02 Sep Auction Fundraising: Bidding for a Cause
Auction Fundraising: Bidding for a Cause
Why run an auction fundraiser?
Auctions are a great way to engage and be interactive with the current donor and potential future donor population. The purpose of the auction itself is to offer goods, services and opportunities that are bid-up by donors. This has a 3-fold purpose: increase donations, increase donor pool, increase awareness in the cause.
Using an auction to fundraise is fun for the participants and can be done small or larges scale depending upon time. Donations are increased due the auction activity itself from bidders plus the donors of the goods and services for auction items. Auctions lend to sharing and caring. Bidders are energized by the auction offerings and share the auction news with friends and family increasing the breadth of potential bidders i.e. donors. This type of organic compassion widens the audience of the mission and vision for the charity or group. Auction fundraising increases organic compassion.
Auction Donations & Participation:
Items donated at auction cost zero in terms of financial outlay. Companies large and small have marketing budgets and community support and philanthropy budgets to help many types of groups. Donations to local causes are a win-win. The organization receiving the donations turn this into dollars. Corporate goodwill is earned by businesses donating and participating in charitable giving.
Organic compassion is derived through goodwill when reaching out and receiving community donations. Donations are increased due the auction activity itself from bidders plus the donors of the goods and services for auction items. Auctions lend to sharing and caring. Bidders are energized by the auction offerings and share the auction news with friends and family increasing the breadth of potential bidders i.e. donors. This type of organic compassion widens the audience of the mission and vision for the charity or group.
Selling Tickets & Filling the Seats
Nonprofits pour enormous amounts of energy and assets into creating wonderful events, yet we sometimes still find ourselves scrambling at the last minute to sell those unsold tickets and fill those vacant seats.
Top five ways to get your guest list filled without making yourself crazy:
- Choose A Realistic Ticket Price
- Make Your Event Irresistible
- Honor an Influencer
- Use a Volunteer Event Committee to Plan Your Event
- Use Social Media Effectively to Build Excitement
All the effort your committee has put into the planning makes them determined for the event to be a success.
Silent Auction Fundraising
Silent Auction Fundraising is when all activities are conducted at a location, each attendee is assigned a bidder number to retains anonymity.
Each auction item has a bid sheet placed in front of the goods and/or a display page. Donors bid silently on bid sheets until a set time. When time is called the bid sheets are collected and the highest bidder is the winner.
PROS of silent auction: social competition can be healthy for raising bids anonymity for bidders auction activity can occur while other presentations are ongoing actual goods can be on display many times at an event alcohol is available, donors tend to be more generous in a spirited atmosphere last minute bidding frenzy can increase final bids
CONS of silent auction: limits bidding to attendees only auction items need to appeal to the audience that does attend attending the silent auction event usually incurs a couvert charge, attendees may use their philanthropy budget on attending the event rather bidding on auction items location, date and time may encumber a high attendance rate during the silent auction filling the time between open and close entertainment must be provided to keep donors on location and bidding
Live Auction Fundraising
Live auction fundraisers are conducted by an emcee or auctioneer at an event. Live auction tends to be pragmatic useful for larger ticket items. Multiple bidders will need have interest in the auction item to encourage the back and forth bidding activity. Live auctions do well when kept to no more than one hour.
PROS of live auction: using a talented emcee can increase bidder activity social competition can be healthy for securing bids bidders may like the spotlight and prefer live action bidders tend get caught up in the moment and many times at an event alcohol is available, donors tend to be more generous in a spirited atmosphere flexibility is inherent with a live bidding, if an starting bid seems too high the live auction can create the urgency to bid emcee can help sell the item with a more detailed description or modify the starting bid gain interest to initiate activity
CONS of live auction: items at live auction are higher start prices so may exclude some bidders based upon person budget constraints only bidders in attendance can bid
Online Auction Fundraising
Online auctions can reach a much broader audience.Online auctions add a layer of flexibility for both the auction itself and the the participants. Similar to traditional silent auctions there is a start time, end time, and the bidding process takes place in between but completely web based.
PROS of online auction: increase the number of bidders simply by sharing the auction website online allows donors to bid from the comfort of their own location bidders can live and be anywhere there is internet access auction website can offer detailed descriptions of auction items and many photos bidding and rebidding can be instantaneous proxy bidding is easily be managed buy-it-now can be added to the auction auction can be open for any timeframe extend the auction time from a few hours to days if need be No need for the additional workload or making and marketing an actual event. No need to sell tickets for an event that may compete with the pocketbook of bidding on auction items
CONS of online auction: social backdrop to the event goes away donations need to be delivered or shipped after the event has concluded.
Online post auction tips: establish and communicate post auction protocol clearly donation distributions done as an inbound -come pick up your goods as specified day and time or out-bound by mailing or shipping. Lessens a personal connection to the event.
Auction Need to Know
Do brush up on your online compliance knowledge. In the United States 41 states require charities to file a formal registration prior to soliciting contributions. In other words, before they even ask. This is in addition to being a 501(c)(3) exempt organization in the eyes of the IRS. Sounds complicated but most likely you have these steps in place already. Now is good time to check your in with your board and review bylaws.
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Special thank you to A.J. Steinberg from Queen Bee Fundraising for contributing to this article,
for more expert advise visit Queen Bee Fundraising.
Special thank you to Auctria for contributing to this article,
for more in depth reading on auction fundraising visit auctria.com.