Optimal Onstage Optics

Amy Phillips

Optimal Onstage Optics

Ever drawn a parallel between fundraising and mental health and/or addiction? We hadn’t either. That is, until we learned about culturally-specific mental health and/or addiction services. In this approach, you’re treated by someone who looks like you, understands your culture and traditions, and then integrates it into your care. We like the idea of applying these principles to your fundraising strategy – especially in live in-person and virtual events. When donors feel a genuine connection, they respond – by giving more generously! Read on for things to consider to provide your guests optimal onstage optics.

Who’s On Stage?

Do the folks who are front and center at your event – the emcee, auctioneer, guest speakers – reflect the equity, diversity and inclusion your mission promotes? It matters – A LOT – whom you select to represent you on stage. They are your mission ambassadors, after all. Guests and viewers learn a lot about you and your org based on this one simple thing, so keep it at the forefront of your mind when deciding who takes the mic. Ambassadors who are familiar with your mission, and take the time to learn the ins and outs of your particular org, will end up sounding more trustworthy and believable. Plus, they’ll be better equipped to speak your language – in an authentic and mission-specific way.

Authentic Language 

Can the folks representing your org on stage speak your language? We’re not just talking mission language – we’re talking native tongues as well. If you’re raising money for a group serving primarily Hispanics, for example, a bilingual emcee and/or auctioneer provides authentic representation and perhaps shared experiences; therefore, they’ll truly empathize with your mission and connect with your guests on a deeper, more genuine level. Need some authentic representation for your upcoming event? We have both bilingual auctioneers and emcees on staff, and they’re amazing – reach out!

Mission Language

As for that mission language we’ve been alluding to – make sure your on-air and on-stage talent speak it fluently, as well. Choose ambassadors who KNOW your mission intimately and CARE about it deeply. Choose ambassadors: auctioneers and emcees who do their homework, take the time to learn about your org, what you do and why you do it. Select fundraising specialists who carefully pore over every word of the script, if they haven’t written it themselves. You’ve heard that old adage, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” Powerful words compel donors to give. We often hear folks say they gave even more than they planned to, after they were moved by a well-told story about someone whose life is improved, thanks to the work you and your org are doing. And THAT, friends, is WINNING!

Ditch the “Because We’ve Always Done It This Way” Mentality

We’re big believers in innovation around here. Good thing too – otherwise we would no longer be in business! Our fundraising model was based on raising money at live in-person events. When the pandemic put paid to that, we had to come up with something else if we were to stay afloat and serve our clients. So we pivoted to virtual fundraising events. They WORKED! We got to thinking, could we innovate virtual as well, to keep improving them? Yes! Or perhaps alter events for the folks who may not be comfortable in large groups (even when it’s safe and legal)? So we came up with Fusion Fundraisers – a blend of in-person and virtual. An amalgamated gala, if you will. Each version is unique and tailored for its specific audience, but there are shared components, as well. Call it the best of both worlds. In the age of technology, we consider innovation essential. Keep pushing the envelope. It pays. 

We’re still data-driven and we’re still disruptors, committed to disrupting an established business model – that of the auction industry as a good ol’ boys club. Fewer than 16% of auctioneers are women and fewer than 5% are people of color or from underrepresented populations. EVERY single one of our auctioneers represents a minority or an underrepresented group. Many of our partners serve diverse populations and we represent them authentically. We think that’s important. And rare.

You know what else we consider essential? Your onstage optics! Consider them carefully and you will generate more revenue while demonstrating your core values in action. Reach out – let’s explore what else we can innovate together! Ready?

Vivacious Visuals