Dec. 2012 Non-Profit Roundtable Maximizing Your Auction
Maximizing Your Auction Alyson CulinDevelopment & Marketing Director Orange County Rape Crisis Centeralyson@ocrcc.org | 919-968-4647
Committee• Structure: 1 Staff, 1 or 2 Auction Chair(s), Sub-Committees. If small group, a sub- committee may be one point-person.• Assign specific roles & responsibilities.• Go to other events. Make note of what you like & don’t like. Try to think from both perspectives – planner and guest.
Board & Volunteers• Board participation is vital. They should bring guests, sell raffle tickets, find sponsors, solicit items, etc.• Create roles & responsibilities for Board members. Set clear expectations.• Increase participation: – Incentives/awards – Competition – Make it fun!
Increase Ticket Sales• Host Committee. Consists of local celebrities who draw guests in with their name AND/OR outgoing people who will personally invite a lot of people. Give them clear expectations (i.e. We expect you to fill 1 table with your personal guests.)• Goals/Expectations – i.e. Each Board member, volunteer, staff member is responsible for selling ## tickets. – For most agencies, personal invitations to personal connections is going to be most effective.• Marketing & Publicity – Ask local media for free advertising as an event sponsorship.
Marketing• In-kind sponsors: Radio, Newspaper, etc. Ask for free ads as a sponsorship.• Invitation + multiple e-mails + website + personal calls/emails: People need multiple reminders. Get your Board to help out.• Word-of-mouth (Board, volunteers, staff)• Make sure sponsors are mentioned on marketing materials, press releases, etc.
Venue & Food/Bev• In-kind sponsors. Ask your venue or caterer to cut costs in exchange for a sponsorship.• Going with a full package venue (like at a hotel) can sometimes mean saving more money than booking vendors piecemeal (separate venue, caterer, etc) because if you’re spending a ton of money at that one place, they may be more willing to donate some portion of the bill.• DO NOT RUN OUT OF FOOD! Also, know your audience: serve food they want.• Parking is important.
Sponsorships• This should be your MAIN focus! This is where the money is!• Develop sponsorship levels. Review them regularly. Ask sponsors for their input.• Sponsor recognition before, during & after event: marketing materials, website, event invitation, signage, etc.• Just like regular donations, sponsorships rely on personal connections. You will have more luck with getting your Board Treasurer to ask their dentist than you will with applying to the Gates Foundation.
Program Schedule• Short, sweet, to the point. As much as you love your agency, and your donors do too, people still don’t want to be there all night.• Think about it from your guests’ perspective: length; topic; speaker/video/etc• Fund A Need / Raise the Paddle – After hearing about your program, have your auctioneer ask people to donate $100 right now. The emotional tie makes it a great time to ask. – Side note: Always use a professional auctioneer.• Make sure that by the end of the event, you haven’t left any money on the table. Create more opportunities to give.
Something Unique• Think of something you offer that other events don’t – a draw that will keep your donors coming back year after year.• Come up with a unique activity or fundraiser that guests will associate specifically with your agency.
Raffle• Sell tickets before and during. – Make sure that wherever people purchase event tickets, they are prompted to also purchase raffle tickets. – Have friendly, outgoing, super nice volunteers circulate during your event to sell more tickets. But make sure you leave time to enter them and draw the raffle!• Considerations: Travel, availability, other costs. Don’t offer a trip to the Bahamas without also offering airfare.
Items• Categories that do well: unique experiences (play golf with Woody Durham and Freddie Kiger!), travel (a mountain cabin or a beach house). Know your audience: certain categories may do well with your crowd. Analyze sales in previous years to find out what works for you.• At the event: – Slash prices of items w/o bids. – First Buyer Frenzy. The first bidder for each item is entered into a separate raffle to be drawn at the end of the night.• Consider software (like Greater Giving) for item management, tracking, registration, and check-out. Can be very helpful, but make sure it’s worth it.
Keys• Ask yourself: What is the goal?• Can’t decide? Always go where the money is.• Customer Service – Make people happy, not just because of this year, but for next year too. – The FIRST and LAST impression of your event is most important. That means get it together for registration and check-out. Try ending with something fun!• Remember your audience• HAVE FUN• After: THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!