WINSPIRE NEWS

Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising and charity auctions.

The Biggest Secret to Hosting a Successful Charity Auction

Posted by Ian Lauth

Biggest Secret to Hosting a Successful Charity Auction Items

It's six months before the big nonprofit fundraising event. You have a great theme, awesome location and hope to raise record-breaking amounts by hosting an auction packed with exciting items. The procurement team has plenty of time to gather auction donations, so you're not worried, right?

…Then a month goes by and there is still just the possibility of those concert tickets and backstage passes. Another month goes by and there's radio silence from the board member’s sister who was going to donate her timeshare condo in Hawaii. Three months later and nothing has solidified except a few restaurant and spa vouchers. Panic sets in.

This is a common scenario that keeps development directors and event coordinators awake at night. How will your nonprofit ever raise big numbers when your big-auction items fall through?

To avoid the mad scramble before the event, try securing a few no-risk auction items earlier on in the process. The biggest secret to hosting a successful nonprofit auction is offering intriguing items and getting them early enough to connect with donors and build excitement through marketing and outreach strategies.

  1. Find out what donors want to bid on: You can be proactive about contacting big donors and asking them which packages they are most interested in. A simple conversation could go as follows: "We're thinking of three travel packages for this event; which would you be most interested in, and how much would you be willing to bid?" Getting valuable insight like this early on might mean you can sell the item - or at least get a commitment - before the event even begins.
  2. Build excitement for the event: Using priceless Experiences such as trips and sporting events in promotional event flyers and email campaigns will get people talking about the auction before the event. This helps build excitement and momentum that will translate into better attendance and more participation. Big-ticket items can also add credibility to smaller or first-time fundraising events.
  3. Prepare your audience to spend money: By giving your audience a sneak peak of your biggest and best auction items ahead of time, you will encourage them to start thinking about what they might like to bid on when they get to the event. This is especially true for folks who may think twice about spending more than $1,000 when put on the spot, and may benefit from some lead time to plan for such an expenditure or assess their financial situation.
  4. Sell each Experience multiple times: When you promote your event using experiential travel packages it will start to generate a lot of interest in those items. This usually translates into some competitive bidding at the auction. Since no-risk Experiences can be sold multiple times you're not limited to selling it to only one winner. Let normal bidding raise the value of the item, wait until bidding stops and then sell the package to the top two or three donors at the second to last bid price.

Experiential travel packages in particular garner a lot of attention. Most people who fit the target demographic of high net-value donors (wealthy 50+ year olds) have a budget for leisure travel every year, which means they already have money set to purchase these kinds of Experiences. Giving your donors a chance to bid on exciting travel packages and contribute to a cause they believe in is a win-win for them. For the nonprofit, selling the Experiences at or above 20% of the package cost – and doing it multiple times – has the potential to raise several thousand dollars for your cause.

Why wait to reserve experiential travel packages until you know exactly what the procurement team has secured? You will be missing opportunities to connect with donors in advance and promote your event.

Winspire's Top 10 Best Selling Experiences

 
Auction Item Procurement, Event Promotion
Ian Lauth
Ian Lauth
With an extensive background in marketing development and content design, Ian’s role at Winspire is to develop external communications, brand expansion and product delivery processes to help Nonprofits maximize their fundraising revenue. Ian serves as the Editor-in-Chief for Winspire News, creating and managing blog content, newsletters, eBooks and other resources for Nonprofit fundraising professionals.

Related Posts

Strategy that Can Double & Triple Revenue from One Auction Item

Consignment travel packages can be extremely lucrative for your nonprofit, providing the ability to sell incredible trips multiple times, at no risk to you or your organization. Doing so benefits your event in three ways: Increase revenue: Double, triple, or quadruple your profit on a single package. It's a win-win: Making Bidders happy means making your nonprofit happy. Capture secondary bidders: Why have one winner when you can have multiple? Having more than one of the same auction items means there is no second place. Doubling up enables your auctioneer to capture additional revenue from more people.   It's easier to pull off than you might think! There are unlimited ways to sell multiple no-risk consignment travel packages at any point of your event timeline—before, during, and after—that doesn't take any extra procurement on your part and costs nothing if items do not sell. Read on for the strategies our nonprofit clients have used to double, triple, even quadruple their revenue on a single package to raise a lot more for their cause.

Virtual Fundraising Tips & Tricks | Nonprofit Q&A

Virtual event fundraising for Nonprofits has slowly become the new normal. As we venture into this new world, our Virtual Team compiled their favorite tips & tricks to share with you all!

Fundraising in the COVID-19 Climate - Q&A with Nonprofits

Because we know how challenging this time may be, we wanted to provide some guidance and clarity during this challenging time. Our Director of Product Development, Jason Champion, Director of Sales, Kevin Spykerman, and Director of Marketing, Lou Prisco, sat down with Bobby D. Elhert, Benefit Auctioneer and Fundraising Professional from Inspire Hearts Fundraising, to answer live questions sent in during our live webinar Q + A.