonprofit giving from individuals in the US is more than $265B! The audience is there and ripe for the picking. Meet them where they are and keep things simple, modern and monetized to ensure your next fundraising event is a smashing success and exceeds last year’s goals.

At myRollCall, we live to assist nonprofits in hosting successful events. If you’d like to discuss your 2018 events and financial goals, please don’t hesitate to reach out to info@myrollcall.com.

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1 2016 Giving USA – Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University
2 Chronicle of Philanthropy 2015
3 Salesforce.org, 2016 Connected Nonprofit Report
4 DonorDrive, 2016
5 2016 Giving USA – Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University