Silent auctions and online charity auctions have become very popular fundraising initiatives for nonprofit and community organizations. Not only do silent auctions have tremendous fundraising potential, but live events are a great way to bring people from your organization and community together in a meaningful way. For these reasons, many organizations include a fundraising auction as part of their overall nonprofit fundraising strategy.
The Keys to Success
There are many important factors to consider when planning a charity auction, however one of the most important will be obtaining the items to auction off at the event. The more creative you are in sourcing donated items and the more valuable these items are perceived by the auction attendees, the more successful you’ll be in your fundraising efforts. After all, the items are what people are bidding on, and therefore are ultimately bringing in the dollars.
For more helpful tips and steps to help you organize a silent auction or online charity auction event, visit How to Run a Silent Auction.
Be Creative in Sourcing Auction Items
Every fundraising auction typically has some core items that provide a strong base for your auction display and appeal to a broad audience. These items are usually relatively easy to acquire and may include things such as: hotel stays or weekend get-away packages, gift certificates from local restaurants and retail locations, and tickets to professional sporting events.
However, don’t be afraid to think outside the box! Consider soliciting donations in more creative ways, making your silent auction event different than any other charity auction out there! Have you considered service donations? Rather than your run-of-the-mill retail gift certificates, how about a certificate for house cleaning or landscaping services? If your charity auction is part of a high-school fundraising event, why not offer babysitting or yard-work services by the students?
Lastly…use your networks! Find out if anyone in your organization or community has connections to famous celebrities, sports figures or artists. Autographed memorabilia or unique “one-of-a-kind” collectibles may not only bring in higher bids, but also attract a more upscale audience with dollars to spend. They may even attend your auction specifically to bid on a certain item.
Don’t be afraid to purchase auction items. That’s right, not all auction items have to be donated and you are short changing your organization if you aren’t willing to consider purchasing items. DoJiggy offers one-of-a-kind vacation packages that you won’t want to miss. These items can be put on reserve and only purchased when you auction them off for a profit. No risk or upfront costs are involved for your organization.
Promote Your Charity Auction Event
Another important factor is promoting your event. You can have the rarest of treasures to auction off at your event, but if nobody knows about it…the items do you no good. Use your networks to inform people about the fundraiser. Post an announcement on your website, send an email invitation, ask volunteers, sponsors and participants to help spread the word. Issue a press release to local media with information about the charity event making sure to emphasize how donations will support your cause. Be sure to highlight rare items that will be up for bid, as well as any activities or entertainment that might be part of your charity auction event. Be sure to list your auction event fundraising website and sell tickets online.
Allow for Online Bidding
Taking your auction online opens the event up to a much larger audience that extends beyond your local community. An online auction allows for more detailed information about each item up for bid including: product images, item values and reserve amounts, links to the donator’s web page, optional “Buy Now” pricing and more. In addition, it gives people who are unable to attend the actual event a chance to bid on items. An online auction can be easily promoted through social networking channels, email blasts, and links from your nonprofit website. Today, people often prefer conducting business online as it’s easy, accessible from anywhere in the world, and allows for secure payment processing…so don’t discount taking your auction online. If you do take your auction online, charity auction software allows administrators to easily post auction items and provides a secure way for people to place bids.
Auction Resources and Tools
DoJiggy’s affordable event management software allows organizations to sell auction and charity gala tickets and sponsorships online, via a customizable website template.
We’ve posted a number of helpful charity auction resources and tools to help you get started including: charity auction “quick tips”, guidelines to help you create silent auction rules, and downloadable silent auction forms such as: silent auction bid sheets, item donation forms, sponsor request letters, and more.