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Auction Planning

How to Attract Younger Audiences to Your Fundraising Event

When it comes to fundraising events, it simply makes sense to only invite people that have the funds to donate to your cause. That’s the point of your event, right? To make money!

But that’s where some events fall short. They care about how much money they make on this event, that they fail to see how inviting millennials and young attendees can help future events.

Millennials and younger audiences don’t want to be donors. Instead, they want to be a part of a fundraiser. They want to mobilize their community to make a larger impact. The event managers that can tap into this generation will ensure their event’s success, but only if they can keep them coming back each year.

Here are a few ways that you can attract younger audiences to your silent auction or fundraising event.

It Might Start with Volunteering

There’s no denying that millennials are giving back to their community. According to recent studies and surveys, younger people are leading the way for social change. They are more likely to support sustainable businesses, and are more likely to work more volunteer hours than older generations.

For this reason, your young event audience might simply start with a volunteer program. At the end of your event, ask your young volunteers to do so again next year, and then guide them to grow more involved.

Consider Crowd-Funding at Your Event

Young people might not have a lot of disposable income, but they do know other young people. Understanding that millennials are more likely to donate, that they’re the largest current generation in overall size, and they’re likely to have the largest spending power of any generation at the end of 2018.

Thus, millennials can bring other millennials, which can bring more and more younger people to your event over time. Help drive interest in your event with items that you know they’ll be interested in, or consider creating some kind of overall fund. Remember, younger audiences want to support a Cause, not an organization. Give people from all kinds of financial backgrounds the option to donate because you want to feel like they can contribute at any level.

The best way to include millennials is to sell them on your story. Why are you raising money? Help illustrate this in your auction items, and ensure that you have items they’ll be interested in. Start the bidding at an aggressively low price to get them bidding, and to get their competitive juices flowing. They know how to use all kinds of mobile apps, so it’s up to you to create your silent auction in a way to keep them engaged.

Don’t Assume That “Seeing” Your Social Media Posts is Enough

We’ve found that a shotgun approach to social media promotion is often ineffective. Just sharing your content on Facebook or Twitter isn’t enough.

Encourage your own staff to post about your event on their personal accounts, if they have them. Get volunteers to share why your cause is important for them, or how they got involved. This authentic social media strategy will get many more people involved than other methods.

Encourage Their Participation

It’s critical to encourage the participation of both youngers staff members and younger guests. If you don’t, you might be the reason why they fail to return to your next event.

For your guests and donors, look for people that need a little ‘push.’ Introduce them to your friends, or to others that you know. Ask if they’ve placed a bid on an item or if they saw anything they liked.

For your volunteers, encourage new ideas and fresh perspectives. Volunteers often turn into some of the most consistent donors.

Last thing: don’t forget your donors after they give. Young people are notorious for expecting high-quality service everywhere. If you send them email after email asking for a donation, it’s essential to thank them for their donation once it’s received.

Young People Know More Young People

This isn’t a revolutionary – if you want to invite younger audiences, you have to start with a few and work your way up. Once you find these pockets of passionate and engaged millennials, ask them to bring some of their friends to your event.

Asking them to refer their friends might seem like it’s taking advantage of their personal network, but it’s completely up to them. If your young volunteers or guests want to invite their friends because it’s a cause they can all get behind, encourage them to do so!

Take caution not to push them too hard, or you’ll risk losing them.

Keep Your Event Fun!

One of the biggest challenges of attracting millennials is retaining them. This generation can be impulsive, and what interests them one day might not interest them in future weeks. Use creative event themes, cater great food, have plenty of activities and games to keep people engaged.

Don’t forget that a silent auction can compliment nearly any fundraising event theme, and it keeps your guests involved in fundraising all while increasing your potential event revenue. And when looking for silent auction providers, consider Handbid.

There’s a reason why organizations like the Monumental Sports & Entertainment Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and the Boys and Girls Club of America trust us with their silent auctions needs. Click here to learn more about our platform.

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