Pulse: Shake the Money Tree
There are myriad ways to raise funds for your cause. One of the most popular is through a live or silent auction. However, fundraising auctions run the gamut from wildly successful to terribly ineffective.
What makes the difference? That's what veteran fundraising auctioneer Richard O'Keef examines in his book "Shake the Money Tree: How to Produce a Winning Fundraising Event with a Live and Silent Auction." O'Keef, who graduated from the Missouri Auction School in 1992, produced his first fundraiser for a local Boy Scouts of America cake sale, "and despite being pretty green, we raised three times as much money as we did the year before," he says. "And I thought, 'Wow, this is good stuff.' So I decided to make my niche fundraising auctions."
Since then, O'Keef has conducted more than 700 fundraising events. Over the years, he noticed that some auctions were very successful while others were less so, and he wanted to find out "what caused the difference and if anything could be done to make sure that all of my auctions turned out to be successful," he shares.
O'Keef studied the elements of successful and unsuccessful auctions through his own experiences and research, and determined there are four objectives every successful event achieves.
Here, O'Keef shares those objectives and the power of auctions.
FundRaising Success: What compelled you to write "Shake the Money Tree"? Why now?
Richard O'Keef: Back in my early fundraising auctioneering days, some of my auctions were successful and some were — shall we say — less than successful. Well, I wanted to find out what caused the difference and if anything could be done to make sure that all my auctions turned out to be successful.
So I went to work observing, analyzing and participating in hundreds of fundraising events. I discovered four objectives that are achieved at every successful fundraising event. Every successful event, without exception, achieved them. And every less-than-successful event failed to meet one or more of these objectives.