How to Have a Successful Paddle Raise

October 26, 2022

A paddle raise is a great way to spark donor enthusiasm at your fundraiser. The momentum from a paddle raise is magnetic, fortifying the importance and impact of donations. Make sure you’re geared up for some fast-paced action; your donors are ready to give! 

bid numbers for a paddle raise

What is a Paddle Raise? Why should my event have one?

Live ask, paddle up, and paddle raise all refer to when your donors have the opportunity to “just donate.” 


Contrary to the live or silent auction, attendees don’t receive any item or prize for their donation. The auctioneer will start with the highest dollar donation, and donors who want to give that amount raise their paddles. The auctioneer will then praise the attendee for their donation! 


The auctioneer will go through levels of donations. Starting from the highest level, the idea is that donors who raise their paddles during the highest level will raise their paddles again for less.


donation paddle raise run by auctioneer

5 Ways to Ensure Your Paddle Raise is Successful

Assign Paddle Numbers as Guests Arrive

By assigning your paddle numbers as guests arrive, you avoid confusion and chaos at the check-in table. 


Assigning seats and tables doesn’t always work as intended. There is a chance guests may not sit in their assigned seats. Once the crowd starts growing, your attendees will mingle and socialize. And they may get distracted. 


By handing them their paddle at check-in, they won’t accidentally pick up someone else’s paddle. 

Schedule the Paddle Raise AFTER the Live Auction

Schedule your paddle raise after your meal and live auction. Hear us out! 


You want your attendees to give their full attention to the paddle raise, so ensure that other activities (music, food, etc.) are not occurring during this time. At this point, your attendees feel connected to your cause. They’ve probably listened to an influential speaker or watched an inspirational video about your organization. Attendees will know which auction items they’ve won and how much they have left to give; they won’t be tempted to hold out for a particular auction item! 


Your event is close to wrapping up, and your attendees will be ready to make their final contributions before heading to checkout.

Train Volunteer Scribes for the Paddle Raise. 

Our Event Experts suggest having at least one volunteer scribe for every 75 attendees.


These scribes will use paper and pencil to record which paddles were raised for each donation level quickly. After the paddle raise, have two to three volunteers enter those donations using the “Quick Donate”/”Lock Amount” features. Using these features, your volunteers can quickly enter donation amounts from the paddle raise.


Now you can text “Pay Cart” links to attendees before they leave the event. 


Event Gives platform feature for quick and easy donation recording

Set Goals for Donation Levels 

Your auctioneer can voice your goals to attendees and encourage them to help the organization achieve them. Setting goals for each donation level gives your auctioneer the target amount you’re hoping to raise. 


Auctioneers will feel confident and prepared to meet your fundraising expectations!

End your Paddle Raise with a Paddle Sweep 

A paddle sweep, or paddle drop, is when you collect paddles during the last live donation ask. By collecting paddles during this live ask, the auctioneer makes it clear that there will be no more chances to bid or donate. Usually, this will be the lowest level donation at the end of the night, and the auctioneer will collect the paddles of donors who want to take this last chance to donate in a bin or bowl. 


By ending the event with a paddle sweep, you give donors one last opportunity to give money to the cause. Donors are more likely to donate if they know it’s their last chance. Your auctioneer could even say a few key reasons donating will help this organization's cause! 

You’re ready to raise!

By following these steps, your paddle raise will be on the path to success. But there’s always more to learn!

For even more information and suggestions on holding a successful fundraising event, please email us at or view one of our weekly demos!

To book a call with a member of our Customer Success Team, click here!


Want to know more about Event.Gives? Join us for one, or all, of our weekly demos! 


Tuesday at 2 PM EST via Zoom: Deep dive into the Event.Gives manager portal with Q&A. 

The second Wednesday each month at 2 PM EST: Participate as an attendee in a virtual live streaming event, featuring Kandice Luisi and one of our auctioneer partners!

COMING SOON: Check out our “7 Minutes to Success” videos on YouTube!

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