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More Fundraising Tips for Auction Events

25 October 2004 at 1:10 pm
Staff Reporter
A US charity auction expert says there are often-overlooked revenue-producing strategies that can boost auction revenue to a new level.

Staff Reporter | 25 October 2004 at 1:10 pm


More Fundraising Tips for Auction Events
25 October 2004 at 1:10 pm

Charity auctions can promote a positive organisational culture while raising significant money for important causes. But a US expert says there are often-overlooked revenue-producing strategies that can boost auction revenue to a new level.

Kathy Kingston, is a professional auctioneer in the US with over 17 years experience in supporting clients in education, health care, government, volunteer and entertainment organisations.

After the enormous interest in our Pro Bono Australia story on the Auctionpay “Best Practice Auction Guide” last month we thought that some additional fundraising tips from Kathy Kingston would also be useful.

1. Bid Now – Dance Later!
Timing is everything. Plan a minute-by-minute schedule or “show flow” of your entire event and stick to it. Remember, the majority of your revenue is in the live auction; so place it prominently in your event. A fast-paced and exciting auction keeps guests in their seats bidding longer!

2. Your Cause is the Star!
Connect the audience to your cause, and they will bid generously. Precede your live auction with a short, heartfelt pitch about the benefits of their financial support. Write up a few bullet points about your organization, why you need the funds, including facts and figures, for your auctioneer to inspire your guests throughout the auction.

3. Audience Development
Although procurement of great auction items remains a priority, filling your venue with the right bidders is critical to your success. Conduct a targeted campaign to identify, invite and cultivate major donors, prospects and influence leaders. Know what your audience wants and solicit those types of auction items to generate excitement and more profit. “Power bidders” at your event can boost your auction to the next level, now!

A benefit auction well planned and smoothly orchestrated, can raise many thousands of dollars for your organisation. To those who know and understand professional auctioneering, the keys to success are no mystery.

As Kingston says a successful auction requires:
– The Element of Fun: People spend more when they are enjoying themselves. Kathy Kingston knows how to create the energy and excitement that will keep the bid cards waving.

– Careful Planning at the Start: From the outset, the organisation must be attentive to the small details that make the difference between meeting one’s goals or not. Items must be well-selected and ordered properly. Multimedia may be used to add extra sizzle. Corporate and media sponsorships may be pursued as an additional revenue stream as well as a means of achieving better publicity. The overall operation of the auction, whether live, silent, on-line or a combination, must be designed with professionalism and ease of deployment.

– A Strong Team Performance: Whether it is the board, senior management, staff, sponsors, volunteers or the auctioneer, numerous people must come together with clearly defined roles to make the auction successful. A range of functions must be performed from publicity, to operations and logistics, to conducting the auction itself. A high-functioning enthusiastic team is critical to setting the tone for the evening.

– A Skilled Auctioneer: While some may think that anyone with a strong voice and a sense of humour can lead an auction, development professionals know that a professional auctioneer who specialises in fundraising makes a huge difference to the success and tempo of the evening. The trained auctioneer can read the audience, initiate a healthy competitive spirit, and move the bids along for maximum value. By setting a fast pace and using a quick wit, the auctioneer creates an entertaining, successful evening that takes the risk out of fundraising.

And finally she says a good charity auction should attract excellent publicity, increase awareness of the cause, and draw new commitment from those attending! © Kathy Kingston 2004

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