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  • Writer's pictureJohn Wendelken

Keys to a Great Fundraiser MC

Fundraisers play a crucial role in generating support and funds for public and private organizations. While there are many factors that contribute to the success of a fundraiser, one often overlooked, but essential element, is the MC (master of ceremonies). A skilled emcee can captivate the audience, create an engaging atmosphere, and ultimately drive donations by inspiring and celebrating bidder generosity.

In this blog, we will explore the essential qualities and techniques that make a great fundraiser MC. From building rapport with the audience to delivering impactful messages; we’ll cover everything you need to know to ensure your next fundraising event is a resounding success.

Understanding the Purpose of the Event

To be an effective fundraiser MC, it is crucial to have a clear understanding of the purpose and goals of the event. This includes gaining knowledge about the organization, its mission, and the specific cause being supported. By being familiar with these details, your MC will be able to convey them to the audience with passion and authenticity.

Setting the Tone and Building Rapport

One of the most important aspects of being a great fundraiser MC is building rapport with the audience. This involves establishing a connection, creating a sense of trust, and making the attendees feel comfortable. To achieve this, the MC will consider the following strategies:

  • Warm welcome: Begin the event with a warm and friendly welcome. Greet attendees as they arrive, make eye contact, and exude positive energy. This initial interaction will set the tone for the rest of your event.

  • Engagement with the audience: Throughout the event, a great MC will actively engage with the audience; asking questions, encouraging participation, and making them feel like an integral part of the fundraising process. This will create a sense of community and foster a stronger connection to your cause.

  • Use humor: Injecting appropriate humor into their hosting style can help to break the ice and foster a relaxed environment, which will entice bidding.

Being a Master of Public Speaking

They don’t call an MC the “Master of Ceremonies” for nothing. As an MC, their ability to speak confidently and effectively is paramount. Here are some tips to teach you what to expect from your fundraiser MC:

  • Practice, practice, practice: An MC's job consists of knowing the run of show, their queues, and what they should be speaking about for each segment. To ensure this, they will prepare and rehearse their script multiple times before the event, familiarize themselves with the flow, timing, and transitions to ensure a smooth delivery.

  • Use storytelling: Storytelling is a powerful tool to engage the audience emotionally. Allowing them to share approved and compelling stories related to the cause, can highlight the impact of previous donations or personal experiences.

  • Vary tone and pace: Monotone deliveries can quickly bore the audience. Ensuring your emcee can vary their tone and pace to maintain the bidders interest. They also know how to use pauses strategically to emphasize key points or allow time for reflection.

  • Maintain eye contact: Eye contact builds trust and connection with the audience. A great MC will make an effort to scan the room and establish eye contact with different individuals throughout their segments.

  • Utilize body language: Using confident body language to project authority and engage the audience is a key part of an MC's persona. They should stand tall, use hand gestures purposefully, and move around the stage naturally. This will make them appear approachable and command attention.

Smooth Event Management

A great fundraiser MC works well with the organization and auctioneer (at Staar Entertainment, we can be both your MC & auctioneer!) to ensure that the event runs smoothly from start to finish.

  • Create a timeline: The MC should work with your team to develop a detailed timeline for the event, including key moments such as speeches, performances, and fundraising activities. Share this timeline with relevant stakeholders and ensure everyone is aware of their roles and responsibilities.

  • Coordinate with other speakers: If there are other speakers or performers at the event, allow your emcee to coordinate with them in advance. This allows them to share information about the cause, desired talking points, and overall flow of the event to ensure seamless transitions between segments.

  • Manage transitions: Smooth transitions between different segments are crucial for maintaining momentum and keeping attendees engaged. The use of transitional phrases or brief intermissions to bridge gaps between speeches or performances can glue the whole event together.

  • Prepare for technical difficulties: Technical difficulties can happen at any event. Your MC should be familiar with your AV specialist or even moderately familiar with audiovisual equipment, themselves, and have contingency plans in place in case of technical issues.

  • Stay flexible: Despite careful planning, unexpected situations may arise during the event. Your MC should know how to stay flexible to handle any changes or challenges that come their way.

Professionalism and Adaptability

Fundraisers can range from school fundraisers to elegant large scale galas. As a fundraiser MC, it is essential for them to maintain professionalism and be adaptable in each situation.

  • Dress appropriately: Dress according to the event’s theme or dress code to project a professional, unified, image. At a school fundraiser a sport jacket over a polo shirt may be enough. However, for a gala they may be expected to be in black tie apparel. For a themed event the MC may want to wear an appropriate costume to match said theme.

  • Handle technical difficulties smoothly: Be prepared for potential technical glitches and handle them calmly and professionally to prevent any disruption to the events flow. Having attentional mics, stands, speakers, etc. incase of disruption can save an event.

  • Adapt to unexpected changes: A great MC will be able to adapt to any last-minute changes or adjustments to the run of show or that may arise during the event.

Post-event Follow-up

A great fundraiser MC understands that their role doesn’t end when your event concludes. Here’s how they may provide post-event follow-ups:

  • Thank-you notes: Send personalized thank-you notes or emails to your organization, expressing gratitude for your openness to work with them.

  • Share success metrics: They may ask for permission to share approved metrics on social media or through email newsletters to showcase the success of the fundraiser. They may want to highlight how much was raised, how many people attended, event sponsors, or other significant milestones achieved.

  • Maintain relationships: Continue nurturing relationships with your organization or other vendors. Hoping to be kept updated or used for future initiatives or events related to your organization.

  • Collect feedback: They may request feedback to gather insights on areas of improvement for future events.

Final Thoughts

Being a great fundraiser MC requires a combination of skills and qualities. By ensuring your MC understands the purpose of the event, builds rapport with the audience, has great public speaking skills, creates an engaging program flow, and uses effective fundraising techniques, you are sure to have a successful event. Professionalism, adaptability and gratitude are just a few personality traits that make an MC great.


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