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June 16, 2017 Security at Fundraising Auctions

Live charity auction items

Have you ever had an auction item mysteriously come up missing at your fundraising event? Unfortunately, some of our clients have had this happen. It is very sad that anyone has to be concerned with the security of items at a fundraiser but alas, they do. There are some steps that nonprofits can take to prevent this from happening, though.

First, let me tell you about our experience with theft at a fundraiser.

We were working an event where there was a pair of diamond earrings in the live auction lineup. This client had placed the live auction items display right in the center of the room where there were constantly people milling around.  I’m certain no one would have ever dreamed the jewelry would get stolen with so many potential witnesses close by. But they were in fact taken. Ten minutes before the live auction was to start, I was notified that the earrings were missing. We had to quickly adjust the live auction script, and we did, and continued with a very successful auction, raising lots of money for the nonprofit’s mission. About the only thing that suffered was our faith in human nature. And we even quickly recovered that.

How could this have been prevented?

For high-valued items, we recommend assigning a staff member or volunteer to the item. They can walk around with the item, showcasing it to the guests. Let the “walker” be easily identifiable, with a colorful boa or a large hat, allowing them to be easily pointed out to the guests by your professional fundraising auctioneer.  Another method to keep items secure is to incorporate a display table manned with several volunteers or staff members. This not only allows them to assist guests with their questions about the items but also keeps several pairs of eyes on the items at all times.

We’ve also experienced missing gift certificates/card from events. This usually occurs when the original certificates are placed on the auction display tables and left unattended.  As I’ve written about in previous blog, we recommend you secure the original gift certificates/cards at checkout and leave a copy (with “COPY” clearly indicated) on the table where warranted for an auction item display. This method will prevent these certificates from finding their way out the door unpurchased.

While it’s not my favorite option, you can arrange to have uniformed security persons located around the various areas of the event where loss prevention is needed.

Contact C King Benefit Auctions to learn more about this topic and many others. We can will help you with ways to run your event more smoothly and raise more money.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!



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