Great nonprofits have great rituals. Let’s create a signature annual fundraising event that will become a mainstay in your community for decades to come.

Raising More Funds through a Signature Annual Event

You deserve more than a charity benefit auctioneer. You deserve an event execution partner who shares your nonprofit's core values.

Honestly, we didn't want to do a gala. We knew lots of nonprofits swore by them, but we'd been intentionally avoiding it for a long time. The huge amount of work, what we thought would be a big expense, and not wanting to do just another rubber chicken fundraiser were all big reasons. But the biggest was that we just didn't have the mental capacity to think about all the moving parts and pieces that go into doing it right. Derik, Cassi, and the Sparrow Team brought the expertise and energy we needed, and now we couldn't imagine a future year without hosting that magical evening.
Mary H.
Executive Director

Do I Really Need a Formal Fundraiser?

Let’s be honest, formal fundraising events can be a lot. Like, a LOT a lot. You've got people dressed to the nines, sporting tuxedos and ball gowns that cost more than a small country's GDP. And I mean, who needs edible food when you've got a silent auction table with diamond-encrusted dog leashes and gold-plated staplers up for grabs?

And let's not forget about the entertainment. Between the acrobats, fire breathers, contortionists, and fast-talking benefit auctioneer in the sparkly jacket, it’s all you can do to keep your champagne glass from spilling while the guy next to you balances a plate of heavy hors d'oeuvres on his nose.

But amidst the glitz and glam and goofiness, it’s all about the mission, that worthy cause that brings everyone together. After all, just one magical night can fuel a whole year of impact. So yeah, maybe it is worth squeezing yourself into that dress, breaking out the heels, and diving headfirst into the world of formal fundraising.

Why Derik Timmerman?

  • Top Rated: Nationally-recognized charity benefit auctioneer and planner
  • For-Profit Background: 6+ years as a global McKinsey & Company consultant and facilitator to top executives of Fortune 500 companies
  • Nonprofit Expertise: 20+ years working on staffs and boards of nonprofits of all sizes and causes
  • Experienced Speaker: Spoken to 500,000 people in keynotes, conferences, seminars, and workshops in 12 countries
  • First-Hand Fundraising: Certified fund raising executive (CFRE) and experienced leader raising $12m+
  • Weekly Event Coaching: Invests in your event with weekly touchpoints that keep up the positive momentum
  • People-First Approach: Puts the WHO/WHY before the HOW, encouraging you, celebrating you, and building up your event team

According to research by the Chronicle of Philanthropy, 75% of a charity benefit's attendees continue to contribute meaningfully to the nonprofit organization in subsequent years.

How ItWorks

Like most of us, I've been to a lot of formal fundraising events. They're all wonderful in their own way, but I have to admit that my least favorite part of most of them is when a benefit auctioneer steps up after an emotional evening of celebration and just makes it feel salesy and gross. We were looking for a benefit auctioneer who would match our values and make his/her portion fun, but also lead it with depth, sincerity, and meaning. Derik and his team did all of this and so much more. They created a experience unlike any I've ever attended before or since, and we'll bring them back every year.
Laurel P.
Planning Chair

Our Approach

The ethos of Sparrow's rare approach to signature annual event fundraising is creating an experience that takes guests on a journey of life-changing impact. The only thing more fun than getting dressed up and enjoying exquisite decor, cuisine, beverages, and wonderful company is activating the generosity of community leaders to change lives.

How to achieve that? Creativity, discipline, and time. Ideally starting 4+ months in advance, we bring our experience from years of events to assist with everything from guest outreach to corporate sponsorships to silent auction items. We want this to be your best event fundraising ever.

On event night, you'll see the Sparrow difference in Derik's one-of-a-kind approach to benefit auctioneering. We believe in fun with meaning. No gimmicks, no selling, just truth on fire: moving hearts to embrace your mission with the same depth and passion you bring to work every single day.

How Do We Maximize Fundraising Results?

Analytics. Attendance and giving data tell a story that we've learned to translate in to simple action items that generate better results every year. Sequence of auction items, seating positions of major donors, we don't miss a single detail.

Guest experience. It should be frictionless for your guests to give generously on the big night. We sweat the details to deliver an experience that aligns with preferences of all ages and demographics. From check-in to bid recording to check-out, the experience will feel first-class to your guests.

Delight and impact. It's the charity benefit auctioneer's #1 responsibility to connect the joy of giving to the life-changing work of the nonprofit. Our team overprepares the auctioneer segment of the evening to take guests on a journey full of unexpected surprises, hidden delights, and fresh awakening to how much you get when you give.

Research shows that 88% of event organizers believe that choosing the right auctioneer is the most critical factor in determining the success of a charity benefit auction.

Fundraising Streams

The best charity benefit events feature an integrated set of fundraising streams that feel crazy fun to guests and maximize funding for the cause.

We had always thought of a gala as being all about the fundraising result. Over the 4+ months of coaching leading up to the event, what Derik helped us realize was that a gala can do so much more. It can inspire old friends to plug back in and have a bigger impact. It can bring in new friends who didn't fully realize the magnitude of the great work we were doing. It can engage the business community through corporate sponsors who wouldn't consider first getting connected to the organization in other ways. Yes, we netted $150k+ in new funds; but with Sparrow, our gala did so much more.
Emily K.
Executive Director

Could Your Charity Benefit Use an Expert Guide?

Let's talk about how we can support your signature annual fundraising event at a price you can afford.