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Giving thermometers. How many do we need? Do we need them at all?

It’s a funny thing with me and thermometers. I’ll be honest with you that I’ve spent an auctioneer’s lifetime giving the sage advice that they’re not needed at live events. At a live event, the momentum of giving in the room is what drives people to give more. And a thermometer can sometimes be a deterrent to that (at worst) or a distraction (at best).

But what about now, in our virtual spaces?

First, I think incorporating a thermometer for your appeal into your event dashboard is a must. Since we can’t physically feel the momentum in the room, the thermometer takes the temperature and drives giving in our virtual spaces.

And I really like it specifically for the appeal. That’s the moment you’ve been building up to throughout the event. It’s when you need people to tune in, power up and really get connected to your giving momentum. Organizations who see their appeal thermometers rising actively and rapidly – or even in some cases blowing through the ceiling of their goals – are seeing the best returns.

But I also want to caution against is relying too heavily on thermometers, though. They can be too much of a good thing. Interested in adding a thermometer to track the overall goal of your event in addition to your appeal? Nope, I wouldn’t recommend that. Mostly for the simple reason that you’re more likely to confuse your audience than bring additional momentum to your event. Plus, it clutters up your event dashboard, leaving less space to acknowledge donors in real-time.

And sharing the overall goal of your event isn’t needed during the event! That’s the perfect nugget of inspiring information to share after the event, in your post-event communications. When people will be excited to see how much money you raised for your mission. Saving any mention of the larger goal for this moment will drive future affiliation and giving with the donors most connected – which is exactly where you want to leave your audience following the event.

In recap:

Thermometer? Yes! I love it to track the momentum of the appeal in virtual spaces.

More than one thermometer? No! This is confusing and shares your overall goal too soon.

Taking your temperature regularly on a real thermometer? Absolutely! In these COVID times, I think we all know a lot more about our temperatures than we used to. So for now, bring on your one trusty thermometer fundraisers, and let’s go raise some money!



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