Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising and charity auctions.
One of the first steps in planning a fundraising auction is assembling the procurement committee. This team of dedicated supporters is given one task, and one task only: to procure unique items that cost little to nothing up front and are valuable enough to drive ticket sales and bidding. Let's face it: The procurement process is daunting, no matter how established your organization is or passionate your team may be. Fortunately, with careful planning and organization, any nonprofit can procure items that fetch high bids.
When it comes to procuring auction items, we always encourage nonprofits to think outside the box. After all, your donors are sophisticated philanthropists who attend multiple fundraisers each year, and unique items like travel Experiences keep your event fresh, relevant and interesting. The catch: These items are among the most challenging to get donated.
We've all heard April showers bring May flowers, but those in the nonprofit world know what else spring brings: a peak time for event fundraising. Preparation for galas, raffles and auctions has already begun filling the calendars of many nonprofits. Auctions in particular can raise significant revenue in a short amount of time, but when it comes to procuring auction items that actually attract bidders, it's hard to know where to start.
A successful charity auction relies on your ability to procure exciting and appealing auction items for your donors to bid on. Even with a dedicated and knowledgeable auction committee, this can be a daunting task. One way to simplify your procurement efforts and boost the overall revenue of your event is by presenting your guests with a generous offering of both donated and consignment 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?
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.
A good old-fashioned brainstorm session is a great way to get the ball rolling to come up with ideas for unique no-risk auction items, although it’s important to take a second look at the list before your team begins the process of procuring these items. After holding a brainstorming session with your auction committee, your next step is to organize the long list of auction item ideas, adding or eliminating items as needed. Here’s how to make this process as effective as possible. 1. Organize your list into categories It’s unlikely that your audience will share all of the same interests and hobbies. That’s why it is important to offer a varied selection of items at your fundraising auction. When organizing your list, separate ideas into four different categories: Physical Items Unique Experiences Services Sports Separating the list into these categories will help you ensure you have a wide variety and also identify the areas where you’re lacking items.
Building a solid auction item procurement committee isn’t just a matter of selecting the first people who volunteer. The individuals who make up your procurement team can have a huge impact on the items you secure for the big event, which in turn will impact how much money your event raises. Don't be afraid to be selective. An auction committee with too many people can quickly become unmanageable. While it's important to give all interested parties a chance to help your cause, not everyone is cut out for auction item procurement. Make sure you have a list of other jobs you can assign eager volunteers who want to contribute.
A great way to increase your chances for fundraising success is by procuring auction items with donors' interests in mind. You’ve spent time cultivating donors, establishing positive donor relations, and learning as much information as you can about your supporters – so why not use that information to your advantage for auction item procurement? There are a number of 'donor cues' you can use to match items to your audience. Here are three you’ll want to consider: 1. Hobbies/Interests – What do your donors like to do in their spare time? Ask questions of your donors and find out what they enjoy, and then cater your offerings to them!
Procuring auction items isn't an exact science. How are you supposed to know you’ve made the right decisions and secured the right items? While there's no guarantee that certain auction items will be a hit at your event, you can significantly increase your chance for success and improve donor relations at the same time by avoiding these top three auction procurement mistakes: 1. Procuring auction items without researching donors: The donated auction items you’ve secured for the big night may seem exciting and interesting to you, so that means donors will want to bid, right? Well, not necessarily. Don’t assume that your donors have the same interests, hobbies and budgets as you. Spend time researching and getting to know your donors instead. Important demographic information such as careers, age, interests, income and family status can help you pick auction items that attendees will find exciting and want to bid on.
The Scenario: You and your auction planning committee hold a successful wish list party and your procurement team leaves pumped and excited, with a long list of ideas for unique auction items to retrieve. Fast-forward a couple months to a few weeks before your event... and you realize no one has had success acquiring any of the items on your wish list. Sound familiar? Then it may be time to consider the possibility of reserving consignment items for your benefit auction.