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"Charity auctions are fundraising events that turn into social events, not social events where you hope to raise money. If done correctly, your guests won't know the difference." - Keith Jones, benefit auctioneer A surefire strategy to entertain your audience AND raise as much money as possible for your cause? Turn to a professional benefit auctioneer.
When it comes to hosting a successful fundraising auction, few can do it alone. You'll need several passionate, organized committee chairs with a laser-sharp focus on specific aspects of your event. What are the most essential event chair roles and responsibilities? And how can you find the right person for each job?
We recently received the following email from a Winspire webinar attendee... EMAIL WINSPIRE NEWS Dear Winspire, My board feels that paying $2,500 for a professional, highly-trained benefit auctioneer is out of line, considering a local personality has offered to facilitate the live auction for $250. How should I respond? ~ Lisa Lisa, this is one of the most common concerns we hear from auction organizers across the country, and it's easy to understand why. The number one priority at a fundraising event is to raise money for your cause. When an opportunity to trim costs by 90 percent comes along, you want to consider it! That said, we've found it's more effective to focus on generating more revenue first - then trim costs where you can.
Whether it's your first or fiftieth auction, chances are you could benefit from employing some new techniques to extract money from the audience. There's virtually always money left to give, and new strategies give you the tools to raise more without making guests feel nickel-and-dimed. Today we're joined by Nelson Jay, the "Bowtie Benefit Auctioneer" based in Seattle, Wash. In a recent episode of our podcast Events with Benefits, Jay provided a bevy of ideas from the cutting edge of event fundraising.
There are many different elements that can make up the program of a fundraising event, including speeches, videos, saying grace, singing the national anthem, presenting awards, having a special entertainer and more. But the most important components are the fundraising centerpieces of the night: the fund-a-need, live and silent auctions. With just a few hours to raise as much revenue as possible, it's imperative the auction timeline keep everyone's focus on fundraising. A poorly planned agenda can sink an entire event.
Most event organizers know a big portion of the night's proceeds comes from the fund-a-need, also commonly known as a cash appeal, special appeal or fund-a-cause. Nonetheless, this revenue strategy can be tough to execute properly.
To pull off a successful charity gala, golf tournament, benefit auction and more, profits don't "just happen." Recently we discussed the need for fundraising events to create a profit plan that (1) keeps the focus on fundraising throughout the entire evening and (2) incorporates a wide variety of revenue streams. One income stream nearly every event should use is the cash appeal, also known as a fund-a-need, fund-an-item or fund-a-cause.
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.
The special appeal. The fund-a-need. The funding plea. The "Ask"... The only hotter topic of debate than what to call the special appeal has to be when, exactly, you should schedule it during your charity auction event. Okay, so maybe special appeal placement isn't exactly a burning debate, but it's certainly a subject of discussion within the fundraising community... and it's not hard to see why.
Fundraising auctions are a lot of work. They’re only worth the effort if they pay off in a big way. If your last event didn't meet your financial expectations, perhaps it’s because: 1. You focused on the decorations, dinner and dancing rather than the auction items. You want to show attendees a good time, but only so they’ll spend more.
While live and silent auctions are great ways to get donors to spend money at an event, it's a good idea to incorporate multiple tactics to get your entire audience involved. One popular method is to include a special appeal after your charity auction. What is a Special Appeal? Special appeals, which can go by other names such as “Fund-A-Need”, are commonly used to complement fundraising auctions because they offer attendees who didn't win any charity auction items an opportunity to participate and give.