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In a previous webinar, we shared the "10 deadly sins," or costly mistakes, seen most often at charity auctions. Number 3 on our list: Putting out the wrong items for your audience. To get high returns on your fundraising event, you want auction items that have wide appeal, generate excitement, and are perceived as highly valuable among your donors.
When it comes to charity auctions, many organizers simply "don't know what they don't know." Unfortunately, a lack of professional expertise is the #1 reason events fall short of their revenue goals. To help provide the expertise needed for success, we interviewed Cheryl Parker, certified benefit auctioneer specialist in San Diego, Calif., for a recent episode of event fundraising podcast Events with Benefits. Parker shares her simple - yet often overlooked - strategies for generating as much revenue as possible at auction events.
Question: What do you think is the ideal number of items for a typical live auction? 6, 8, 15 or more? We asked this in our last webinar and got a wide variety of responses: The correct answer is indeed 8 to 12 items. Here's why: No matter how entertaining or engaging your auctioneer may be, people will only listen to his or her banter ("25, 25, 5, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, holding at 45...") for so long. Once the crowd starts tuning out the auction, control of the room can be lost very quickly to table chatter and mingling—and the rest of the night's event revenue is in serious trouble. Simply put, the amount of money you make in a live auction drops off the more items you have in your auction. Now, let's say you have too many items. We have nonprofits that go above and beyond the call of auction acquisition duty and end up procuring 20, 25, even 30 items that would be suitable for live auction. What then? And what if you've procured too few? Read on for 4 useful solutions to common live auction problems. Problem 1: Too many items "Did you say 8 to 12 live auction items? We have 25! What should we do with our extra items?" Good news: Having more than 12 high-quality items that would be appropriate for a live auction is no problem at all!
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. The collective sum of trusty auction standbys—think donated gift baskets, restaurant gift cards and jewelry—doesn’t draw in as much revenue as you’d like. Worse, they don’t generate the kind of “buzz” that gets people in the door, and give donors the impression of a "been there done that" event rather than an exciting shopping spree. The good news: Careful planning and some creativity can help you curate an auction catalog worth talking about. In this post, we’ll review a few essential strategies to set up your auction for success. Tip #1: Form an enthusiastic, well-informed committee dedicated to auction item procurement. It can be tempting to task a development coordinator, volunteer manager or even the executive director of your organization with procuring donated items—in addition to everything they’re already doing to get ready for the event.
Tapping into your donors’ existing travel budgets is an excellent strategy for raising money. It gives your supporters the chance to use money they already have set aside for vacations to take an exciting trip and support a good cause at the same time.