10 Deadly Sins of Benefit Auctions
January 03, 2013
How To Wreck Your Charity Auction Fundraiser
By Kathy Kingston, CAI, BAS
This week guest blogger and auctioneer extraordinaire Kathy Kingston brings us Part I of a two-part post featuring must–DON’Ts for successful auction fundraisers. Read on and stay tuned for Part II next week.
1. Leave Money in the Room
THE most expensive mistake you can make is using a volunteer amateur auctioneer. Why risk it? Retaining an experienced professional fundraising auctioneer can increase your net auction profits from 20% to over 300% immediately. Uniquely experienced and dedicated to maximizing fundraising, a professional benefit auctioneer does not cost — it pays!
2. Don’t Ask for Funds
It’s financial suicide is avoid a Fund a Need Special Appeal. Let’s face it, not everyone wants or needs a live or silent auction item. Create this opportunity for everyone to contribute to your great cause at a level that is meaningful to them. Ignite generosity with a well conducted, inspiring Fund A Need that that can literally double your live auction profits in just 10 minutes!
3. Offer Too Many Auction Items That No One Wants
This catastrophic calamity will insure that you lose thousands of dollars. First, be sure to match your auction items to the unique profile of what your auction guests really want. Second, less is more. Reduce the number of auction items and focus on fewer unique items that produce bigger results. Make sure your organization procures hot auction items that keep driving excitement and interest — items that fulfill fantasies and dream vacations and experiences that are unique to your supporters. And remember to consider adding consignment items to complement your donated items to add excitement and dollars.
4. Plan a Party and Forget Fundraising
An epic error is to plan your auction fundraiser like it’s your social soiree, business function or even worst a wedding. Focus first on fundraising — not your centerpieces, entertainment nor the color of tablecloths — all which raise zero dollars. Remember, your charity auction is often one of your biggest fundraisers of the year. You simply cannot afford to lose precious dollars or support in this new economy. Strategically design your benefit auction to emphasize your unique mission and how your donors can make a difference. Proudly promote your cause and emphasize that the reason “Why We Are Here” is to raise funds so that your guests can change lives and improve your community.
5. Bore Your Audience
The quickest way to lose money and momentum at your benefit auction is to sedate your guests with a string of talking-head long speeches. Just say No BS. (No Boring Speeches!) Insist on a few well placed brief inspiring remarks that emphasize first person testimonials and your success stories. Capture the hearts and wallets of your guests and showcase your cause and your transformational results.
© Kathy Kingston 2013 All rights reserved.
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