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"You never get a second chance to make a first impression." - Will Rogers, actor
Recently we hosted a webinar with fundraising software provider Greater Giving on how to describe, display, promote and sell auction packages more effectively. Today we are sharing Part II of the lively Q&A session that followed, featuring 10 questions from charity auction organizers around the country.
The holidays are the busiest shopping time of year. How do stores attract throngs of customers? By advertising good deals, offering must-have items and creating a smooth shopping experience. Just like a brick-and-mortar retailer, the charity auction is your organization's "one night only" storefront. To motivate bidders to stop, look, and buy, it's important to create engaging, exciting auction item displays.
If you've ever hosted a charity auction in the past, you know how important it is to create a lavish shopping experience for your donors. Bright visuals and sleek displays are essential, and nowhere is this more true than the fundraising highlight of the night: the live auction. Why not use PowerPoint slides to put every item's "best foot forward"?
Do you post retail values on your auction items' bid sheets, display sheets, auction catalog and more? Do you leave them off? Does it matter? There's a wide range of opinions, and the decision can have big implications on how much you're able to raise. Read on to learn why and how organizations determine an item's fair market value; the pros and cons of sharing those values with your donors; and our suggestions on when to display and when to omit prices.
If you've ever been involved with a charity silent auction, you know gift baskets are a given. They can range anywhere from $50 to $500 in value, depending on the quality and exclusivity of the items, and are popular for a few reasons:
Silent auctions are a great way to build momentum for a fundraising event, supplement live auction revenue, engage local donors and delight supporters. And as the holidays draw near, people will be interested in buying unique gifts for friends and family (and treating themselves!) while supporting your cause. As we noted in a recent infographic, most items bring in 40 to 60 percent of their retail value. So you want to follow silent auction best practices that spur final bids to the higher end of that range. If you're new to organizing auctions, you may have some of these common questions on pricing, bid sheets, timing and more: Should we put the retail value on bid sheets? How do we determine minimum bids? Do you see value in Buy Now prices? What are best practices in closing the silent auction? How do we expedite checkout? How can we avoid miscellanous problems? Read on for expert answers and practical tips for turning your auction into an exciting, lucrative shopping spree. 1. Displaying retail values Should we display the values on bid sheets? Is it illegal not to put the value? Are there any times when you would put a value on items? This is a very common question among auction organizers—is it wise to display the item's retail value in marketing materials such as bid sheets, display materials, the auction catalog and online auction site? Our take: It's typically not a good idea to include prices in your auction catalog and here's why.
Silent auctions are your organization's "one night only" storefront. And just like a brick-and-mortar retailer, creating an immersive shopping experience is key to generating revenue. Part of the process is setting up the overall decor, like tables, lighting and decorations. But the highlights of the night are those great silent auction items. Do your silent auction item displays encourage people to stop, look and buy? Attractive silent auction displays can have a dramatic effect on the item's perceived value and thus bidding. Using the same colors, fonts and layout on all your display sheets also gives the event a professional, polished appearance—and saves hours of precious time. Fortunately, creating great silent auction displays is easier than you might think. Below are 6 elements of an effective item display sheet, plus a link to receive our Silent Auction Item Display Templates bundle, our easy-to-use, 100% customizable templates (with instructions) that will take your upcoming event to the next level.
Vibrant tables filled with unique and exciting auction items are the focal point for many nonprofit fundraising events. These silent charity auctions offer guests a fun social activity that also facilitates spending money, which can turn out to be very profitable for your cause.
One of the best ways to ensure plenty of excitement and bidding on your biggest and best charity auction items is by showcasing them in an auction catalog. The goal of an auction catalog is to make your auction items as appealing as possible to entice guests to place more bids, thus generating more revenue from your fundraising event. A well-designed catalog accomplishes this by: Creating a shopping experience: Donors are sophisticated buyers. A professional catalog lets you attractively feature your auction items, giving guests the opportunity to browse and discuss them before and during the live auction. Educating donors: Guests are going to be more comfortable spending large sums of money on an auction item if they have plenty of information about what they are buying. It’s common for charity auction catalogs to also serve as the event program and include information on the organization, its cause and the event itself. Here is a list of essential elements to include in an auction catalog: Cover Welcome Letter Event Agenda Special Thanks/Acknowledgments About Organization Live Auction Introduction Auction Items Sponsor Recognition Depending on the size and scope of your event, the catalog can be something simple with only a few pages or it can be far more extensive, with paid advertising space in a professionally designed booklet. Unfortunately, hiring a graphic designer to create an auction catalog can be prohibitively expensive for most nonprofit organizations... so we want to give you the tools to do it yourself! [FREE TEMPLATE] Download the pre-designed 100% customizable Microsoft Word auction catalog template. If you’re going to give it a go on your own, here are a few tips for how to design an effective catalog...
If you are hosting a silent auction at your charity fundraising event, it’s important to strategize the best way to present items to your guests. Presentation can have a huge impact on how much donors bid and directly affects how much money you raise at your event. Use these 3 helpful tips for displaying items in a manner that will encourage fierce bidding from your audience.