Last week I wrote about selling holiday trees in your gala.
I didn’t include an important piece of information that can really cripple the sale of those benefit auction items: delivery.
Auction guests often look at trees — or any large cumbersome item — and think, “How would I ever get it home?”
They admire it, but they won’t bid. In fact, they’ll often talk themselves out of bidding because getting the item home seems like too much work.
To address this concern, offer delivery to the winning bidder.
You can set it up any way that makes sense for your organization.
You might offer free delivery for some items within a 10, 20, or 30 miles radius (use a radius that is appropriate for your community). Or charge a small fee.
Delivering these over-sized items is a great job for a volunteer with a pickup truck.
Consider posting a sign on the item or near it to advertise the delivery service. This will squelch any concerns your guest has about getting it home.
The sign might say, “Free delivery on Monday to any home within 10 miles ($25 charge to outlying suburbs),” or “This auction item can be delivered for $XX to any home in the 10021 zip code.”
Beware, because you’ve got to CYA (cover your arse).
I heard a story from a West coast benefit auctioneer who was selling a grand piano in (I think) San Francisco. To ensure bidding was strong, the nonprofit offered free delivery of the piano.
Turns out the piano sold to someone in New York City.
Sadly, the nonprofit hadn’t clarified that the free delivery was good only for the immediate area and ended up paying a pretty penny to have the piano shipped to New York.
Don’t let that happen to you. Clarify that “free delivery” is limited to your immediate area.