Donation Appeal Best Practices

Maximize revenue during the fundraising by including monetary donation opportunities for users.  These can be different specific needs, or donations for one overall campaigns. Allow users who don’t bid on or win auction items to still participate and give to the organization in a meaningful way.

Run a donation campaign


A specific need is the foundation of every donation appeal. The need should be well defined and accessible. Reveal one overall need or specify several specific needs based on each level of giving you offer (i.e. “A $500 gift helps provide one year of school lunches for a child in need”).


Capture donor's emotional support as well as financial. Donors want to feel involved. Begin the appeal with a video, testimony, or presentation that explains or supports the need.  Add a description, images, and/or a video to specific donate items. 


Following the presentation, a speaker should introduce the campaign. This speaker should be directly involved in the cause and their address should be concise.


Once the introduction is complete, an auctioneer/emcee should direct and accept donations. This process should be simple, energetic, and fun.  Prep the auctioneer in advance by creating a user account for them and letting them practice the donation process. 


Arrange the program so the donation campaign precedes the live auction. GiveSmart has found that if a live auction takes place before a donation appeal, those who purchase items in a live auction often do not make donations in addition to their purchase. If the live auction takes place after the donation appeal, often donors will still bid on live items because they receive a desirable item of value in return.

Levels of giving

GiveSmart recommends offering no more than five levels of giving. Open-ended donations can be captured on the campaign. Donation levels should be presented highest to lowest.

Donation items 

Create a donation item for each giving level offered or crate one item with multiple levels included.  One item with more levels is more concise, and multiple items allow you to expand on each level in more detail.  


Review options for Fixed vs Donation Level Items

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