Many nonprofits cringe at the thought of the time and effort involved in planning an event that is as involved as an auction.
Still, few fundraising events are more effective at rallying a community together over a cause than a charity auction. They are fun, get a wide variety of people excited about your cause, and can actually generate a lot of donations.
“Charity auctions are lucrative and engaging events that have the potential to be incredibly rewarding—both from a stewardship and fundraising perspective,” says GuideStar by Candid.
How can you plan a fundraising auction for your charity? What incentives do auctions give potential donors to raise more money? What can you do to make your fundraising auction a smashing success?
Planning a Fundraising Auction
There are a lot of nuts and bolts to an auction, but breaking it down into a comprehensive punch-list can help you and your nonprofit\’s team tackle this well-worthy project.
Here’s a basic 5-step outline for planning a fundraising auction…
- Nail down the logistics of your charity auction. Where will it be? Who is invited? What’s the date? Will you have a seating chart? What about food and drink?
- Decide what the money will go to specifically. Of course, the money is for your cause. That’s a given. Still, it’s best to have a specific goal in mind. People like to know exactly what their funds will be used for.
- Collect items to auction off. Put out the word that you need auction-able items. Ask local artists, businesses, and individuals to donate what they can (vouchers, crafts, baked goods, furniture, electronics, antiques, paintings, gift packages, etc.). Get creative, and keep an open mind. You’d be surprised how much a plate of cookies could sell for when a noble cause is involved!
- Advertise your fundraising event. Let your crowd know via social media, e-vites, the radio, or any other advertising mediums that work best for your nonprofit. Whatever you do, build enthusiasm, and let everyone know it’s for a good cause.
- Host the fundraising auction! All that’s left to do is host the event. Don’t forget to get a quick-tongued professional auctioneer on board to make it official.
Add Incentive to the Auction
Of course, a powerful incentive is already built into an auction for charity, and that’s part of what makes them so effective at raising high dollars. Your donors not only get to donate to your cause and feel great about it, but they also get a prize of their choice out of the deal.
That being said, putting a bit more into incentivizing your auction can actually raise more money than simply auctioning off a bunch of items with no bells or whistles.
Check out these ideas to sweeten the deal for your donors at your charity auction:
- Offer branded products to donors. Who doesn’t want to walk away from a charity event sporting some new swag? Simple, well-branded products like t-shirts, stickers, and totes please donors and become walking advertisements for your cause.
- Invest in worthy prizes. When there are luxurious items up for auction like vacation packages, artwork, or fancy gift baskets at your event, donors will get excited and be willing to pay big bucks, knowing it’s for a noble cause. Going on vacation for a good cause? Yes, please! Often, local businesses, such as resorts, boutiques, and artists will be willing to donate something nice to your event to put up for auction.
- Provide food and drink. Your guests are coming, prepared to spend big money at your event. A great way to say ‘thank you’ and keep them coming next year is to have delicious food for them to snack on. Check with local vendors to see what they’d be willing to provide. A show-stopping cake from your local baker will leave an impression.
The more incentive you add to your auction, the more donors will likely be willing to shell out in support of your cause. Set a budget, and use it wisely to make your auction as enjoyable and exciting as possible, without putting your nonprofit in the red.
Collect Auction Donations Online
Simplify and elevate your charity auction at the same time by encouraging your donors to make their transactions online.
When you make a custom donations page for your nonprofit on Causability, your donors will be able to consistently use our secure platform to make their contribution online.
You’ll cut out the hassle of taking cash donations and it will save you from having a long line-up at a credit card machine at your event.