A big part of successful charity auctions is strategically leveraging the auction items themselves.
While putting on fundraising events can (and should) be a lot of work — after all, you get what you put in — they are incredibly rewarding when successfully run. Best of all, the number of potential fundraising event ideas are as endless as there are potential donors.
If you're looking to try something new with your fundraisers, a great place to start is developing a list of donor personas. Who is your ideal donor? Where do they work and live? How do they like to spend their free time? What are their other interests and hobbies? Answering these questions will help you create a list of event ideas that target their interests and are thus more likely to be successful.
Together with co-hosts Renee Zau from DonationMatch.com and benefit auctioneer Danny Hooper, each week we aim to bring nonprofit staff, volunteers, event planners, PTOs and more a wide variety of cutting-edge insights into the world of event fundraising. The first 3 episodes are available free on iTunes and EventswithBenefits.com.
Check out the sample topics and special guests we have on deck for the first 10 episodes...
- Fundraising Auctions with Jim Nye the Auction Guy, professional fundraising auctioneer
- Golf Tournaments with Holly Kennedy, CEO and co-founder of Kennedy Golf Tournament
- Legal Considerations with Mary Tovella Dowling, attorney at For Purpose Law Group
- Partnerships with Parker Pike, member of Board of Directors of San Diego Nonprofit Association
- Perseverance with Lynda West, nonprofit coach and mentor
- Thinking BIG with Noah McMahon, founder and CEO of Anonymous
- Auction Timeline Tips with Scott Robertson, professional fundraising auctioneer
- Mobile Bidding with Debby Roth-Bush, Relationship Marketing Manager at GreaterGiving
- Donor Development with Carlos Leija, Chief Development Officer at Orangewood Children’s Foundation
- Are Charity Auctions Dying? with Nelson Jay, professional fundraising auctioneer
Each episode is 30 to 40 minutes long, making it the perfect way to brighten your daily commute, pass a lunch hour and gain a treasure trove of new ideas for your next event.
To learn more, listen to the first few episodes and subscribe, click below:
For more on how to listen to a podcast, the complete list of our first 10 special guests and topics, and...what exactly is a podcast?...read on.
What is a "podcast"?
A podcast is simply an audio file published on the Internet. There are countless podcasts spanning hundreds of categories from business to entertainment to true crime (ever heard of NPR's runaway hit Serial?) and more. In our case, Events with Benefits is all about nonprofits and fundraising.
On Tuesday we shared 10 components of an effective charity event sponsorship request letter, plus rolled out the Winspire Sponsorship Kit templates that simplify the process from start to finish.
So, let’s say you’ve written and signed your letters, printed out the forms and shipped out all your sponsorship proposals. Now what?
Initial requests are only half the story. Now is your chance to maximize the impact of those letters by following up well with prospective sponsors.
Securing corporate sponsorships is a big task, and event volunteers and committee members need to have an organized follow up strategy prepared as soon as letters are sent. To assist, read on for the fundamental do's and don'ts of pursuing charity event sponsorships. Learn how to best position your proposals for success—and even turn a "no" into an enthusiastic “yes"!
Click here to view the infographic →
You've got enough on your plate with planning your upcoming charity auction, so it's easy to forget some of the tax and compliance standards that are required to run a legitimate fundraising event in your state. Such standards include charitable solicitation registration requirements, special event insurance, documentation for each transaction, accounting requirements and even specific regulations regarding sales tax.
The following infographic lays out a few of the key items to bear in mind as you plan your next charity auction event. These are only a high-level overview of regulation and compliance issues that you may encounter with your fundraising event, so be sure to work with a tax, accounting, and compliance expert that can provide guidance for the requirements in your region.
Please note that the information in the following infographic is provided as general guidelines. Contact a tax or accounting professional for an official opinion on the regulation requirements for your nonprofit organization.
Planning a charity event for the first time can be totally overwhelming. With countless things to coordinate, numerous people to please and the pressure to justify the event by raising enough money - all while staying within budget - can make even the savviest event planner apprehensive.
It’s time to step back, take a deep breath and adopt the right mindset when you plan a fundraiser for the first time. What is that mindset? Believe it or not, it’s not just about how much money you raise.
The most important thing to focus on for first-time events is establishing a strong foundation for the future. Whether it’s your Nonprofit’s first ever fundraising gala or you’re adding another event to the annual social calendar, your focus needs to be on creating a legacy event that will continue yielding dividends for years to come.
1. Create a memorable experience
All too often, Nonprofits will spend that first year planning an event with a hyper focus on generating revenue – which is great – but it usually comes at the expense of the event experience itself. Make sure you go the extra mile to ensure your donors have a great time. This means doing things you may want to skimp on to save costs your first year, such as a hosting your event at a nice venue, having an open bar or hiring a live band.
2. Focus on second-year profit
Hosting a gala or golf tournament for the first time should - and most likely will - generate some revenue for your cause, but don’t worry if it’s not a grand slam in the fundraising department. That money will come. Donors who look forward to attending your event year after year produce far more revenue than a donor who comes to your event just once.
3. Concentrate on donor development
Fundraising events are a wonderful social activity. They offer a chance for your charity to demonstrate the good it has done while extending gratitude to those who have made it all possible. Nonprofits that put the effort into creating legacy events understand that developing these
In part 3 of this series we talk about methods for distribution.
When you’re done writing your press release, look it over from an outsiders perspective. Does it pique your interest? Would you want to know more about the event or the cause? When you feel confident with the release, you have several options for distributing it to local media outlets.
Build Relationships with Media Contacts
One of the best ways to ensure your press release gets picked up is to cultivate relationships with media contacts. Just like with potential donors, spend some time well before the actual solicitation - in this case prior to sending press releases - building a relationship with the right people at the news outlets in your community. Try to identify the editors and reporters who would be most interested in what you have to say.
It starts with a simple phone call or hand written letter – not an email – introducing yourself and the organization you work for. Position yourself as an expert on whatever topic your Nonprofit mission is centered around and simply offer yourself as a resource.
Whether your Nonprofit helps foster children or manages environmental projects, explain your mission and let them know you are always willing to offer a perspective. Follow up with these people every month or two just to check in and see how they’re doing. These days, hand written letters – especially for print media folks who tend to be a little more old school – can go a long way.
During this courtship (yep – that’s what you’re doing!), don’t forget to personally invite them to any events you have, big or small, regardless of whether you are trying to get publicity.
How do you get their contact information? Sometimes all it takes is a name. You can usually find this on an organization’s website or in the publication itself. Once you have a name, you can send letters or call the front desk and talk your way through. Another way to get through is to contact the sales department who can usually point you in the right direction.