>> The following data is obtained from this research study << 

The live appeal: also known as a cash call, donation moment, fund-a-need, hand-raise, and paddle raise. 

But what about this live appeal is actually…appealing? 

The answer depends on who you are asking. 

36% of event planners believe the live appeal generates the most donations. However, only 7% of donors say they’re likely to donate during the live appeal (Figure 22). This shows that, contrary to event planner perception, most donors are not interested in participating in the live appeal. Still, the live appeal begs consideration because event planners see it as an important, revenue-driving moment.  

So, live appeals are appealing to event planners because they generate higher amounts of revenue in shorter amounts of time. Additionally, they come with less prep work than other fundraising elements, like silent auctions. 

live appeal

Figure 20 below shows that 38% of donors like or love the live appeal. However, 63% of event planners feel this moment is very important. If your organization is planning a live appeal, it’s crucial to know your donor base as well as who will be present at the event. If some of your largest donors suddenly cannot make it to your event, consider modifying how the live appeal will run (i.e. If you were planning to start asking for donations at $20,000, consider starting at $10,000).  

While live appeals can be big moments for a few larger donations, it’s important to remember that other fundraising elements still have a foothold in donors’ interests. Figure 20 below shows that 57% of donors like or love silent auctions, which, according to this study, is the most appealing fundraising element.  

If there are a lot of millennials at your event, consider hosting a silent auction or peer-to-peer fundraising in advance of your event. While a live appeal will garner donations, it doesn’t mean that it should be your organization’s only method of fundraising at your event. 

Further breakdown by demographic: 


Ultimately, a live appeal is often worth the brief donor discomfort due to the larger donations it can generate 

If you haven’t hosted a live appeal before, consider asking for lower donation levels, be clear about your objective, and give exact directions for how donors can participate in giving. Live appeal best practices often include a third-party emcee or auctioneer. It’s crucial that this person knows who is in the room, the organization’s mission and work, and the objective of the donation moment.  


More on dos and donts to nail your live appeal here. 


Kelsey Woodworth
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