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June 8, 2018 Preventing Unwanted Surprises When Securing Your Fundraising Date and Auctioneer

Secure fundraising event venue and auctioneer early

Today I want to talk about the future.

Is your nonprofit organization doing what needs to be done to secure the desired date of your fundraising event?  I’m talking about the ability to schedule your event on the date YOU want, and not the dates that are “left over”.

When selecting a fundraising event date, you’ll find yourself separating the “must-haves” from the “like-to-haves”.  Topping the list of must-haves for most groups would be the venue choice, usually followed by the must-have professional fundraising auctioneer. Like-to-haves most often include caterers and entertainment.

If you want to give your nonprofit the best opportunity possible to secure that must-have venue and auctioneer, you’ll need to start the planning early. Competition for event dates and venues can be fierce.

If your fundraising event is large and there are few options for the venue, it’s even more important that you secure your space very early in the game.

Time and again we see clients booking their venue before contacting their choice of professional fundraising auctioneer only to find out that the auctioneer has already booked an event on their date.

Recently a client who produces a very large annual event that generates a lot of revenue with a big audience called me after they’d selected a date and locked in their venue. This wasn’t an event that is coming up in 4 months, folks – this event is 12 months out. It was unfortunate for both of us that I had already booked their date with another client.

While auctioneers might try to hold dates for repeat clients, it becomes very difficult to do this when committees and boards delay making the important date and venue decisions. Like so many things in life, the early bird gets the worm. Or the auctioneer in this case.

I have multi-year contracts with several of my clients that lock in our fee. Most do not include dates for future events. This can cause issues if your board and auction committee delay securing a date. I strongly suggest you work to get that date secured as soon as possible so that your auctioneer is confirmed before they book another client on your date. If a date is included in a multi-year agreement you will avoid the unfortunate situation like the recent one I had with my client.

When I was president of the National Auctioneers Association, we booked our annual convention dates and locations 3 years in advance. This allowed our membership to know exactly where we would be each year and when we would be there so they could plan 3 years into the future.

Many of our clients select a date and secure a venue for next year’s event before the doors even open at this year’s event. In addition to avoiding the stress a delay in date selection can create, you’ll get the added bonus of being able to announce the save-the-date for next year’s event to your guests event night.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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