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March 3, 2017 Avoiding Gift Certificate Headaches at Your Fundraiser

While I work a lot of fundraising events, I also attend many as a guest.  One thing I’ve noticed from both of those perspectives is a particular no-no when it comes to facilitating the use of gift certificates.

On many occasions, I’ve seen original gift certificates used in the silent and/or live auction item displays. While it’s sad to think one of these could go missing at a fundraising event, it does happen.

Let’s talk about some best practices for gift certificates.

If the certificates are the item, make a copy of the certificate and write “copy” on it then display it as desired. The original will stay in a file. We’ll cover this below.

If the certificates are part of a package, you can choose to enclose the original in a basket that’s wrapped in cellophane or something similar. You can also put a copy in the basket and have the original picked up at checkout (see next paragraph).

To facilitate delivery of original certificates to the winning bidder, I recommend that prior to event night a file system is created to be used at checkout that contains all gift certificates. Each certificate would be in an envelope that is numbered with the corresponding silent or live auction package number, filed away in the file and as guests’ checkout a designated volunteer would be in charge of pulling the certificates and handing them off to the cashier.

Having certificates included in your fundraising auction are a great thing, just make sure you secure the original until the winning bidder arrives to pick it up. This should prevent missing certificates and the grief that goes along with that issue.

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