As you think of different ways that your organization can raise money at your live-in person auction, you may consider adding a Paddle Up portion to your event, where you invite attendees to give at specified giving levels. This is a great way to involve all attendees in reaching your event fundraising goal.
What is a Paddle Up?
A Paddle Up asks donors to raise their paddle to donate a specific amount of money to support your organization as a whole or a specific need within your organization. Paddle Ups commonly request donations on a scale of varying giving levels. This ensures that donors of varying financial means can donate within their reach. There is no limit to the number of donors who can donate at any level.
Paddle Ups may also be referred to as a Paddle Raise, Fund-a-Need, or Fund-a-Cause.
Set-up Tips and Best Practices
Step 1: Create your giving levels
- Create 4-7 different giving levels to give all donors the opportunity to donate.
- Set your highest giving level, your lowest giving level, and then set 3-5 giving levels in between.
- In addition, you can create an “other” or “give what you want” option for donors who have their own fixed donation amount in mind.
Step 2: Associate a need to each giving level
- Donors like to feel that their donation is going to make a difference. By attaching a specific need to each giving level your donors can see the impact of their contribution.
Step 3: Keep your presentation short
- Begin your Paddle Up or Fund-a-Need event with a short video or presentation under three minutes. A board member, past/current recipient, or a stakeholder should explain what the need is and why it is important.
Step 4: Schedule your Paddle up or Fund-a-Need event
- Time your paddle up or fund-a-need event, so you have the most people engaged.
- Your fundraising event may suffer if you run it while other activities are taking place. To ensure you have everyone’s attention, wait until meals have been served, games have been played, and your live auction items are closed, to host your paddle up or fund-a-need event.
Step 5: Record your donations
Option 1 – Record donations through the Donate Now feature on your auction homepage
- If you have create a Paddle Up Leaderboard and plan on displaying it during your paddle up or Fund-a-Need event, you need to have donors give through the Donate Now option on your auction homepage rather than use Quick Sales. Only donors that donated through the Donate Now option will appear on the Leaderboard.
Helpful Hint! Make sure to set your Donate Now giving levels to match the giving levels for your paddle up or fund-a-need event. Please note that you can implement 4 custom giving levels under Event>Web Site> Donate Now. Your supporters will also have the option to determine their own donation amount by selecting Other.
- Before your paddle up begins you can use the Event Messaging feature to send out the donate now URL and let attendees know that the paddle up event is beginning soon.
- The presenter will call out a giving level and briefly discuss the need associated with that giving level and as attendees donate, depending on how you set up your paddle up leaderboard, their name and donation amount will display on the projector.
Important Information! If you are using this option, your attendees will use their mobile devices to participate, therefore a paddle with their bidder number is not required to participate.
Option 2 – Record donations as Quick Sales
- Before your live event, add your giving levels as preset Quick Sale items.
- When your paddle up or fund-a-need event begins, tell donors to keep their paddles raised until they are instructed to lower them.
- After the presenter calls out a giving level and briefly discusses the need or cause associated with that giving level, have them read each donor’s paddle number over the microphone while a volunteer(s) records each donor’s paddle number.
- Once the paddle up or fund-a-need is over, have a volunteer enter each donation as a Quick Sale.
If paddle raise fund-a-needs are entered into the system as a quick sale they will not be tax deductible.
To have your fund-a-need paddle raise associated as a tax deductible sale, it will need to be entered into the system using the donate now button and paddle raise leaderboard or as an offline donation.
Do not forget that donors, bidders, and ticket purchasers are not charged automatically! Make sure to read our close out article which will walk you through the close out procedures and charging your supporters.