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Archive for September, 2014

Working Cooperatively

Posted by Scott On September 18th


While growing up in rural Kentucky my family attended a number of barn raising affairs. It was so heartening to see a community come together, despite the social and economic differenced in participating families, for a common goal.

This childhood memory came to surface earlier this year when I was asked to serve on a four member committee with the goal of creating an event which would raise funds for the National Auctioneers Foundation.  The fundraising event, which took place during the National Auctioneers Convention held recently in Louisville, Kentucky, doubled the previous best attempt of raising funds.

I was honored by the request and looked forward to working with three colleagues, two high-powered and well-respected professional benefit auctioneers and the CEO of the National Auctioneers Association.

During our first meeting, each and every one of us, especially the three professional benefit auctioneers, thought we had the perfect recipe for success.  Unfortunately, all three recipes came from different fundraising cookbooks.

But, we all had the utmost respect for one another and knew we had to work cooperatively to accomplish the goal we were asked to perform.

So, the compromising began.  When someone had an idea, which translated into a possible solution, the rest of us listened with a great deal of reverence and weighed it against our suggestion for the good of the committee.

The final result was a very strong plan.  A plan we all whole-heartedly believed in and felt very good about. The fact our fundraising effort doubled the previous effort is a prime example how working cooperatively together leads to success.

We could never have done it if we hadn’t set our emotions and egos aside. No one on our committee threw a fit because their idea wasn’t used and no one walked away from the committee because he/she felt slighted and unappreciated because their suggestion wasn’t part of our final plan.

Unfortunately, I can’t say the same for some of the volunteer auction committees I’ve worked with in the past.

I see this happen on a regular basis. It’s the old “It’s my way or the highway” mentality.

I’m sure you’ve all experienced it. You have a committee member – or members – who let their emotions get involved.

They get ticked off because their idea or ideas aren’t being used so they start to spew their displeasure to others creating a controversy where no controversy should be.

This attitude and action kills a fundraising event with the fallout being lower dollars generated.

Donors do not want controversy when they are donating. They want everyone pulling on the rope in the same direction.  They do not want to see a tug-of-war.

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It’s all about everyone agreeing to work cooperatively and then “walking-the-walk” and “talking-the-talk” by working cooperatively.

As a committee member, we all have different ideas. We all bring different things to the table.  And we all have different areas of expertise. It’s those differences which make a committee strong.

The magic comes when the differences become unified and everyone is pulling in the same cooperative direction.  A good old fashion barn-raising taught me that lesson at a very early age.



 © 2014 Scott Robertson Auctioneers. All Rights Reserved. All content is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced in any form without express written consent of the author.

Staying in Touch with Donors

Posted by Scott On September 11th


Staying in Touch with DonorsAhh summertime – the four months out of the year when people relax and rejuvenate 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.3

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:

1)   A Message From A Student.  Nothing is more powerful than a grateful quote from a student who is being helped by the tutoring program because the donation is shaping his or her life for the better.

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.