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Time is money, right? While this likely means something different to each of us, one thing’s for sure: at some point, we question the value of our time. Do you hire a gardener rather than spending half of the weekend doing your own yard work? The answer depends on how much you like getting your hands dirty, whether you have better things to do with your time and if you can afford to pay someone else to do it for you. At work, you have to make similar choices. You have a long list of things to do to make sure your upcoming fundraising event is a success. Where should you focus your efforts? What are the most critical tasks? What do you do best? What could you use help with? And most importantly, how is your time best spent so you get “the most bang for your buck”? Arguably one of the most arduous tasks of planning an event fundraiser is procuring items for your live and silent auctions. The more exciting and valuable items you have in your auction, the more money you will make. Of course, these big ticket items are more difficult to procure: Therein lies the challenge. According to a report published in 2013 by the Corporation for National and Community Service, it is estimated that 64.5 million Americans, or one in four adults, gave 7.9 billion hours of volunteer service in 2012. Of those nearly 8 billion hours of volunteering, the top activities included: Fundraising or selling items to raise money (25.7%); Collecting, preparing, distributing, or serving food (23.8%) Engaging in general labor or transportation (19.8%) Tutoring or teaching (17.9%) While having highly desirable charity auction items at your fundriasing event is a necessity, spending countless hours is not. There you have it. Event fundraising is at the top of the list and equates to over 2 billion volunteer hours spent annually developing auction events and soliciting donors. How much time do you spend? Perhaps you are the Development Director and have a committee of 5-10 volunteers who work on charity auction item procurement. Or maybe you are a “committee of one” and do all of the work yourself. In a recent Winspire survey of Nonprofits, more than 45% of respondents reported spending between 150 and 500 hours procuring and fulfilling auction items. Hard to imagine? Think of it this way: you have 5 people on your committee and you each spend 10 hours a week for 5 weeks leading up to your event – that’s a total of 250 hours right there!