The 4 Key Components for a Successful Fundraising Auction
Much like there are 4 legs on a bar stool, there are 4 key components to a successful fundraising auction. Take off one of the legs of the bar stool and with some steady balancing, and lots of unnecessary problems you can stay seated provided you are careful. Take away two legs and there is simply no way to remain upright. Fundraising auctions are much the same way, take away one of the four components and while tricky you can still say you had a good event, but it was touch and go with way too much stress. Take away two of the components and you are destined for failure.
So what are the four components you ask………………………………
- Attendance by supporters of your cause who understand the mission of the organization and who wish to help. These folks are generous in nature and have the financial wherewithal to participate in the bidding of the silent and live auction.
- Have the proper items up for bid. The definition of “proper items” is experiences, products, services, and opportunities in which the attendees will have real interest. Gone are the days that if we put in it in the auction the generous attendees will buy it even if they have limited interest in the item. In today’s fundraising auction world buyers exhibit “strategic bidding” and only bid on items that they really like. So analyze your crowd, especially your historic better bidders, and provide appropriate items for their bidding pleasure
- Host your event in the proper venue. Your venue needs to be welcoming to allow your attendees to be comfortable and feel good about the mission of the organization. This means from the time your guests arrive in the parking area or valet, until they have checked out with their items, should all be an enjoyable experience. “Comfortable “can mean many things for your attendees so know your audience and plan ahead. A few items that universally contribute to being comfortable at a fundraising event include but are not limited to:
- Is valet parking courtesy, fast and efficient and/or is general parking convenient for the guests?
- Do your guests feel welcomed upon walking up to check-in or feel like just another number in line like at a sporting event.
- The first drink. Sounds incredibly simple but the getting the attendees their first drink quickly upon arrival sets a positive tone for the rest of the event. A cocktail often helps to sooth any issues that may have occurred prior to their arrival.
- Sound. Is the sound system adequate to hear announcements, presenters, as well as the live auction. Not being able to hear creates a stressful situation for attendees.
- Location. How far did they travel from their home to enjoy the event? Know your attendees and their zip codes and try to plan accordingly. If they are staying over than this point is diminished.
4. Retain the services of a motivating professional fundraising auctioneer to lead your fundraising efforts. A highly qualified professional auctioneer is the best investment you can make for your fundraising event. Part entertainer, part comedian, the good ones are always focused on raising funds and friends to support the mission of your organization. Based upon their experience, knowledge, skill and performance they will far more their cover the fee for the night of the event while reducing your stress all along the way. Plus, your guests want you to hire a professional fundraising auctioneer, because let’s face it; the auctioneer is the primary source of the fundraising as well as the primary source of entertainment. The auction chair and their committee work countless hours all year long to make the event a success, don’t risk the final product in the hands of an amateur.
So my suggestion is take these four components to heart when planning your next fundraising auction. And much like a strong four legged bar……..you have a stable base on which to build on this year and the future.