Five Steps to a Great Fundraising Auction

Yesterday I was delighted to again talk with Renee McGivern from Nonprofit Spark.  Renee is a nonprofit consultant based in the Minneapolis area.  One of her outreach ventures is a helpful little WebTalkRadio program called Nonprofit Spark.  She consistently churns out great content, miraculously managing to find someone interesting to interview each week (wow!). I've not heard all the shows, but it seems every guest has a different type of expertise.  It's amazing how many people she's found to provide helpful tips to her nonprofit listeners. "When we've talked before," she reminded me, "We gave tips on how people can « Continue Reading »

The best gifts for volunteers chairing an auction are … flowers?!?

A few years ago I conducted a study among my clients. I asked a portion of my Auction Chairs how many hours she spent planning her auction. I wasn’t interested in the total hours of the committee. I only wanted to know her hours. In the final count, a mix of schools and nonprofits submitted their totals. The survey also had a smattering of large and small galas. After compiling the results, the results revealed that the average time spent was a shocking 1,000 hours. In the “real world” that translates to six months of full-time work. Wow! For someone who is devoting as much time as that to planning your auction, shouldn’t « Continue Reading »

Spring auctions suck. Have a winter benefit auction instead.

My company has four auctions booked for Saturday, March 2, 2013.  Last Friday, yet another school called asking if I had any auctioneers available on that date.  "We thought we had one," she shared, "but apparently we don't.  And here it is November and I'm calling for a March auction ..." Her voice trailed off. Yeah, she knew she was in trouble. By my count of bookings and schools I've already declined, that is 9 Washington D.C.-area schools that *I* know of competing for donations for March 2.  Given their charity auction date, they are also competing against all of the other schools hosting auctions in February, April, « Continue Reading »

Hit by United Way’s $50,000 rule? Run a benefit auction.

The Washington Post recently reported that "D.C. area’s United Way tightens requirements for charity funding." You can read the article yourself, but the crux of the message is that nearly 200 smaller charities are at risk for losing funding from the United Way of the National Capital Area because the United Way is changing how groups qualify to receive money. The United Way is asking these charities to take on more responsibility for their funding. Charities must raise $50,000 themselves, shouldering more of their burden of operations. I'm a little conflicted on this. I can understand how some of these smaller « Continue Reading »

What NOT to do when the auction winner doesn’t pay

At a benefit auction a few years ago, a woman in the back enthusiastically bid in the live auction. She enjoyed bidding a little too much. After buying the trip to Hawaii, her husband let her have it -- verbally. In tears she told my auction team member that she couldn’t buy it. “Ma’am,” my team member gently reminded her, “You’ve already bought it.” “Sell it again,” she cried, “He’ll divorce me if I take it home.” Has this happened to you? If not, you just haven’t run enough benefit auctions. It’s bound to happen, like crashing a motorcycle. When I took a bike safety class a few years ago, the instructor said, “It’s not « Continue Reading »

VIDEO: How to easily find your 501(c)(3) number for the auction donation letter

If you're writing and mailing a silent auction donation letter, you'll want to include your charity's 501(c)(3) number (also called a Tax ID number) on the letters and/or forms. It will speed up the donation process. Some volunteers aren't sure what their charity's number is. In this video, you'll be shown how to look it up on an internet-based database. Watch the video below. P.S. For other helpful auction-related information covering a wide range of topics, enjoy this free subscription to Benefit Auction Ideas. « Continue Reading »

VIDEO: Four types of insurance for charity auction events

A Lexington, KY charity had a beautiful custom pink motorcycle donated to their gala. The bike was autographed by many western singers so it was truly a one-of-a-kind item. It could have sold for thousands of dollars ... had it not been stolen from their offices in the days leading up to the gala. In this video, learn about the four common types of insurance for charity auction events. Watch the video below.   « Continue Reading »