Online Auctions: Going Once, Going Twice
FS Advisor -- April 4, 2006
Online auctions are becoming more popular and a preferred solution for nonprofit organizations looking to build their donor bases, engage donors, increase the frequency of giving and connect donors to a social giving network that transcends geography. This, according to Jon Carson, CEO of cMarket, Cambridge, Mass.-based provider of charitable online auction services, in his session Sunday at the 43rd AFP International Conference on Fundraising in Atlanta.
Online auctions are successful because donors contribute more via the Web, and they cost less to run than their traditional counterparts. Auctions via the Web offer “a dynamic, interactive environment for connecting with constituents in a meaningful way,” Carson said.
Web-based auction platforms, according to Carson, enable fundraisers to:
1) Drive more bidders (demand) and acquire more/better items (supply).
2) Engage their donor base.
3) Provide quantifiable value to sponsors and item donors.
4) Get their fundraising cause online.
Some challenges that exist for all fundraisers, as well as those doing online auctions, is the changing donor environment and way donors look at giving. According to Carson, donors are becoming more savvy, demanding more for their charitable dollars; want to give more, but with more control; want to actively participate in organizations; feel the “joy” of giving is hard to come by; and often find fundraising interactions unsatisfying.
Your goal as a nonprofit in combating this donor climate, Carson said, is to provide an easy, fun and convenient way for donors to interact, participate and contribute by making fundraising experiences more enjoyable; letting donors know their time is appreciated; measuring the giving interests of generational givers, e.g., pre-boomers, boomers and post-boomers; and looking for new ways to interact and stay connected with donors who already are giving.