Meeting with a benefit auctioneer


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February 10, 2017 Getting Your Board on Board

A nonprofit’s board of directors consists of a variety of personalities and proficiencies. While all board members enjoy rolling up their sleeves and using their resources towards helping a mission they are passionate about, some will excel at certain tasks better than at others. You’ll have board members who will bring charisma and charm into the mix while others will be number-crunchers and systematic-minded.

Those with charisma and charm are great when you need favors called in to get that new bus, fund a scholarship or find a cure. These are the people you want out in the community procuring live auction items. They are not afraid to ask anyone for anything!

The “systems people” are wonderful for things like keeping the budget intact and making sure everyone stays on task.

When it comes to live auction fundraisers, sometimes it can be difficult to get your board members involved outside of making the big decisions. With this in mind, here are a few tips to “get your board on board” for your upcoming fundraiser.

Let’s first talk live auction goals. A good rule of thumb is to expect that you will raise 70% of fair market value for your items with a live auction versus a silent auction. Hopefully this number is higher. With this formula in mind, I suggest you schedule a brief meeting with your board members to break down how much money you want to raise in your live auction. Once you have that goal number, determine how much time has been allotted for the live auction. For timing purposes, factor in 3-4 minutes per live auction item. Do the math and you’ll know the number of items you need to sell in your live auction and how much each item needs to bring to reach your goal. But before you bet the farm on that goal, you need to know if the guests in the room the night of your event will give enough to reach your goal. Will they spend ($X,XXX) on these items? If they won’t, you either need different guests, different items, or both. Or a different goal.

Don’t forget to remind your board of the number one reason people don’t attend fund-raising events; because they haven’t been asked. Instruct your board members to pick up the phone and personally invite their most influential friends and acquaintances within the community to your event. This adds quality and notoriety to your fundraiser. And gets the right people in the room to raise the most revenue.

Lastly, ask the board members what they would buy if they had ($X,XXX) to spend. Then find out who has those items and determine how you can acquire them. This exercise is twofold. The board members may have a similar trip/experience they want to donate plus they are helping obtain items THEY want to bid on, thus creating a built-in bidder.

Engage your nonprofit board to help get the right guests to the event and to help acquire auction items those guests will clamor to bid on.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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