As a stand-up comedian by trade, Ted Bisaillion of Tigerman Enterprises often finds himself MC’ing corporate events and tradeshows as well as award ceremonies and charity fundraisers. In July 2017, Ted and Givergy came together at the Shoppers Drug Mart fundraiser in Vancouver to raise funds to advance women’s health, in which Ted hosted.
“I spoke with Ted prior to the event and went over the system in depth - a treat to have such a receptive MC. I think the key to the pledge was that everyone gave varying amounts ($5, $10, $50). This kept the ball rolling and made the pledge-by-table leaderboard very exciting. We’re used to seeing the pre-planted pledges ($10,000, $50,000, etc.) come through, but for Ted to listen to me say that every dollar counts and then to watch the steady pledging, was very gratifying,” Ashley Missen, Head of Events - Vancouver, Givergy.
We spoke to Ted to get the scoop on his experience hosting fundraisers in Canada:
What’s the most interesting thing you’ve seen at a fundraisng event?
Bidding wars are great! Watching two egomaniacs going head-to-head to impress their friends is always fun to see. It’s nice to watch people get involved and go at it, especially for an item that they likely don’t really want but know it’s for a good cause.
What’s the biggest challenge you face as a host?
At many fundraisers, guests have already paid an inflated ticket price and therefore feel they have done their bit. It can be a lot to ask with the additional elements such as the raffle and auction, when most want to just have a good time and enjoy the event. I try and make the auction entertaining and funny even for the people not bidding.
What is your impression of the appetite for giving in Canada?
It’s tough. There are so many good causes it can be overwhelming to choose who gets your money.
What’s your best tip to encourage people to give?
I improv a lot. Sometimes when bids are moving slowly I might say, ‘somebody give me a cell phone so I can call xyz charity to tell them we don’t give a @$&*’ and that usually gets things going as well as a laugh.
What is your experience with fundraising technology?
The Shoppers Drug Mart event in Vancouver was the first time I’ve ever seen it, as well as worked alongside Givergy. I thought it was neat! Technology is creeping into every aspect of our lives, so what I liked about it was that it completely cuts out the need for participants to walk 100 ft. across the room to place a silent auction bid. There’s no question that the ease of making bids from their table drives funds up!
How did working with fundraising technology affect your job as a host?
I didn’t have to change my approach at all. I worked closely with the Givergy team and looked through what items were offered in the auction, and if anything could lend itself to a joke I gave it a go. Also, I looked at what items didn’t yet have bids to make sure I could incorporate them into my act.
What piece of advice would you give to event planners?
Create a charity event that offers something and a bit of additional value, be it entertainment or giveaways. Be a producer and treat it like a Broadway show. It’s important to be smart about production value and make sure it’s a decent venue; have a good MC and keep speeches brief. Find a balance for the event as a whole, make sure it’s smooth and if you do have speakers, make sure they’re good.