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November 9, 2018 Part One of a Three-Part Blog Series – “Stop, Start, Keep”

This is the first of a three-part blog series titled “Stop, Start, Keep”. This method of analyzing a charity auction event came to me by way of a fellow fundraising auctioneer, Darron Meares. Darron is founder of Bowtie Benefit Auctions.

Let’s explore “stop” – the first of these three steps we’ll cover.

Many nonprofits conduct surveys after their fundraising events. They will poll their attendees within seven days of the charity auction event to get unbiased feedback via websites like Survey Monkey. While not every recipient will complete a survey, the guests who do provide valuable feedback from your event.

I recommend you include a deadline for the surveys to be completed. Your fundraising committee can meet soon after all the survey results are in for the opportunity to discuss the results and to download their own thoughts and recommendations about the event. (I think it’s a good idea to provide food at these meetings. Brain cells always work better when they are nourished.)

Instruct the committee to think about the problem areas pertaining to your fundraiser prior to this post-event meeting. Specifically, what does your nonprofit need to stop doing?

This might be as simple as a desire to stop having long lines at the bar or check-in/check-out, or to stop having a band because no one stays to listen. Or maybe you should stop having a board member conduct the live auction because they are not effective. In this case, you might determine you need to hire a professional fundraising auctioneer who can conduct your live auction as well as consult on other fundraising aspects of your event. (We can help you there!)

As things are mentioned by the members of your group, remember that this is not the time to debate their points. Just record their thoughts on a flipchart, encouraging free-flowing opinions, listing everything mentioned. Once you get all that down, you can discuss the results of the survey and add anything contained therein that you don’t already have listed.

After you identify these “stop” items, break each one down and discuss as necessary.

You will probably discover that there are several things you need to discontinue doing. Some of these items may be more obvious than others. But keep in mind that “Rome wasn’t built in a day”. In many cases, the things you want to stop doing can’t all be accomplished at next year’s event. Identify what you deem most important and focus on those items first. How do you do this? Ask everyone to write down their top three picks of “stop” items, the things they feel are most critical to address. Then develop a plan for moving forward.

Be sure to have one person responsible for documenting this discussion and, most importantly, the decisions. Provide next year’s committee with a copy. If the committee chair person has already been identified, make sure they are a part of this exercise.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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