The BIG FIVE: Volunteers & Staff!

The Big Five Types of Spenders at Fundraising Events – Volunteers + Staff

Hidden Gems: Volunteers + Staff

We’ve been having a ball talking about the five primary types of bidders you’ll find at fundraising events. Of course, not all bidders fall into these categories; some fall into several, some one, some none! Today, let’s dive in and learn how to engage the volunteers and staff present at your event.

Obligatory Giving

Staff members work directly for your organization. Volunteers aren’t getting paid and are likely there to support you with their time – though a precious asset, it may not hugely increase your bottom line. While staffers and volunteers no doubt passionately support your mission, they are often there because they have or want to be. That doesn’t mean they won’t support the cause financially, but often, they don’t wield the same spending power of the philanthropists or competitive bidders in the room. Yet they still want to demonstrate their support for what you do. Here are a few suggestions for engaging these vital supporters in your fundraising efforts.

Cocktail Hour Activities

Provide opportunities for volunteers and staff to get involved right away before the live program, during the cocktail hour. Offer games and raffles with lower price points – $50 or less. Curious about what to provide? We have an extensive library of low and mid-price point games and activities – reach out! A wine wall is also a great way to engage people not looking to spend a ton – check out our blog, The Wonderful World of Wine Walls, for tips and best practices. 


Guests love a good game! We have best practices for so many. Ask us. One example – Heads & Tails – is a game for everyone and is fun for the whole room. Guests pay for a chance (or several chances!) to play. They put their hands on either their heads or their hips (aka their tails). Your emcee or auctioneer flips a coin and keeps flipping until there are only two players left in the game. It’s fun and it gets the whole room involved. What’s more, we can help you make it mission-specific – ask us how!

Raffles. Great Idea or Bad Optics? You decide. 

Raffle games are a great and generally affordable way to get everyone to get involved. But if you know you have a large number of staffers in the room, be very cautious with raffles. Some question whether staffers should be allowed to enter raffles at all – if someone who works for the org wins the raffle year after year, people start to wonder – even if it’s a totally legitimate victory. Do you want folks to wonder?

Time + Talent

Finally, the thing we most value from our volunteers and staff is their time and their talent. The fact that they’re even at the event is a win. These are your most loyal and dedicated mission ambassadors and their talents are not wasted volunteering and working for your wonderful cause. Foster this wonderful gift with your gratitude and clear communication of needs and duties they can help with. They want to. So put them to work!

We hope this gives you some fresh ideas on how to make your event fun for the volunteers and staff! And we hope you’ve enjoyed this series, because we’ve had a lot of fun breaking down the five main types of guests who attend fundraising events. In the meantime, contact us for more fabulous fundraising ideas – we can’t wait to help you fund your cause.