Executing pitch perfect fundraising ideas for your next charity auction event will be about more than just the event itself. You already know, you’re going to want every detail to be flawless, but planning an auction fundraiser is about more than cheap silent auction ideas simply choosing items and making them look appealing on display. It’s about developing a strategy to ensure your organization reaches its maximum fundraising potential. That means planning for a successful fundraiser can be a 365-day-a-year job.
1. Learn from the past. All too often, charity event planners repeat their mistakes and neglect to capitalize on their successes from one year to the next. After every fundraising event you host, deeply evaluate your results. What went well? What didn’t go so well? Asking these simple questions will help you gauge what you should do more of and less of at your next auction fundraiser. Set overall goals for your next event, as well as short-term goals, like X invitations accepted each month or Y pickups by local media outlets. Realistic, measurable goals will help keep you focused on the charity event’s larger goal long term.
2. Don’t procrastinate. Even if your last auction event just happened and you have another year before your next one, now is the time to get your marketing program off the ground. Thank attendees and especially bidders for supporting your cause and being a part of your fundraiser, and be sure to ask them what they’d like to see in the auction next year. Send notes of thanks promoting next year’s event, and get a date on the calendar as soon as possible. Talk about your next charity auction in every communication, especially on the homepage of your organization’s Web site and via all your social media channels. There’s no such thing as promoting your next event too early.
3. Choose the right auction items. Above all else, choosing the right auction items for your event comes down to knowing your audience. But, a lot goes into knowing your audience. They could be more apt to bid on entertainment or music memorabilia than sports memorabilia. They might be looking to take home several low- to mid-priced items, rather than one big-ticket auction item. Variety is important, but you’ll also want to think about whether you’re planning a live auction, a silent auction, or both. Some items will inevitably garner higher bids in the high-energy live environment, while other fundraising ideas belong in a more casual silent auction.
4. Promote using all available media. Since you’ll already have your Web site and social media channels covered, next it’s time to plan the rest of your marketing campaign. News of your auction fundraiser should hit your local newspaper, radio broadcasts and TV news. In fact, you should bring a few of the most impressive, flagship fundraising items you’ll be auctioning off with you on a few local programs. Let the shows’ hosts check out your auction items first hand and pitch your event for you. Also, don’t be afraid to target your most affluent donors individually to let them know what auction items you’ll have at your event. This will help get those influential donors into the mindset of bringing their checkbooks.
5. Track your progress and adjust accordingly. Setting short-term goals will help you keep your status in perspective and allow you to make adjustments to your plan, as needed. Whether your numbers are coming in too low and you need to increase your efforts, or they’re coming in higher than expected and you need to increase your goals, constantly shaping and reshaping your plan will result in a more successful event overall.