Mothers Against Cancer (MAC), a grass roots effort to raise funds for children’s cancer research, hosts an annual fundraising luncheon each year. The event includes an amazing raffle, silent auction and live auction as part of it’s event. In an effort to raise the bar, this year our event took a bold step. We entered the 21st century of fundraising by using Greater Giving with online access to bid. Leading the charge is our executive director, our communications director. and our board. Our leadership empowers change with this step into technology.
MAC has hosted this event for almost 30 years. We have had the same process which our attendees love with a cash, check and credit card payment system. It’s working so why change? We learned that other associations income was increasing with greater use of credit cards. We wanted to implement a system where bidding on silent auction items was easier and more profitable. We wanted our attendees email addresses so we can stay in touch all year.
How did it work?
Our leadership reinforced the positive with this change. It would be different. Our attendees would need to learn our new system but it was easy. Our board knew it was the step we needed to take to and our attendees would be fine after this first year of transition.
Our leadership brought the tools we needed, such as ipads, laptops, and a router! With change brings new skills, new technology and new connections. When we set up and did a run through, it all came together as we each learned the software guided by a on site liaison. Our leadership not only sat side by side with us as we each learned, they provided tools we needed to insure our success.
It was hard work and a little chaotic at times.
As the event started, we ran into a few glitches. There were long lines that our attendees were unaccustomed to and there was resistance to sharing personal information. However our resourceful leaders started serving drinks to those waiting and that smoothed things out. Those of us at check in heard a lot about what was not working. However, as the event moved forward, the virtual bidding on silent auction items was a fun focus for our attendees. How to out bid others at our table took our tallies for research funds higher and higher. It was easy to purchase raffle tickets just by clicking your credit card access and our total sales of raffle tickets shows how easy and profitable for MAC is it. Check out at the end of the event was seamless.
As a student of leadership, MAC showed me that it takes many different aspects to make change, and that there will always be something unanticipated that we will learn.
- Listen to others as new options open up. Transitions and change only happen if we are open.
- Add in as much support as possible. Training, onsite support and tech tools make change possible.
- Communicate change in baby steps. Our Board shared the change with our members first, then our attendees. We used email newsletters to let attendees know how to access the new site and add their information.
- There will be glitches. Research the obstacles and then review. I know our next year event will benefit from this year’s glitches.
- Positivity makes the difference. Our Board stayed positive throughout the process.
MAC made a difference for our attendees, our members and our beneficiary Texas Children’s Hospital this year. Our funds raised this year totaled $283,000 for children’s cancer research.
More on Mothers Against Cancer here.