One of the greatest joys of being a parent is watching your children open their presents on Christmas morning. The looks on their faces has to make you smile as their tear into the wrapped boxes and discover they got exactly what they wanted.
So how did the parents nail it? How did they know what to get and who to get it for? The answer is usually pretty simple. Depending on the child’s age, they asked them directly or they asked them covertly in the months leading up to what many consider the “Happiest Time of the Year.”
This approach is the same approach Event Chairs or the Committee Members in charge of procuring items for a Live Auction should follow.
Your attendees are very strategic when it comes to bidding. Just because they want to support the charity and its cause does not mean they will bid on an item they don’t want. The truth is, they will only bid on items they want – and feel they will be able to use or enjoy.
So the goal is to find items for the live auction that match the wants, needs, interests and personalities of your guests.
But, how do you do that? You ask!
Some prefer the direct route. “A couple wants to donate a trip for two for an African safari. Do you know of anyone who would have a specific interest in that?”
Some prefer the covert route. “I overheard a couple talking about an African safari they took this summer. Boy, it sure sounded like they had a lot of fun!”
Now the question arises – who do you ask?
Well, you don’t ask the people who typically don’t spend their money at your live auction because it won’t matter to them what’s up on the bidding block.
You ask those who do spend their money to support the charity. They are the ones where it’s important to know what they are seeking and will be excited to bid on.
If you don’t want to ask your best supporters or donors directly or indirectly, you can always ask their friends or significant others. They are usually very willing to help out especially since their information is going to the advancement of a worthy cause.
As for what they want. They want trips. They want experiences. These often come up as auction packages or consignment packages.
They also want consumable products. They generally are not looking for items that have to be stored for a lengthy period of time – although there are some exceptions to this rule.
So, the key to having a successful Live Auction at your next fundraising event is to have items your attendees not only want – but on items in which they are willing to bid high.
Knowing what your guests will bid on in advance – or will have a huge interest in – goes a long way in adding to your bottom line. So ask the questions that need to be asked – and ask the right people. If they end up with the highest bid they just might be as delighted as a child on Christmas morning.
Robertson is considered one of the premier professional benefit auctioneers working in the United States today. In the past 20 years, Robertson has conducted hundreds of benefit auctions throughout Florida and the Southeastern United States and annually raises millions of dollars for a variety of not-for-profit organizations, schools and charities.
For more information about Scott Robertson of Scott Robertson Auctioneers visit his Web site “The Voice of Experience” at www.thevoe.com or call (239) 246-2139.