The New “IT ” Days in Fundraising

Who knew Thursdays and Sundays are the new “IT” days in Fundraising?


Right here in the middle of gala season, nonprofit organizations are approaching us about how they simply must schedule their fundraising events on Saturdays.  However, at the peak of gala season you may find not just one, but several fundraisers competing for the same dollars you are that very same night.  Why make it so hard for your donors to choose, and for your nonprofit to secure the right auction talent?

May I suggest a solution?  We advise our clients to take a serious look at Thursday or Sunday nights.  Here are the top three advantages that are worthy of your consideration: 

  1. The chance that you’ll be competing with a like organization on the same night is significantly reduced.
  2. You have your supporters where you need them…in town!  While weekend events compete with other events, out-of-town jaunts, weddings and any number of other possibilities, YOU have them to yourself on Thursday or Sunday night.  (Even babysitters are more available on weeknights).  
  3. Many event venues have less expensive rates on weeknights and Sundays.  You’ll save money!

We recently moved a Saturday gala to a Thursday night.  Results?  They had increased attendance, increased revenue across the board and reduced overhead.  Happy client!


You do have to tighten things up.  Being a work/school night you need to have a timeline focused on a shorter window of opportunity to get to your desired results.  Reduce the number of speeches, and of course no long speeches, expedient valet services, and well-trained clerks to assure efficient check-in/check-out.

Truly, the people we saw in the room this past week were the same people that we see at Saturday night galas with bigger smiles. They even spent as much money and in some cases more.  One couple told me as they were going out the door, “Look at this, we’re done!  It’s only 9:00 p.m. – we had a blast and WE STILL HAVE OUR WEEKEND”!


Give us a call and let’s get you in the “IT” crowd!

Yvonne Pope, Director of Nonprofit Events – (205-936-1403)







Birmingham’s “Bob Barker” By Robert Hinds

Birmingham’s “Bob Barker” 
By Robert Hinds

Birmingham, Alabama has a Bob Barker.


He is not as tall as the one most folks know, or as thin, for that matter. He has the same hair color as the T.V. icon, yet is younger. Both begin their show by saying ” what is your bid?” And both are very good at what they do. The one in Birmingham does not have a bevy of beauties like the one on the Price is Right, but he does have a staff of bid assistants that put on a good show for charity fundraisers.

B’ham’s Bob is Jack Granger of Granger, Thagard Auctioneers.  

Going once, going twice

This past fall, I attended two charity fundraisers, one for Children’s Hospital and the other for the Birmingham Museum. My significant other had purchased the tickets and convinced me that a good time was to be had. I was not so sure. It was cold and besides football was on TV.

The food was good at both events though I couldn’t tell you what I ate. However, I do remember watching some great entertainment as highly charged bidders tried to prove they could outbid the other. I was experiencing a professionally conducted charity auction fundraiser. B’ham Bob was in charge and he was “the barker”.

Last week I called Jack to ask him a few questions as I prepared this article. When asked about putting on the auction show, he quickly told me that he has the best seat in the house because he is watching the bidders and that’s where the action really takes place.

“For the last eighteen years, we have helped quite a few charities raise some significant funds. The past five years we have created seminars and “boot camps” for the staffs of the charities to help them learn more about auction psychology and therefore make more money at their events. Some groups catch on faster than others and follow our lead on helping orchestrate the silent and live auctions. Those groups that will accept that leadership seem to move their event to the next level”, Granger stated.

“Our auction company sells millions of dollars of real estate and significant assets each year. We are trained at selling in a very short time frame and maximizing buyer’s egos, testosterone/estrogen, and competitive juices. Many well-intentioned charities still look at the auction part of the night as a place for a good-natured volunteer to stand up and attempt to run the auction. It amazes me that the food at these events is prepared by a pro and the event is held in a professionally run ballroom, but the true business of the night, the fund raising auction can be left to “hit or miss”.

“I suppose it’s a good thing that our staff makes it look easy,” he continued.

Charity function attendees in this area get an education on the difference between a well run silent auction and an entertaining live auction. Auctions are the staple of raising much needed money.

“We got Tiger Woods laughing so hard at his auction here in Birmingham a few years back, that his dad invited us to Vegas for his big event at Mandalay Bay. His dad told us that our floor show would play well for the auction at Tiger’s event.”

“We do charge an honorarium for our service, but it is minimal. Often the budget for the floral arrangements is many times the cost of our service and floral arrangements, as nice as they may look, do not make money for the event. The auctioneer is the only part of the evening that more than pays for itself.”

“Amateur efforts at conducting the auctions may actually cost the charities. The missed opportunities to maximize through professional recruitment of bids, can diminish the months hard work by the charities’ staff. The real success comes from the boot camps that erase myths on how auctions are conducted and a chance to break the bad habits that get repeated in an annual event. Most groups do an event once a year and can be subject to “reinvent the wheel” every year. This past year we did twenty-four events and have averaged 12 to 20 events for many years. It gets easy to diagnose the problems after a while.”

“Our staff knows that helping at these events is giving back to the community. It is a good proposition for the non-profits to have our service and the public relations is good for our firm.”


As we hung up from the call, Jack told me he would be watching for me at the next auction. He said, “You put your hand up (to bid), I’ll tell you when to put it down. Bring the checkbook.”

When told that his article was about Bob Barker, Jack said that his high school yearbook had him as “Most Likely” to be a game show host and that he had gotten an autographed picture of Bob Barker years ago.

Bob Barker, your replacement is in Birmingham. I think Jack will bid for your job and I am pretty sure he will trade his staff for yours.

For your next fundraiser visit our website: Granger Thagard Charity Auctions

Or give Jack a call (205) 326-0833

How to put the “VIP” into your next Fundraiser


Your fundraiser is almost here…you’ve spent months planning what you expect to be your most fun and successful event to date!

You’ve got a great theme, a crackerjack committee, a stunning venue, THE BEST AUCTIONEER COMPANY, GRANGER, THAGARD & ASSOCIATES AND killer live auction items. You’re hoping to raise a lot of money for your cause. And you are hoping, hoping, that your major prospects will say “yes” to the invitation and will come.

How do you get the “right people” to walk in the door? You really want them to come for many reasons:

  • You want to cultivate their interest, lasting affiliation and participation with your cause.
  • You want to build closer relationships with them.
  • You want them to see your organization at its best.

Roll out the Red Carpet!  

VIP Red Carpet

Here are 5 strategies you can use to be sure your VIPs actually walk in the door.

  1. Put some of your VIPs on the committee. If they are on the committee, then they will already be invested in the party and its success. Even better, they’ll bring their friends.
  2. Honor one of the VIPs at the event.They will certainly come then and they’ll bring their friends and family.
  3. Put your VIPs names on the invitation as “honorary hosts.”They will feel a stronger tie to the event and will have a vested interest in its success.  If your VIPs are major donors, ask them if you can list their names as major donors in a special spot on the invitation.

I did this many times during my tenure as a director for a nonprofit.  It worked.  I called all our donors at the $2,000 and up level and asked them if I could list their names on the invitation as part of the “Host Committee”. They were flattered to be recognized and it gave the nonprofit a wonderful cultivation and retention opportunity.

  1. Hold a private reception for your VIPs before the main event begins. This will really get them there.

Here’s my favorite strategy of all:

  1. CALL THEM, GO PICK THEM UP and bring them to the party!Some of your VIPs may not want to go out alone at night. They may not have an escort and not want to go alone. They may be socially shy and unsure of who they will talk to or sit with. So, here’s what you do:

Call them ahead of time and tell them you have a special table for them. Tell them you want to introduce them to some influential, interesting, nice people.

And then go pick them up in a party van or limo. It really, really works! And it’s an excellent cultivation and retention opportunity. You can show them extra attention and let them know they are important.

Granger, Thagard & Associates puts the FUN IN FUNDRAISING!

2019 is booking fast – give me a call today!

Yvonne Pope, Director of Nonprofit Events

Visit our Website for more info: Granger Thagard Benefit Auctions

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