In a perfect world, auction committees would have no problem getting unique and exciting items donated for their fundraising events. Anyone who has served on a charity auction committee knows this is rarely the case.
Securing a variety of exciting items purely by donation is much easier said than done. Making a ton of calls, sending out hundreds of emails and pulling favors may produce a handful of adequate items, but all too often the resulting selection of auction items is missing those jaw-dropping items that really get crowds excited about bidding during an event.
At the end of the day, what's most important is raising significant funds for your organization - and most patrons understand that there are costs associated with fundraising.
This is why consignment is a secret weapon for the charity auction committee. The process is simple: reserve a unique item or incredible experience at no cost upfront and then offer it to your audience in the live or silent auction. If it sells above the package cost – great! You’ve raised money and delighted your donors in the process. If the items doesn’t sell above the package cost, no problem! Your organization pays nothing, making it an entirely risk-free proposition.
Pretty simple, right? Well, not everyone agrees. Our Event Consultants speak to thousands of Nonprofits about their events each year and they sometimes hear comments like: “No consignment… Sorry, we only use 100% donated items… We’re pretty sure we can get something like that donated.”
Some organizations are not comfortable with consignment items because they are worried that not all the money donors’ pay is going to the cause. Others feel like they are losing money when they have to pay for auction items they could otherwise potentially get donated.
It’s these misconceptions about consignment items that may be costing Nonprofits thousands of dollars in lost revenue.
Here are four reasons why it makes real sense to invest in better auction items:
1. Takes Money to Make Money
Anyone who has been in charge of planning a fundraising event understands there are costs associated with raising money, and when planned strategically those investments can really pay off. An event's logistics alone add up, and most development teams realize that investment is necessary to attract interest, sell tickets and create an enjoyable atmosphere for attendees that will encourage donations. Advertising, catering, entertainment, venue rental, etc. – all of these costs are incurred in hopes of producing dividends in the form of bids and donations. Investing in valuable big-ticket auction items serves the same purpose.
2. Atmosphere of Big Spending
Hosting an event with quality auction items creates an atmosphere of spending that will translate into bigger bids on other items. Just like an amazing venue and an entertaining emcee will hopefully drive more bids during the live auction – so will the excitement of bidding on an incredible travel experience. It's not your basic gift certificate or evening dinner at a local restaurant, it's something that will really get people pumped up. When people are excited and have high-end items to bid on, the bids will be higher and happen more often.