Top 5 Common Challenges at Fundraising Events


FSA Auctions has shared before the AAA effect as keys to success at your fundraising event. The AAA effect is Audio, Auctioneer & Alcohol (in that order)! If guests can’t hear the auctioneer it doesn’t matter how good they are. Alcohol helps but it’s not always necessary. Investing in a good Audio Visual team is paramount. Contact FSA for preferred AV vendors. Additional pro tip, many times guests will arrive and be outside, in a lobby or another room other than the main “ballroom.” And many times you’ll want your auctioneer/host to make announcements like “Silent Auction is closing in 15 minutes and then we’ll head into the ballroom for dinner.” Well many times the audio in the ballroom does NOT go to this location. Be aware and as always FSA has a backup plan for this. FSA brings a portable microphone to every event just in case this happens.


You’ll spend months planning an engaging run of show and then the night of the meals are two hours behind schedule (yes, that really happened). If you plan to hire a caterer, I would encourage vetting them based on their experience with professional fundraising events. Some times the venue you secure will have its own caterer and you’ll want to ask questions that speak to their experience with fundraising events. In addition, staffing can sometimes be an issue. Be sure the caterer provides enough staffing to quickly pull salad plates and drop the main course.


Fundraising events typically entail everyone going to the bar or buffet line all at once. This is something to plan for and consider as it can negatively impact fundraising in a huge way! For example, we had two bars outside during the silent auction before guests were going to go inside the ballroom. Guests arrived, checked in and immediately went to the bar. We had two bars with one bartender at each bar. WiFi outside began to move very slow. Lines for the bar turned into 30+ minute waits which meant less bids on our silent auction items. In addition, have a plan for buffet lines. FSA Auctions has three strong tips that can move everyone through the buffet lines quickly and efficiently (and have fun doing it too)!

WiFi & Card Readers

Test the venue WiFi when you do your initial venue walk-through. You can do this on your phone by googling “wifi speed test.” 5 to 15 mbps are typically good speeds to run check in, check out and payment processing. If you aren’t using bid numbers for sales transactions at your event; you are probably using card readers (i.e. – Squares). If this is the case, be sure you have a minimum of 10 on hand and have done proper training with those who will be using them prior to doors opening to guests. FSA Auctions provides staffing who can do this all for you (if needed).


Lighting can do wonders for how our event looks and feels. Many times lighting is set low but having a plan to bring the lights up during the Paddle Raise and/or Live Auction is a good idea so the auctioneer can see the bid numbers. Pro tip on bid numbers, FSA recommends starting with bid number 101 and going up consecutively from there. Bid numbers should be a minimum of 5″ x 7″ and extra wide bold print (if it must be sharpie, get 1/2 inch thickness or greater). FSA provides bid cards (if needed).

Bonus (6 & 7)

Have trained staff for check in and check out. Technology can be your best friend here (if enough people know how to use it). Contact FSA for helpful tips to improve your efficiency and effectiveness. FSA also provides staffing for this (if needed).

Lastly, FSA highly recommends being done with all fundraising by 9pm. Very few events can go over without losing guests. It’s not a reflection of anyone it’s just the 9 o’clock threshold. The baby sitter will call at 8:30pm with a sick kid, a grandparent will need attending at home or your partner you came with will have had too many drinks by then.

Hope this has been helpful and useful. Feel welcome to contact FSA for more at

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