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Charity Auction - Host a Wish List Party

31 July 2006 at 1:07 pm
Staff Reporter
Before you plunge into another charity auction event, US fundraising expert Auctionpay suggests you host an insiders “Wish List” party - and get the fundraising team together.

Staff Reporter | 31 July 2006 at 1:07 pm


Charity Auction - Host a Wish List Party
31 July 2006 at 1:07 pm

Before you plunge into another charity auction event, US fundraising expert Auctionpay suggests you host an insiders “Wish List” party – and get the fundraising team together.

Finding those fabulous auction items doesn’t have to be intimidating, according to Auctionpay. A great way to start is by hosting a “Wish List” party. Gather together the ‘procurement’ team, board members and staff to brainstorm those items that are most desirable.

Before you begin brainstorming for your wish list, go over the demographics of the event audience. This will help the team picture what types of things might be of interest to your supporters.

Do your attendees tend to be young, mature, hip, or classic? Ask whether guests are 20-to-30-somethings with less discretionary income, but more of a sense of adventure? Or a more mature audience with time and resources for leisure travel abroad? This may make a difference in the items to target for procurement.

Things to remember when making a “Wish List”:

Take the time to come up with all possible ideas for ‘hot’ items. Write everything down. Remember that the purpose of this gathering is to make a “wish list” of items to go after, so all ideas are good ideas no matter how outrageous.

The list will give you a jump start on ideas for items that seem to come up time and time again at auctions: travel, golf, weekend get-aways, aerial adventures, sports, entertainment, electronics, and health and beauty items.

Once all ideas have been recorded, start to pare them down based on the interests of your event audience, where your group has contacts and who can help you obtain these items.

Identify items the group would buy
– Looking to the brainstorming team will probably give you a good idea of the demographics of your audience. The interests the group will most likely reflect those of your broader audience.
Take ideas from other events
– Ask your team what cool, chic or trendy items they have seen at other events. Creativity is great, but looking to others for ideas can save time and effort.
Don’t rule out the unusual
– Unusual items can sometimes be the hit of the event. Botox, Lasik eye surgery and other medical procedures have been top items at auctions in the US.
Reach for the sky
– Don’t be concerned about putting high end or hard to obtain items on your list. You never know where or when you will come across a great item or contact to help you.
Committee’s network: Six degrees of separation
– The power of procurement lies within your team. Ask the team “who you know and who do you know that knows somebody else”. Explore your circle of acquaintances. Also, have each person on the team make a list of everyone from friends, neighbours, colleagues, business associates, and stores they frequent – everyone. How many degrees is it to get to a local celebrity? Who has a celebrity uncle or who has a vacation house that they rent? Who can you enlist for help?

When the list is complete, then begin matching the items with people charged with soliciting them. For best results, arm your team with procurement forms, procurement letters (or emails), and remind them as they are out and about to look over the “Wish List”.

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