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June 19, 2015 Un-complicate Your Fundraising Auction Processes

What is your bookkeeping system at your nonprofit auction event?  When you sell a live auction item or conduct the Special Appeal/Fund-A-Need are you following old habits?  I have seen nonprofits doing unnecessary double work when utilizing bid numbers with their guests (and I think the use of bid numbers is a must when conducting an auction event).

When bid numbers are issued to guests as they arrive at the event pertinent information should be collected on each guest.  This includes name, mailing address, phone number and email address.  The guest’s bid number becomes their “credit card” for the evening.  Any time they participate in a fundraising activity the charge is placed on their account and then everything is paid for at the end of the event. Keeping guests from digging out their pocket book or billfold to get cash can help you generate more revenue – every time they go pulling out cash during your event they are reminded how much they are spending.

By having a credit card on file guests can make their purchases in a more relaxed, uncomplicated manner.

I have seen nonprofits require the winning bidders of both the live auction and Fund-A-Need sign an acknowledgment of that transaction AND get their personal information AGAIN, even though it was taken down at registration. This can frustrate your guests. It may be that the nonprofit has this system in place because it’s how things were done before they began issuing bid numbers to their guests and they just never cut out this unnecessary step. It often takes several volunteers to scurry about during the live auction and Fund-A-Need to obtain this information.  Sometimes it’s difficult for the volunteers to locate the appropriate guest to get their information.

Maybe the reason your nonprofit facilitates this type of acknowledgement activity is born of a concern that guests will leave your event without paying for their items. If this is the case I recommend you include a statement that can be signed when guests register which states they agree to the auction terms. The terms include wording about payment, among other things, and can be provided to you by your Fundraising Auction Professional.

Take a look at your auction processes and cut out any unnecessary steps that might frustrate your guests and/or volunteers.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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