Planning a summer fundraising event? As the big day gets closer, there are countless details to finalize: the auction items, your social media strategy, event sponsors and more.
To help you make the most of every opportunity, check out our 6-part series of pre-auction checklists, created in conjunction with benefit auctioneer Stephen Kilbreath. Curated from decades of experience running benefit auctions, learn what should typically be accomplished 3 to 5 months before the event.
Auction Tasks: 3 to 5 Months Out
- Keep soliciting! At this point you may have already been soliciting event sponsorships, underwriters and auction items for a few months. Rest assured there is still time to pull together an exciting auction catalog.
Hot procurement tip: Procure items when you're actually purchasing items or participating at a business, instead of going in blindly. Whether you're eating dinner at your favorite restaurant, at the dog groomer picking up your dog or picking up your dry cleaning, the moment you hand over your credit card, ask in return if they would like to contribute to your event. You're much more likely to get a 'yes.'
Get plenty more practical tips in our free procurement eBook:
- Solidify your Fund-a-Need. It's time to iron out the details with the help of your benefit auctioneer.
🎯 First, what is the focus of your special appeal, or the need that you'll be funding?
📹 What's the plan for creating the right emotional environment? Is the video done? Who is speaking?
💸 What's your revenue goal, and how are you going to get there? Strategize the different giving tiers and amounts of participants you'll need to reach that goal.
Wondering if you should start high and work your way down? See:
- Start securing pre-donations. Also called "priming the pump," this simply means letting supporters know an appeal will be presented prior to the event. Contact major donors to determine who would be willing to contribute to the special appeal and at what amounts; this will give you an idea of how much money you'll need from the rest of your audience to meet your goal, and the kind of increments or tiers you should set. Pledges from event volunteers and people who can’t attend can also be announced when the fund-a-need begins.
If you can get commitments in advance, tell your auctioneer. Success breeds success, and knowing hands will go up right away can impact your auctioneer's strategy.
- Plan logistics. Consult with your event committee, venue and auctioneer to create a plan regarding registration, cashiering, and all aspects of check-in and check-out. (Learn how to expedite the check-out process.)
- Formulate the night's timeline or program. The auction timeline should include all aspects of the event, from set-up to tear down. It should include volunteer schedules, where items are stored, and of course a night-of schedule. For more on creating an effective charity auction timeline, see
We hope this list is helpful as you gear up for the big fundraiser. Stay tuned to Winspire News as we release the final segments of our auction checklist series. Finally, share these articles with your entire committee so all are on the same page.
Special thanks to Stephen Kilbreath, benefit auctioneer, for sharing his auction timeline checklist. To check out our full webinar with Kilbreath, "3 Ideas to Maximize Revenue from Your Benefit Auction," click here.