The Magic of a Magnificent Emcee

Amy Phillips

The Magic of a Magnificent Emcee

A great smart emcee is worth the expense. Every. Time.

Should you hire a professional emcee for your event? Maybe you’re thinking, No, I’ll save money and find a volunteer to fill that role. A board member. Your Executive Director. They’ll do a fine job.  And they might – but, as we all too often find, they might not. Many volunteer emcees fall flat due to a variety of reasons. The most common ones? A lack of experience onstage pivoting with live event or gala craziness, delivering haphazard messaging, and not engaging the crowd. Here are a few good reasons why hiring a pro for your fundraising event is a very smart choice.

Keep Donors Engaged

We’ve said it before and we’re saying it again – a bored crowd is disengaged – therefore, rarely generous. Donors will never be bored with a fabulous emcee at the helm. A smart emcee will understand the importance of pacing and momentum and work hard to keep the live program on time, on topic, and donors on board. They are there specifically to host and enhance the overall guest experience. They can do anything from getting guests to where they need to be, making them laugh, to ushering speakers on and off stage, to delivering succinct mission language and concise education with flair. The more fun your guests have, the more likely they are to support your cause. And talk about what a great time they had for weeks after! Word-of-mouth publicity is invaluable.

Mission Ambassadors

A professional smart emcee is an ambassador of your organization much like a board member or an ED might be. Find one who represents and upholds your mission’s values so as to authentically represent your work. They act as the face (and voice!) of your event and play the role of host/ess, welcoming guests into their own space. They bring fresh perspective and energy. And good ones bring the fun, too. They can be playful, deadly serious, and commanding all at the same time. And if you’re really lucky, they can also be true entertainers – singing, dancing, being creative with your mission in mind. 


Let’s face it – live events can and do go wrong – VERY wrong – sometimes. No matter how much time you’ve spent planning every detail, stuff happens. And when it does, only a pro can salvage the night. Professionals are flexible and can pivot – turning crazy and potentially disastrous hiccups into something memorable. We’ve witnessed a smart emcee work their magic on a technical AV error – taking what could have been at best, embarrassing, and at worst, horribly detrimental to fundraising – and turn it into an unscripted miracle moment of impact and action. (We’d never advocate for technical glitches in your program, of course – but think of the peace of mind you’ll enjoy, knowing that if something were to go wrong, the night isn’t completely ruined?!)


As the word implies, a pro is also professional. This is their job and they take your event success very seriously. Pros will schedule long in advance, clearly communicate with you, set clear expectations, deliver the services they are contracted to, arrive on time, dress appropriately, stay sober…the list goes on and on. Do you really want to risk your event’s success on an unknown? We don’t advise it. 

Now What?

So what should you do now? Shakedown your network. Attend all the events. And determine who locally is rocking the emcee world. Meet and get to know them. Appreciate their work. And then put them to work at your next event and enjoy the ride. 

You can always give us a call as well. We have an extensive list of emcees we love working with and highly recommend. In addition, EVERY single one of our nine auctioneers also serves as professional emcees when not busy fundraising. Every. Single. One. We also boast emcee services from the ever-entertaining (singing, dancing, lyricist) professional emcees Amanda Valley and the righteous, bilingual Roberto Suarez.

Call us. Let’s chat!

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