Fundraising Revenue Generators 101: The Run-Around

If you’ve attended a live fundraising event, you may have borne witness to the intense, exciting, and oftentimes chaotic part of the evening known as the Run-Around.

Also known as Last Hero Standing, the Run-Around takes place at the lowest level of the Fund-A-Need, typically at the $100 level, with the incentive to win a prize for the last bidder at that level.

Here’s an example: It’s nearing the end of the evening. The last level of the fund-a-need approaches: the $100 level. The auctioneer informs the audience, “What’s about to happen is known as ‘Last Hero Standing’ and the last person to hold their bid paddle up will win an all-expenses-paid trip to Universal Studios Orlando. Now here’s the catch – each time you raise your paddle, you have donated another $100. Please do not lower your paddles until I’ve called your number.” 

The fundraising runaround commences, and before you know it, a few audience members begin raising their paddles. After a while, the audience is engaged to see which audience member will become the last hero standing, and friendly competition is created between guests.

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In the world of revenue generators, the Run-Around is one of the most exciting ways to engage the audience and bring in fundraising dollars to the organization. However, there are certain things you MUST know when it comes to the Run-Around.

1. Each time the Paddle is raised, another $100 dollars is donated.

Okay, so here is why the Run-Around is known as the last “hero” standing. Odds are, when the “hero” raises his paddle for the last donation, he or she has donated well over $1,000. Why? Each time the paddle is raised, $100 is donated. Raise your paddle twice? That’s $200 total. Three times? $300. Four times? Okay, you get it. Don’t be surprised to see guests raise their paddles upwards of 15 or 20 times. After all, the Run-Around is a competition to crown that hero, and a lively audience is sure to generate some playful competition between guests. It’s crucial to communicate to the audience the implications of the last hero standing and that they understand that every time they’ve raised their bid paddles, they’ve donated $100 dollars. Making this abundantly clear will prevent uncomfortable conversations with the fundraising teams and confused donors as they work out their misunderstandings.

2. The Clerks need to be keeping a close eye on the bid numbers.

When it comes to Clerks, attention to detail and good listening skills are imperative to facilitating a successful fundraising in the Run-Around.  Paddles are being raised quickly, and the auctioneer will call out numbers as he or she sees them, but it’s the Clerk’s job to document each bidder’s number as it is called out. Any numbers missed = missing fundraising dollars or miscalculated totals. The best way to make sure all numbers are called for is to have multiple Clerks on each side of the audience to make sure that all numbers are accounted for! At the end of the evening, as totals are being calculated, they’ll be able to compare results and double-check one another. 

3. Position Bidspotters across the room to point out paddles.

A Bidspotter’s job is to direct the Auctioneer’s attention to paddles that are raised across the room – while keeping the audience engaged! During the Run-Around, paddles are often popping up left and right, and the auctioneer is relying on the Bidspotters to point them out! If the audience is large, or the event tables are spread out, it’s best to have Bidspotters positioned in different designated positions to make sure there are eyes covering each part of the audience. 

The competitive energy and fast-paced nature of the Run-Around is exhilarating, both from the perspective of the audience and the fundraising team. To make sure you aren’t missing any bidder numbers, make sure the fundraising team is communicating with one another and clear on their responsibilities. 


If you’re looking for professional Auctioneer and Event Day Staffing services, contact us today to see how we can take your fundraising to the next level.

Did you know we provide Committee Management, Auctioneer, Emcee & Host services, Volunteer Coordination, and Board Activation? Give us a call today to learn more about our Key Player Management Services. 

At Boundless, we know how much work is involved here! Give us a call or email us today if you’d like to learn more about how we can support you in your event efforts. 


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