In this post: "Procure Buzzworthy Travel Packages in 2016" webinar recording and part 1 of our must-read Q&A.
Most charity fundraisers are not complete without a dazzling live and silent auction. And for quality items that generate "buzz," drive ticket sales and raise bidding, travel is a proven charity auction bestseller—yet one of the most difficult items to procure.
To the rescue: incredible Experiences reserved on consignment.
In an informative and entertaining webinar, we teamed up with our friends at Greater Giving to explain how consignment travel helps you raise more money for your cause. Topics covered include:
- 3 reasons travel performs well in auctions
- How to host a procurement party
- How to procure travel packages
- 4 key strategies to consider when using no-risk travel...and more!
At the conclusion of the webinar, we received a lot of great questions. Read on to see what fellow nonprofit professionals are wondering when it comes to running a fundraising auction.
Q: I like the idea of getting underwriters for travel packages. Do you have samples for asking a donor to underwrite a trip? And can anyone underwrite? - Jenny
A: Getting consignment Experiences underwritten is a great strategy to capture 100% of a winning bid!
You'll approach an underwriting ask the same way you would for other event expenses like invitations, programs, catering, the venue and band. However, travel packages offer even better additional incentives that can be very persuasive. For example, help potential underwriters imagine covering the expenses of an opulent New York Long Weekend...
This amazing 3-night trip is the crown jewel in our live auction and a high point of the year's biggest fundraiser. All ears are on the auctioneer as he recognizes you and your company's generous gift, to the cheers and applause of a sophisticated local audience. Your gift encourages long-time donors Mr. and Mrs. Smith to enthusiastically bid, knowing all of the proceeds will go to a great cause. As the curtain rises at Phantom of the Opera, a captivated Mrs. Smith reaches for her husband's hand, and the sweet couple falls in love all over again. The next week, they come and thank you personally for the wonderful memories.
Anyone can underwrite a package, and busy individuals and local businesses alike will appreciate how easy it is to underwrite a trip. They'll get significant name recognition at your event without having to do any additional work.
For more tips on getting items underwritten, check out the following Winspire News resources.
- 3 Reasons Donor Sponsored Experiences Are Awesome
- How to Generate Event Sponsorships With a Charity Auction Catalog
- Silent Auction Forms: The Essential list (check out "Sponsor Request Letter")
Q: You mentioned surveying your guests before an event to find out what trips or experiences they'd like to bid on. Do you have any samples or templates of survey questions to ask? - Jerry
A: That's a great idea, Jerry. For a guide to surveying donors before your event, see "Why Surveying Donors Can Boost Fundraising Revenue at Your Next Charity Auction".
Q: Our top donors and constituents are very busy people. How can we encourage them to participate in a pre-event survey? - Rosa
A: When reaching out to your general support base or an entire guest list, stick to a short online survey. A mass email campaign with just a few questions is low-impact, non-intrusive and fairly easy to put together. To encourage participation, one easy way to almost guarantee responses is to include an incentive. For example: Fill out our survey and you'll be entered into a drawing for a $50 Amazon gift card! You could even offer a raffle prize related to your nonprofit, like a special lunch with the Executive Director or the exclusive opportunity to participate in some aspect of your event.
As for your extra-special VIP donors, it never hurts to take them out to lunch. Not only does this give you a chance to talk about the items they'd like to see in your upcoming fundraiser, you can also hear their feedback on the event as a whole and the overall direction of your organization. Major supporters enjoy providing input about causes they care about.
Q: If our event is in November, when should we start procuring auction packages or looking at no-risk travel? - Michelle
A: It's never too early to start procurement. Although consignment trips can typically be reserved with minimal prior notice, we recommend talking to your donors at least 45 to 90 days out from your event. Why? The sooner you reserve big-ticket, "whiz bang" items like Experiences in your auction catalog, the more time you have to promote the event using these trips, create excitement and raise the perceived value of all your items and the event as a whole.
For a sample auction planning timeline, check out "Event Timeline: 4 Crucial Steps for Acquiring Fundraiser Auction Items".
Q: If a trip costs, say, $2000, do we start at cost or below cost, as is normal in auctions? - Shanna
A: This is a great question and one that's up for debate. It can depend on the style of your auctioneer. You might start a little bit below the reserve price (20% above the Nonprofit Price) just to generate some bidding momentum to eventually get above reserve price. How you do this is entirely up to you, and a Fundraising Specialist can offer more insights on the process.
Q: Can you explain again how 1 package can be sold to 3 bidders for an equal amount? - Kiana
A: Sure. Selling multiples is one of the biggest benefits to using no-risk consignment travel in a charity auction, and here's a quick snapshot of how it works:
Imagine you're auctioning off a $3,000 Experience. The auctioneer is rippin' it on the mic, and 5 bidders are going back and forth to win the trip. Two bidders now drop out, and bidding has gone to $1,000 above the reserve price you set (3 guests bidding $4,000 for a $3,000 item). Our advice: Once bidding tapers off, have the auctioneer stop bidding and sell it to all 3 guests at $4,000 each. Even if the winning bid eventually gets all the way to, say, $5,000, you'll still make $1,000 more by selling to all 3.
You can do the same thing on a silent auction bid sheet by selling the same package to 4 or 5 top bidders at the same lower price.
For more information on selling multiples, head to:
- Going, Going ...Gone? Why Selling to the Highest Bidder Doesn't Always Make the Most Cents
- Amplify Event Revenue by Selling Auction Packages Multiple Times
A big thank you to GreaterGiving for putting together an awesome webinar! We hope we were able to provide some insight into questions you may have about event fundraising. Stay tuned for part 2 of the Q&A, and feel free to ask your own questions from the webinar in the comments below.