June 9, 2017 7 Myths About Fundraising Auctions
Auctioneer’s “chants” are all the same – Not at all. An auctioneer will vary their chant depending on the type of item being sold. Automobile and cattle auctioneers are more rapid-fire with a beautiful cadence. I love to listen to them. Personal property auctioneers are slower but not as fast as those who auction real estate. A fundraising auctioneer has a chant that is similar to that of a real estate auctioneer but includes the addition of light-hearted audience persuasion. It is imperative that your guests understand the auctioneer while they are chanting so they can engage, bid and support your charity.
If I have to pay for a fundraising auctioneer it will affect my bottom line – While it’s true you will be paying a professional fundraising auctioneer, this is one investment that will get you a return (ROI). Your fundraising auctioneer is the only budget line item that will make you money. A fundraising auctioneer will provide consulting prior to the event, guiding you through the planning process. Then the auctioneer will engage your guests event night by providing a fun, entertaining live auction.
Having a bunch of volunteers is all I need for our event, right? – You do need a lot of volunteers to pull off a fundraising auction but it goes much further than that. Having the RIGHT volunteers is key. Provide job descriptions for each auction committee that will help the volunteers identify their areas of strength.
Just get items donated and the guests will buy – This is not necessarily true. You need to obtain the items your guests want, not simply what someone is willing to donate. My old adage is, “If you can buy it at Wal-Mart, it doesn’t belong in the live auction”. At a live auction, guests want to bid on trips and experiences. To optimize the success of your live auction, determine who your guests will be, have conversation about what they’d like to see in your live auction and focus on procuring those items. Not only will they appreciate you asking, you’ve also acquired built-in bidders for the items they suggest.
The more live auction items you have the more money you will raise – I caution you here. The phrase “supply and demand” couldn’t be truer here. When you have too many items, and your guest-to-item ratio is off, the items will bring extremely low prices, resulting in less money raised. And remember that your guests will only stay engaged for a limited amount of time so you much capture the moment and maximize it before the evening goes on too long.
If I fill the seats with guests our gala will be a success – Umm, no. Filling your seats with the CORRECT guests will result in a successful event. Talk to the affluent members of your organization and encourage them bring their friends to the event. Having the right people in the audience, guests who have the financial wherewithal to support your organization, is key. What you don’t want is a room full of people who simply want a nice dinner on a Saturday night. I would always prefer to have 100 guests who can and will support a nonprofit’s mission than a full room with 500 guests who are only there for dinner.
Mobile bidding scares guests to death and they won’t bid – Mobile bidding during the silent auction is a great tool for fundraising. It allows guests to mingle AND bid on items. You do have to look at the demographic of your guests. If the majority of guest are 60 years old and below, your event is prime for the implementation of mobile bidding. If you have an older demographic you can still incorporate mobile bidding, but be sure to provide some “bidding buddies” to assist those who need help.
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