The Top Ten Auctions of 2012: Lessons from the Pros


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This is an overview of the top ten auctions that rocked in 2012. Ranging from schools to high profile charity events, these organizations got it right.

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  • Welcome.So glad that you are with us today. We started a new program this year which was to look back at the year in auctions and profile ten organizations who got it right. Each of them used different tactics, different strategies and achieved really stellar results and we want to share some of those ideas with you today. AT the end of the presentation, we will have a Q & A session with a couple of our Auction Experts. These are the folks who work closely with these organizations on achieving the great results that they achieved. And they are a wealth of great ideas and suggestions.
  • Many of you on this call have worked with us before but some of you may be new to BiddingForGood. Here are some quick stats that will give you a sense of the number of auctions we’ve run, the number of items that have been sold on our platform. We’ve been at this since 2003 which means that we have run more auctions than any other company in the charitable fundraising space. This has given us a pretty interesting perspective on what’s working and what’s not.
  • PA- Should this say “What else does B4G do..” since we’ve just talked about Amplifying the Auction.Worried that the sub headline is just too dense… it’s a big honkin sentence and a lot to understand at one time. Maybe take out the anytime, anywhere , any device since we talk about that next.Just cleaned this up – it used to have two headlines - changed the order – put make more $ at the topI like using the icons – this is a screen shop from the web - might be easier to read – what I like about this is it reinforces the before, during, after…
  • So let’s talk about some different auction formats. This is one of the most exciting things that is now possible with an online auction format. You can open your auction online before your live event. You can continue bidding right into your live event with mobile bidding and you can even decide to close your auction after your live event. WXXI- a Public Television station in Rochester NY always runs a very successful auction. Last year that ran a Post Auction after the auction and every item started at $1. Another term for this is remnant auction. Many fundraisers end up with some portion of their auction items unsold. Why not mount another auction with reduced opening bids and try and move those items. We are seeing more and more orgs announce their auction at their gala but have it run for a week following. Brooklyn Academy of Music. Remember on BiddingForGood, you have access to the platform for a year at a time and can run as many auctions during that year as you choose. Lots of organizations add subsequent auctions like a holiday auction or a golf tournament .
  • Another example of a different auction format is what Fox Sports did in Dallas, Texas. They ran with us last year for the second year in a row. Granted they are unique in that they have a sports franchise where they have fans both in the stadium and also at home watching a TV broadcast. With mobile bidding and online bidding, they are able to open their auction ahead of the game to get people excited about the great items they are auctioning off and then during the game promote the auction both on the Scoreboard in stadium and in spots on the TV broadcast. Many of you may have some kind of relationship with a sports team. For example in Boston, we learned that the Boston Celtics have relationships with a number of nonprofits that they do fundraising for. Imagine if your auction could be promoted during a sports game with hundreds, if not thousands of fans tuning in. We’ve also heard that more and more sports venues are upgrading their technology infrastructure making wireless connectivity more reliable. After all, everyone wants the world to tweet about them, post pictures about them on social media sharing sites so they need to support the bandwidth to do that.
  • South Beach Food and Wine Festival is a very successful event that happens each winter in South Beach, FLA. In fact the festival is opening this weekend. What’s interesting about them is that they run their auction for a full 5 weeks. That is a long time for an auction but it works because they also use their auction to promote the upcoming event and build excitement. They do a wide Range of promotion.Promotion for the festival is handled in concert with promotion for the auction and with items that are uniquely appealing to their Festival attendees, the fundraiser works hard to not only raise money but raise the profile of the event. Consider whether there is an event in your community that you could connect your auction to… could you help promote a local event in exchange for some co-promotion for your auction?The bottom line is there a number of different ways to set up your auction. To run it before, during or after your event. To potentially wrap it around your event.
  • You may not be aware that corporations can throw successful auctions too. In fact, some of our corporate clients are among the biggest auctions we run on BiddingforGood. There were two that made the top ten list. Both opened up their auctions to their employees only. It is a wonderful way to support causes that the company cares about and also engage employees in a feel good/ good corporate citizenship activity.United Healthcare actually gets their VPS organizing teams to get items and build a great auction catalog. They have 9 designated charities as Giving Partners so the range of causes to support is broad.
  • Kimberly Clark has an ingenious strategy that absolutely works. They auction off their own products in a couple of different auctions during the year- products that we use every day- Kleenex, Toilet Paper, Diapers, Paper Towels. The invite their employees to bid and raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. Who wouldn’t stack up on toilet paper if they knew it was going to a great cause?
  • So what might your company do? Some of you may volunteer for a nonprofit or school but perhaps your day job is at a larger company. Here’s what our company did. Every year we throw an employee auction. It’s a good opportunity for us to walk the walk. To experience our product and our platform and help a local charity. We always have an Employee only category of items. So this year, Sherry on our sales team offered to make her homemade ruggelah.. Yum. Or Thomas, also on our sales team offered tennis lessons. He played Division 1 tennis in college so he knows his stuff. And then Kelsey in our Client Services team offered babysitting services. Every family is on the lookout for babysitters that they know and trust. I sing in an A capella group and we actually offered our services for a private party or fundraising event and raised several hundred dollars in the auction. So the possibilities are endless.These ideas can absolutely apply to you- schools in particular can come up with unique ideas that will appeal just to your community.
  • So one of the key ingredients in a successful auction is getting the word out. Getting the word out about your event, about your great items. That’s your merchandising challenge when you run an auction. So happily there are lots of sharing tools in our platform so your supporters can share item descriptions on their networks or use Pinterest to pin interesting items in the auction. If you can use other vehicles to get the word out, it’s all the better.
  • Some organizations partner with a media property. I talked earlier about Fox Sports who used all of their media assets to promote their auction. TV spots, spots on the ScoreBoard, posters in stadium and even print ads. CenterStage theatre, a professional theater company in Baltimore partners with the Baltimore Sun. That is likely what helped them make our top 10 list. They not only had great items but they had the right partner with a big mouthpiece. WXXI, a PBS station uses their own TV spots to promote their auction. They encouraged listeners to bid with station give-aways. Who can you partner with to get the word out?
  • Finding strong partners can make all of the difference. There are some natural partners in the fundraising space and one of them is event planners and auctioneers. Having them work on your event will often bring a new level of excitement and professionalism to the event. Rafanelli Events, a very successful event planning company right here in Boston worked with The New England Warrior Benefit to throw a spectacular event. There were only 5 items in the auction and they were all commissioned, special hand-crafted DIRICO motorcycles with a very distinct audience. Each one was themed for a different branch of the US Special Operations Forces. They got nearly full price on each of these motorcycles and raised over 100K. That’s called knowing your audience. And there’s great comfort in knowing that a professional event planning company is working with you to assure a great event.
  • And lastly, where do you find the help you need. To coin Winnie the Pooh, Halp!This is where schools typically excel. And this years top school auctions are no exception. They typically have a very supportive group of parents who care deeply about their kids and the school. They deployed teams to solicit items, to sell sponsorships, to build their auctions and to throw a great party. There is no end to the creative ideas for how to get more people engaged. Sometimes these ideas are really right under your nose. Will the teachers in your school come up with some unique items that their classroom can create? Will a local business do an in-kind donation that will save you $$ on something else. Will the kids in the school come up with some creative ideas?Pay to Play is a concept where by bidders can purchase an item like Girls Night Out, or kids pizza party. These are great ideas for a school community and your volunteers can help make it happen.
  • So that’s the presentation. Now I am very pleased to introduce two of our Auction Experts.. Alice Curley and Valeria Amato have both worked with hundreds if not thousands of nonprofits and schools. These folks really know what’s what. And they worked with many of the auctions that we have highlighted in this webinar. So now we invite your questions. One thing to note is that there is a lot about running an online auction or a mobile bidding event that we did not cover in this presentation. We do run regular webinars covering those topics so if you have additional questions not covered in this presentation, please come back and attend another webinar sometime soon.
  • The Top Ten Auctions of 2012: Lessons from the Pros

    1. 1. Top Ten Auctions of 2012 Lessons from the Pros
    2. 2. Introduction – What We’re Doing Today • Top Ten Auctions – A quick review • It’s All About the Items • Different Auction Formats • Corporate Auctions • Smart Partnering • Where are My Volunteers? 2
    3. 3. 10 Auctions that Rocked 2012 3
    4. 4. BiddingForGood – The Statistics• 18,000 + auctions run• Total items sold: 2 Million +• Totals bids: 5.2 MM• Highest number of bids in one hour: 6,781• Highest number of bids in a single auction: 45,130 4
    5. 5. It’s All About the Items Classic Lunch Box Collection William Wegman $10,000 Photo Session$10,000 2011 Smart Car + $500 in gas$12,000 Harrison Ford Experience(lunch + plane ride)Navy Seals Motorcycle Antique Tea Set $70,000$25,000 $20,000 5
    6. 6. Different Auction Formats – 6
    7. 7. Different Auction Formats – 7
    8. 8. Different Auction Formats – 8
    9. 9. Corporate Auctions – Auction Chair Vice Vice Vice President President President Item Item Item Item Item Item Team Team Team Team Team Team 9
    10. 10. Corporate Auctions – 10
    11. 11. What might your company do?Sherry’s Homemade Pastries Tennis Lessons with Thomas Free Babysitting by Kelsey 11
    12. 12. Who can help get the word out? 12
    13. 13. Media – On Air and In Stadium 13
    14. 14. Partner with an event planning company 14
    15. 15. Help! 15
    16. 16. The Auction Experts Q&A 16
    17. 17. Happy Fundraising!No one has more experience than we do in helping nonprofitsand schools raise money from auctions.Our complete, end-to-end auction management solution offers our customersincreased opportunity to raise more money and include more of their communityin bidding on their auctions 17