Welcome… Or should I say Good Evening…. Any webinar with the title of Nightmare on Auction Street should have a scary opening.. But no matter what your flavor of nightmare, we are here to help But first, let me give a bit of background about BiddingForGood, and what we do.. What makes us uniquely qualified to share advice about avoiding auction mishaps.
We essentially re-invented the silent auction by bringing it online. Now with all the great things that technology enables, we are able to host auctions on our platform that your supporters can access from wherever they are. Whether they are out of town on a business trip sitting in a hotel room or in the ballroom at your annual gala. In fact our latest innovation is Mobile Bidding which is now happening at gala events all over the country. The old bidding device was a Clipboard and a bid sheet.Today that is being replaced my smart phones and tablets. We have an entirely different webinar on that topic so I won’t get into it here. But the really important and key concept for you to think about is AMPLIFCATION
When you bring your auction online or enable your live event with mobile bidding you are automatically able to take advantage of the all the greatness of the internet. You are able to amplify your auction so more people can bid and support your organization. But now let’s jump in and talk about those nightmares that every auction fundraiser is hoping to avoid. Let’s begin with a few inspirational quotes…
This should be no surprise to anyone who has ever run an auction but having a solid plan makes all the difference..Read quotes..
Here is the really good news…. Almost all auction nightmares are avoidable!
The first nightmare has to do with managing a team of volunteers. These folks are almost always good intentioned but sometimes it can feel like Herding cats… bullets above.It’s really not unlike managing a family…
We all can recognize the family chore chart. It’s on the refrigerator and it attempts to give everyone their chores and holds them accountable. Well BiddingForGood’s auction management systems works a lot like that.Bullets above..When you have a plan and a means to organize and manage a team of volunteers, everything will go better.. Guaranteed!
Ok. This is one scary nightmare. But is it any different from a key employee leaving a company or a beloved and skilled teacher leaving a school. You need a succession plan. One thing that we frequently see is that auction chairs have one or two folks as their second in command. They essentially groom them to take over. The other really important strategy is to have a place to capture all of your data.Think about all of the essential information that is part of running a great auction. Information on your donors, your sponsors, which volunteer had which task, your promotion plan. All of this can be captured in your auction management system. And the beauty is it is there for you next year, even if your auction chair has not run off to the carribbean. Think of how ahead of the game you can be in year two when you have organized all of your information and captured it in one place.
Ok. Number 3. This is the one nightmare that honestly is not avoidable. Noone knows when a blizzard is going to hit or god forbid something worse. A hurricane, a flood whatever… The very best hedge of all is having your auction online. So here is a story.Trinity Church auction. Yet another snow storm in Boston.. Blah blahTwo tactics- Extend your auctionRun a second auction to auction off unsold items.
All that work and noone shows up. I’m picturing cooking an elegant dinner for a party and noone showing up. What a drag. When it’s an auction, there are things you can do….
Promote Promote Promote.Get the word out every way you can
So nightmare #5… the party’s a blast and noone is bidding. This one we see probably more than any other. Why, because often nonprofits and schools are trying to do more than one thing in one evening. They are friend-raising and they are fundraising. And it’s hard to do both of those things well at the very same time. So what can you do…. Here are some do’s and don’ts
Give example of Trinity Church again..Tickets is crucial when doing mobile bidding. The set-up of the room is super important as well. Having a part of the evening that is focused on the auction is a smart strategy.
One thing we see often is that customers set their opening bid amounts too high. In order to get some competitive bidding happening, you often need to set the opening bid lower which brings more people into bidding for the item.
So this last one is a bit tongue in cheek.. Sort of.. We all know that many gala events have alcohol flowing. A bit of celebrating can be a good thing.. Loosen folks up a bit.. But where you run into trouble is when there is too much imbibing. We have seen this happen. Quite a bit. Sometimes, believe it or not, it’s the volunteers who get caught up in the party and forget that they have a job to do and when it’s time to really buckle down and do their job, they are impaired. Not a good thing.When you have a really inebriated customer, put someone on the case who is even and patient and can try and deal with them calmly. Often the very best things to do is to suggest that whatever the issue is, be dealt with the next day. Trying to “take them on” in the middle of a hectic event, is never a good strategy
Ok. So that is our list of the top 7 nightmares. Everyone has their own flavor of nightmare that haunts them. At this point we welcome any questions you have on the topics we have already discussed and can also try and answer questions on any other auction situations that you need help with.
How to Avoid How Auction NightmaresA BiddingForGood Webinar Presented by: Perry Allison, VP Marketing 1
Who is BiddingForGood?The leader in fundraising auctions fororganizations of every size and shape. • Over 19,000 auctions run • Raised over $185 million and counting… • 360,000 + community of cause-minded shoppers • $15 million invested in our bidding platform • Founded in 2003 2
The Anytime, Anywhere AuctionA fundraising auction that allows bidders • Onlineto bid on any device from anywhere. • At school events • At galas • At golf tournaments • In stadiums 3
Let’s start with some inspiration… “Organize, dont agonize.” ― Nancy Pelosi “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” ― Benjamin Franklin “He who is best prepared can best serve his moment of inspiration.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge 5
What we’ve learned Almost all auction nightmares are avoidable 6
#1 Herding Cats • Missed meetings • Chaos • Missed deadlines • Poor communication • No one is setting priorities 7
Organizing your volunteersis a lot like managing a family• Checklists• Collaboration tools • Volunteer log in • Reporting• Item Donation Status• Tickets sold• $$ raised to date• Cash Donations 8
#2 Your auction chair deserts you • Have a succession plan • Have a repository for all of your work and data. 9
#3 Acts of God • An online auction is the best insurance policy of all • Other strategies: • Extend your auction • Run a second auction to auction off unsold items 10
#4 No one shows up at the partyIt’s my party,and I’ll cryif I want to… 11
Promote, Promote, Promote• Send emails to your entire list• Sell tickets on your auction homepage • Share your auction URL on your social media sites • Pin items to pinterest • Run adds on local media 12
Where are the bidders?Don’t:• Have music blasting all night long• Have a casino competing with your auction• Isolate the bidding area from the party• Serve too much alcohol before the bidding begins…. 14
Where are the bidders?Do:• Make sure you can make auction announcements• Encourage volunteers to help bidders• Sell tickets online so people arrive ready to bid• Put bidding station near the items• Use the leaderboard to keep bidders engaged 15
#6 Lots of bidders, but no bidsThere is an art to pricingyour auction items:• Set your opening bids• Recommendation - set at 1/3 value of the item• You know your community best and what prices will fly 16
#7 A little tipsy, and very unhappyManaging unruly folksis a bit of an art:• Assign the right people for the job• Defer any issues to the next day if possible 17
What are your nightmares?Let us try and help with ideas and solutions 18