Developing a professional procurement packet for your auction committee will benefit both your team and the businesses they solicit for auction item donations.
For your team, a procurement packet provides a way to stay organized, professional and on task. Prospective donors (businesses who you ask to donate an item for your auction), on the other hand, will appreciate being presented with professional documents containing clear information, and may be more receptive to an organization who looks like they have their act together.
In this post we look at the most important pieces of an effective procurement packet. If you would like to download our own Winspire templates that contain all the pieces discussed below, you can download the Procurement Packet Starter Kit.
To make your procurement packets as effective as possible, include these 3 essentials:
1. Procurement letter
Face-to-face meetings are typical when asking individuals or businesses to donate items for your live or silent auction. For those you do not initially reach in person, you can mail, fax, email or hand deliver a procurement letter to their place of business. Just like face-to-face meetings, your procurement letter should provide clear information regarding your organization and how the item you are requesting will help your mission. More specifically, your letter should include:
- An emotional story and picture to tug at donors’ heartstrings and inspire them to donate.
- How donors will make an impact by donating.
- Opportunities for donors to be recognized for their contributions.
- A specific request for an item or service to be donated.
- How to donate an item or service.
- Your federal tax ID number so donors can write off their contribution*.
- The organization’s logo and mission statement to reinforce your goals.
*Circumstances and state laws may vary. Consult executive management.
2. Donation form
Donation forms are designed to ensure your committee members gather all of the information you need for each auction item they bring in. The forms are filled out by your team following the solicitation of an individual or business who has agreed to donate an auction item.
To reduce the amount of paperwork for donors, instruct team members to fill out the donation form themselves while they are with the donor. Have them turn in the completed submissions on a weekly basis and start building an excel spreadsheet where you can enter in the information for each donation as they are submitted by your team.
Creating a Spreadsheet
Using an excel spreadsheet to track complete information on auction items as they are donated is imperative for staying organized. It is crucial so you know what has been promised and can follow up on each item because a lot of the "yes's" are commitments but the actual gift cert or product still needs to be obtained prior to the event.
Creating an excel catalog of the auction items as they are submitted is also a great way to keep track of your committee's progress during the procurement process if you have any team incentives in place or to determine if you are lacking auction items in certain categories (Sports, Travel, Memorabilia, etc.). It will also be a very useful tool post-auction for evaluating which items sold and for how much - something that will truly come in handy for future events. [See: 3 Crucial Post-Auction Steps to Ensure Future Fundraising Success]
Make sure your donation forms include fields to collect the following information:
- Committee member’s name to track individual progress and cell phone number in case a question comes up regarding a donation.
- Donor’s name, address, phone number and other contact information.
- Item name and estimated dollar value.
- Item description including quantity, size, color and restrictions.
- Donor’s signature and date.
- If the item has been received or if the committee member needs to follow up.
Make sure your team members have donors read through the completed form to ensure all of the information is correct before signing.
Providing Donors a Copy
If the donor has a copier or scanner handy, have them make a copy of the donation form right there. Otherwise, tell them they will receive an email copy of the donation form for their records once it has been submitted and processed.
Make sure you scan and email a copy of all your donation forms to their respective donors after entering them in the excel sheet! This gives the business a record of their donation and serves as a reminder if it's an item that needs to be picked up.
3. Copy of Auction Item Wish List
committee members may struggle to remember all of the items your group brainstormed together at your Wish-List Party. To make it easier, print copies of the finalized wish list and place one in each packet for team members to use as a reference. Wish lists also come in handy when businesses can’t donate the item requested and your team must quickly think of an alternative.
Along with the three essential documents listed above, you may also want to include some of the following items:
If sending a letter to request gift certificates, include a stamped envelope with the letter. It’s a nice gesture and donors will appreciate the convenience.
Both new and long-time supporters might be interested in learning more about your organization and the goals you are working toward. Fill your procurement packets with pamphlets and brochures you think donors would find most interesting. Your committee members can then send an informative document along with the procurement letter, or bring the documents with them to face-to-face meetings.
The procurement process offers plenty of opportunities to inform supporters of upcoming events. Include promotional flyers or other materials advertising your fundraisers or events.
Simplify the procurement process with helpful documents for both donors and committee members. To get started developing your own procurement packet, download our free templates here.