1. Mission Statement and Attendees
The MOST critical job for the organization is to have committed attendees and A-list donors in attendance at the event that have a passion for the mission of the fundraiser. The more committed guests you have, the more successful the event will be. As the saying goes, you can’t get blood from a turnip.
2. Find a Professional Auctioneer Team That Cares About Your Cause
Too many times we hire the first auctioneer who comes along that sounds like they might do a good job. Research your auctioneer and make sure he/she is the right fit for your organization. (see “Tale of Two Auctioneers” on page 4) Auctioneers are a dime a dozen, but a professional charity auctioneer who can be trusted and is committed to helping your organization raise the most money is worth the extra effort to locate and secure.
3. Live Auction Goes On Early In The Evening
When planning your event’s agenda, time is of the essence when it comes to having the live auction. Some donors will begin to leave between 9:00 to 9:30 p.m. Usually by 10:00 p.m. the event room becomes a ghost town and all is left is the party crowd. Make the live auction the focal part of the evening while dinner is being served. Organization presentations including speeches should be after the live auction.
Social Media is FREE so doesn't be intimidated to use it for advertising your fundraising event. It is a great way to share the live auction items. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat are just a few to check into and take advantage. Make your own free fundraiser APP that can be downloaded on guest’s phones for updated last minute changes. This is especially appealing to the fifty-five and under crowds, It’s a great way to gain new supporters too.
5. Event Programs: List all Live Auction items and display on a Multi-Media Big Screen
It’s very important to have a detailed list of descriptions of the items being sold in the correct auction order in the program so guests can follow along with the auctioneer. When each item comes up for bid, a picture of the item should be displayed on the big screen for guests to see visually.
6. "Unique" Experiences and Trips Sell
Start early in finding unique items that can’t be bought anywhere else. Items of an “experience” are big money makers – far better than something with a tangible value. What’s the experience of a locker room visit to the Carolina Panther’s next game or a sold out concert worth...priceless!
7. Group Silent Auction Items into Theme Baskets.
Most organizations like to believe the more silent auction items, the more money they will make. WRONG! A suggestion is to display smaller items at your silent auction in baskets with a theme. For example, you have a restaurant gift certificate for $50. The most you will ever get for the gift certificate is the face value. Make a theme basket and throw in candles and a couples massage for a theme NIGHT ON THE TOWN. The entire basket is now worth $150. The bidding begins and sells for $250. The idea is to limit silent auction items to a ratio of one item to every four guests. Having too many silent auction items can be distracting.
8. Sponsorships Worth Cheering
Corporate Sponsorships are a fantastic way to include your community and form long lasting partnerships that become a win-win situation. As you ponder about what companies are a good match, begin with asking this question to yourself, “What can our organization do for them?” Brainstorm ideas and make that the focal point when approaching businesses for their help. Free advertising for companies is a great perk.
9. Good Lighting and Great Sound System
“Testing Testing, can you hear me?” It’s now time for the live auction. Bring up the house lights and extinguish the stage spotlights when the live auction begins. Lighting is crucial to be able to see bids. Also, and most important, have a professional sound system for the auctioneer that has been tested before the guest arrives. He/she needs a hand held a wireless microphone and a backup one just in case. Being able to be seen (having a stage) and being heard (professional sound system) increases the revenue and are key components that are typically overlooked which can be a costly mistake.
Guests usually don’t like huge centerpieces at the table and neither does the auctioneer. This is a great place to cut costs in your budget and it will allow your auctioneer team to be able to see your guests bidding happily. Don’t have centerpieces that will cause visual interference for your live auction team.
Ron and Debbie Hitzel
Charlotte, North Carolina
*2015 was our first year
working with a truly professional full
service auctioneer. We did a full search and were so pleased with our decision
to go with Impact Auctions! Not only did we raise MORE money but the live auction was
more entertaining than in past years! Thank you!
Jane C from St. Gabriel School