Get Your Auctions Going...Going...
Organizations from local schools to national nonprofits are using auctions, both live and online, to raise needed funds and fill the gap left by shrinking budgets and dwindling funding sources. If you’re one of them, here are a few tips to help you succeed with your next benefit auction.
1. Create a plan.
Ideally, planning should start 11 months in advance of the event to make sure there’s enough time to secure a venue, recruit volunteers, procure items and organize and publicize the event. You’ll also want to put a budget together at this time. Expenses can include invitations and catalog publication, food, beverages, professional auctioneer, venue, entertainment, computer systems, sound equipment, etc.
2. Hire a professional benefit auctioneer.
They are professional moneymakers for your cause, who can boost revenue by motivating your guests to bid more. While a celebrity might do a great job entertaining and filling seats, a professional auctioneer engages the audience to drive increased bidding. Basically, they know how to ask for money.
3. Update your database.
Add e-mail addresses. While mailed invitations are an important first step, e-mail is an excellent way to send information to registered attendees or last-minute reminders to those constituents who have not yet responded.
4. Incorporate ways for guests to donate even if they cannot attend.
All event materials and invitations should include a Web site address for direct donations as well as online registration. Also consider adding an online auction -- either in conjunction with your live event or as a year-round fundraising tool.
5. Accept credit cards at your event.
You will significantly boost revenue and provide added convenience for your guests. With certain systems, you will even reduce check-out lines. Make sure to let people know ahead of time, via the invitation or e-mail, that you will be accepting cards so that they can have them out and ready to go.