Your destination for insight into the world of event fundraising, charity auctions and no-risk travel packages.
At Winspire News, we hear from a lot of fundraising professionals and volunteers. Along with questions on auction best practices (how many items to include in the live auction, bestselling silent auction items, setting minimum bids and so forth), we've also gotten these: How do we address those who say, "I don't go to the auction and never will."? Are auctions really worth the time and cost? How do I refresh my 14-year event? Is it time to give it up and move on to another type of event? Perhaps you can relate.
As experts in event fundraising, we always encourage those procuring auction items to think outside the box. Simply put, one-of-a-kind items that surprise and delight donors bring in the highest bids. Experiential travel is a consistent best seller at auctions—think sold-out tickets to Broadway show Hamilton, a trip to The Masters or 4 nights at an all-inclusive resort—that's also incredibly tough to get donated. To the rescue: offering no-risk trips on consignment. Reputable trip providers like Winspire take on the difficulty, time and risk of putting together and fulfilling packages of the highest caliber. Best of all, you don't purchase the trip unless bidding reaches at least the minimum profitable price you set. A very common question we get is how best to sell consigned items at a live auction. What's the best way to explain consignment to bidders? How is our audience going to react? And how can we get the highest bids possible for each item? A surefire way to maximize revenue on consigned items is to hire an auctioneer who specializes in charity auctions. Read on to see how certified Benefit Auctioneer Specialist Danny Hooper engages the crowd and presents the minimum opening bid on consignment items. Consider sharing this handy script with your auctioneer as you strategize a game plan for your upcoming auction.
Thanks to mobile technology and the widespread use of smartphones and tablets, Nonprofits can improve the way they manage both the process and success of their fundraising auctions. Mobile bidding is a paperless system for managing and running auction events and it enhances the experience for both guests and volunteers. There are a number of advantages to incorporating mobile bidding into your next event: 1. Less hassle When auctions use paper systems, donors have to be in the auction table area in order to view items and write down bids. With mobile bidding, donors can bid from their seats or wherever they happen to be in the room. This allows them to socialize with other guests and participate in the auction at the same time; and they don't have to push through crowds to make bids. 2. Convenient alerts When bids have to be made at the auction tables, donors are less likely to follow up later and continue participating, especially if they are having a good time socializing and mingling at your event. Mobile bidding allows you to send alerts to supporters' devices when they've been outbid, and donors can then place a new bid without having to leave their spot. This convenient feature encourages donors to keep bidding for the items they want when they've been outbid without having to rush back to find the item and bid sheet on the table in the silent auction area. 3. Simplify check in and check out At most auctions, donors have to spend time waiting in long lines in order to check in and out of the event. Mobile bidding allows guests to complete this process on their smartphone or tablet, which means no lines. Donors will have more time to enjoy your event, and you might even need fewer volunteers to help run your auction.
Bidding wars are awesome. They are intense, competitive and exciting for everyone in the room. It can also help raise a lot of money on a single auction item. That being said, bidding wars are also elusive and almost impossible to anticipate or create. There's just no guarantee that any of the items you've selected will ignite enough interest to get your event patrons to compete with each other. Or is there...?
The last thing you want is for your guests to ignore the exciting silent auction items you've worked so hard to secure. Here are a few tried-and-true strategies to help draw donors to the silent auction tables and encourage more bidding activity. 1. Arrange the Room Strategically Popular retailers are very deliberate about the way they arrange stores and display merchandise to entice shoppers to spend money. The next time you walk through Nordstrom, take a look at the way items are presented in various departments. Observe everything from the amount of space separating displays to the little artistic knick-knacks that add to the "look & feel" of a collection. The same concept applies to silent auction tables, where presentation is just as important for enticing donors to bid. Consider these tips when you set up your displays: Arrange your silent auction tables with adequate space between them so guests can move freely. Incorporate visual cues such as colorful balloons, lights or signage to mark pathways and other points of interest. Set up drink stations on the opposite side of the auction-staging area so when guests want a fresh beverage they'll have to walk through the silent auction. Spruce up your tables with decorations that compliment the theme of the event or the mission of your organization. 2. Distribute a Silent Auction Item Catalog A great tool for all of your guests is to create a simple and attractive catalog in Microsoft Word with pictures and brief descriptions of all the items up for auction. Strategically place the catalog throughout the event on dining tables, at the bar and even in the bathrooms. For a link to download our professionally designed, 100%-customizable auction catalog template for Microsoft Word, click below: If you have a large selection of silent auction items, select only the top 20-30 to include in the catalog. You can also use this list of top items in the event program and to promote the event in email newsletters, on social media and on your website. The printed information will give all guests (even those who can't attend) a chance to browse the items, increasing the chances they will bid.