Ahh summertime – the four months out of the year when people relax and recharge their batteries. Families head out on vacation. Picnics are held in local parks. Florida folks tend to head to cooler climates. And charities reconnect with their donors.
Oh, did that last one throw you off? Well, let me explain.
Summertime is the best time to reach out to those donors and supporters who gave so generously at your last fundraiser or auction. That’s because your event was probably held between October and May so you’re in that ‘tween stage. The last event is a distant memory but the next event is heading for the spotlight.
It’s always important to remind your donors and supporters that the money they gave last time is being utilized successfully and frugally. Saying thank you – whether it be by spoken word or written note – is important and much appreciated by those who gave.
But it’s even more important that your donors and supporters understand the money they gave previously is being invested wisely and really changing the lives of those for whom the donation was intended.
This summertime reconnection with donors and supporters should be packaged in a three-level message. Here’s an example.
Let’s say a portion of the money raised at your last event was going toward funding reading or math tutoring sessions for students. The message you send to donors and supporters should include the following:
2) A Message From The Tutor. This person is not only the engineer guiding the train of knowledge, but is an eye witness to the progress of the life-enhancing, one-student classroom.
3) A Message From The Director or CEO. Yes, this is from whom donors and supporters would typically expect to receive a message. This person is important since he or she can give an overall picture of the program, explain how many students the program helped and how it made a difference in their lives. This is also a good note to
include a simple sentence of “save the date” to reconfirm the date of your upcoming event.
Of course, this technique can be tailor made to reflect the charity you represent. So, even if it’s the dog days of summer, be sure to reconnect with your donors and supporters. This is the ideal time of the year to let them know their previous donation is being put to good use.
This will accomplish two things. It will make them feel good about the money they gave and just might open their wallets a little wider or make their checks a little heavier the next time they attend your event.
Well, another year has come and gone. And I’m happy to report 2016 was another record-breaking year for Scott Robertson Auctioneers.
We hosted 68 fundraising auctions during those 52 weeks. And as New Years’ Eve turned into New Years’ Day, the combined total of those auctions reached $35,319,700. Our previous record, which was set in 2015, was just under $29,438,000.
When 2012 started, Sara Rose Bytnar and I had set a personal goal to raise $50 million for charities and organizations within four years. In March of last year, we crossed the $100 million mark. That doubled our original goal in just four years and three months. Here are the actual annual totals for the past five years.
2013 – $21,757,360
2014 – $28,152,250
2015 – $29,437,980
2016 – $35,319,70
Although we are proud of every auction we host, we are especially delighted in six auctions. They include:
In addition to raising record-setting dollars, 2016 held some other highlights for Sara and I.
To start with, Sara competed in the International Auctioneer Championship, and was named First Runner-Up. In the world of auctioneering this is a huge honor.
I was selected to be on the Education Committee for the National Auctioneers Associations’ Conference & Show which will be held in Columbus, Ohio in July. I’m currently lining up presenters on my favorite subject – and passion – “How to Make the Most of Your Benefit Auction.”
In August, I presented at the Benefit Auctioneers Summit, sponsored by the National Auctioneers Association and held in San Diego, CA. One hundred twenty four of the top fundraising auctioneers in the USA attended this year’s event.
Speaking of the National Auctioneers Association, at last summer’s Conference & Show, I took a 3-day course on Social Media marketing. The class dealt with Facebook specifically and was very educational. Sara had taken this class previously and convinced me of its importance. We are firm believers that you need to constantly be reinventing yourself by keeping up with the times. And you simply cannot ignore the impact social media has on today’s world. Even the world of Benefit Auctions.
And finally, I was selected to do 3 live webinars on the subject of Time Lines for Benefit Auctions. These webinars are co-hosted and sponsored by Winspire, a company that offers travel and trip experiences for auctions and other charitable events on a consignment basis.
My first webinar was held in December. It dealt with the subject of Silent Auction timelines and more than 650 people, from around the country, registered for it. On Tuesday, January 17, I’ll be discussing the topic of timelines for Live Auctions and on Tuesday, January 31, I’ll be discussing the topic of timelines for Special Appeals aka Fund-a-Need. Each webinar lasts an hour-and-a-half.
For more information regarding the webinars and to register to listen to them once they’re recorded and aired live, go to our website www.thevoe.com.
So, that wraps up 2016. It was a very rewarding and satisfying 365 days. But, a new year is now upon us. We have new challenges to meet. More money to raise. And more children, families, and animals to help.
People often ask “So Scott, what makes you different from your competition?”
And really the answer is two-fold. First, there’s my performance the evening of the event (or the day of the event)…whenever it happens to be. So it’s my performance on stage.
But the second, and possibly the most important, is the consulting that I’m able to do with your organization prior to the event.
See, fundraising auctions are all that I do. I eat, sleep, and breathe them all day, EVERY DAY. This is not a side line for me. This is not a secondary type of thing. This is what I do.
When you call, I answer the phone. When you send an email, I respond. And that makes a huge difference in your fundraising success.
You know, there’s lots of tips and tricks and nuances that go on with fundraising auctions and I stay right on top of those trends.
So when you retain my services, not only do you get Scott Robertson the performance auctioneer, you also get Scott Robertson, the fundraising auction consultant.
Not all charity auctioneers are made the same. Some…
You know it seems like 50% of the time when I’m doing an event for the first time, the same question always comes up, right in the heart of the event.
When the silent auction is going on and it’s about to be closed down, someone will come rushing up and say, “Wait, wait! We can’t close the silent auction. We don’t have enough bids!”
Well I’m telling you, ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t follow your timeline, if you don’t close on the timeline…BIG, BIG MISTAKE.
Hi, Scott Robertson here and yes, I’m dressed in a tuxedo. I wear a tuxedo every day!
No, just kidding! But I do wear a tuxedo at almost every fundraising event. Why? Because I want people to know who’s in charge when the auction gets started.
See, that’s real important to establish a presence at an event. Not in a dictator manner. But rather just so that people have confidence and understand who’s in charge, who’s leading the event. That’s who you want leading your event is a true leader. And the tuxedo makes me stand out a little more, my voice takes over from there, and everybody wins. We’re all looking for leadership. At a fundraising auction, I consider that my job.
Today we’re gonna talk about “saying NO to status quo.”
You know, fundraising events need to be fun and they need to be fresh. And they need to be tweaked every year to make them fun and fresh and exciting for your guests to attend. You know 93% of people who attended fundraising events surveyed replied that the reason they attend is because of fun. And fun generally translates into “fun and fresh” which means saying no to status quo.
You know, fundraising events trend. And fundraising ideas trend. Where do you get these new ideas?
Today we’re gonna talk about the differences between a commercial auctioneer and a fundraising auctioneer. One of the main differences is the auction chant. See, a commercial auctioneer is selling product and a fundraising auctioneer is really selling to people. There’s a distinct difference.
At commercial auctions, people are generally auction savvy. They attend auctions on a regular basis and that commercial auctioneer is able to go much faster. In fact when I was selling at a commercial auction, I would generally sell 80 to 100 items an hour. That’s fast! At a fundraising auction, the rate is generally around 20 items per hour. Let me give you a difference in the chant. At a commercial auction it would sound more like:
(spoken in a rapid cadence)
“Two thousand dollars is bid, now three thousand, three thousand and four. Four now five. Five now six and seven thousand. Seven thousand now eight. Eight thousand? Sold! Seven thousand dollars!”
And at a fundraising auction it would go more along the line of…
Hi Scott Robertson here. Today we’re going to talk about momentum at your fundraising auction.
When you start the live auction you need to start with momentum and keep that momentum rolling all the way through to the conclusion of the live auction. Don’t interrupt it with pulling raffle tickets, speeches, or anything!
There is one exception to the rule and that is perhaps in the middle or at the end you can do what we call Fund a Need that’s okay as long as it fits in to the flow of the entire event. But once the live auction gets started, maintain that momentum and that will allow you to have success.
Do not interrupt the momentum. You’ll be disappointed if you do. Listen to your professional fundraising auctioneer. They’ll be singing the same song that I’m singing which is keep the momentum rolling.
If you’d like a consultation with a professional who can help you exceed your fundraising goals, I’d love to help. Please contact me to set up a meeting.
You know I’ve enjoyed a lot of success in the fundraising auction business and I LOVE setting new records for events. It’s absolutely wonderful. And people often ask “So Scott, how can your percentages of establishing new records be so high?’ Well, it’s about confidence…and really, confidence in three areas.