Before the Bidding Comes the Planning Things to keep in mind wh
September 13, 2005
By Lisa Hannah
Raising funds through a special event is a tried-and-true tactic. In addition to generating revenue, special events can generate awareness for a cause, pinpoint new prospects, demonstrate the impact of giving and build community relationships. While a special event can be a powerful fundraising vehicle, it can entail a fair amount of work and resources. Looking specifically at benefit auctions, keep these best practices in mind to ensure that your event is a success.
Best Practice #1: Plan Effectively
Planning should start nine to 11 months ahead to ensure that you can secure a venue, recruit volunteers, procure items, organize and publicize the event. Most organizations rely on an auction chair and co-chair to orchestrate the planning process. Create committees of volunteers focused on specific aspects of the auction, such as procurement, live auction, silent auction and decorations. The trick with an event is managing a timeline and all of the details that need to come together along the way. Check out event-management software to help you plan and manage the event instead of relying on folders and spreadsheets.
Best Practice #2: Budget Appropriately
The power of an auction is raising thousands or even millions of dollars in a few hours by gathering the right people, the right items and the right passion in one room. But there are costs involved: venue, food and beverages, credit card processing, and services to optimize the event, entertainment, etc. While many things can be donated, there still will be hard costs involved -- plan on covering these costs with ticket sales and corporate sponsorships. Set a budget ahead of time so you can accurately determine how much you will need to raise through auction revenue to reach your goal.
Best Practice #3: Procure the Right Items