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What ISN’T New in Fundraising Auctions?

April 26, 2017
We’re less than a week away from the Association for Professional Fundraisers International Fundraising Conference, or AFP for (mercifully!) short. Each year, fundraisers from around the country gather to talk about where the industry is going, best practices and the future of fundraising technology.

We love being involved in these conversations, too, but as the start of the conference draws close, we thought it’d be worth a moment of time to talk about what isn’t new in fundraising auctions. The next app or big data tool are incredibly important to the modern fundraiser, sure, but there are some aspects of fundraising auctions (and the travel packages that sell at them) that don’t shift over time.

What hasn’t changed?

Auctioneers. We’ve written before about why you want them. They keep the party going, they get the biggest bids and they’ve got the ability to get more information about your non-profit to the audience. Plus, their experiences working with numerous charities means that they can give suggestions about program order, starting bids and even what items to offer. They’re worth every penny and more.

Trusting your donors. It can be scary to offer up big-ticket items at a fundraising auction. What happens if no one bids? What if the auctioneer is left there, holding the gavel? In order to raise big amounts of money with a charity auction, you’ve got to offer some items that will require big donations. If it’s an item that some of your supporters want, like a once-in-a-lifetime trip or tickets to a major sporting event, you’ll be surprised at how much they’re will to pay, knowing that the money is going to a good cause.

Having FUN! At no point should the event itself feel, to you, like anything less than the greatest night of the year. This is your chance to talk with others who are passionate about the same issues, to enjoy a night out on the town and to raise money for a worthy cause (yours!). Fun is absolutely contagious, and if you’re having it, others will have it too.

Saying “thank you.” And say it to everyone. From a practical standpoint, it gets your name in front of everyone’s eyes one more time. But it also gives them the chance to feel recognized for whatever they brought to the evening, whether it was donating an auction item, bidding on one, or even simply cheering on the bidders.