Last week I held a free teleclass teaching you how to procure items for your benefit auction without leaving your home.
This week, I’m sharing one of the ideas presented.
[CLASS NO LONGER AVAILABLE.]
Interested in hearing all 7 secrets for procuring great items? For a limited time, enjoy a recording of the call.
From 2009 through 2011 I sold several author-related items at my client’s fundraising auctions:
- 4 auctions sold dinners with well-known authors
- 3 auctions sold “have your name written as a character in a novel” opportunities
- 1 auction sold a set of two advanced reading copies from a famous author
- 1 auction sold a private slide-show presentation with the author. He was sharing stories and photos from the high-adventure trip he’d conducted as part of his research for some upcoming work.
Each of these was a live auction item, selling for thousands of dollars.
With the exception of one item — the advanced reading copies — all of these items were procured through a direct connection or close “friend of a friend” tie.
But not the Advanced Reading Copies (ARC).
The ARCs were a cold call.
A cold email, actually.
After one of our consultations, my action-oriented client started poking around online. She thought of an author she liked, did some research, and found the author’s website.
She sent the woman an email, sharing a thoughtful story about her nonprofit and her excitement about the upcoming gala auction. She made an ask.
A few days later, she got a positive response.
Two ARCs of the author’s upcoming books would be making its way to her offices.
ARCs are special because they are uncorrected proofs of new titles. Publishers provide these to VIPS, such as booksellers, journalists and celebrities, before the book is printed for mass distribution.
Book collectors LOVE these. They consider them to be the “real” book because they could contain errors that add value. It’s like a coin with an off-center impression, or a pro-football player’s jersey with a misspelled name. It’s worth more because it’s a mistake.
We sold those ARCs for $1100 in the live auction.
While these were being sold in the live auction, I was selling other author-related items in the silent auction at other events.
Most commonly it was a collection of signed books. Those generally sold in the double digits. For the most part, those books were procured through online means, often by sending an email through the author’s fan club website.
Do you understand why it’s important to know WHAT to ask for?
If you ask for the stars (private dinners, ARCs, “your name written into a book”) and get the moon (signed books) … well, at least you got the moon.
But if you ask for the moon because you didn’t know stars were available or existed, you can only get the moon.
(Or get nothing at all, but that’s a risk in either case.)
- Stars = same time invested, but raise thousands of dollars.
- The moon = same time invested, but raise tens of dollars.
When we talk about procurement, it comes down to knowing WHAT to ask for, and knowing WHEN, WHERE, and HOW to ask.
Then knowing HOW to best sell the donation to maximize your sale.
If you’re procuring online through an author’s website, do you think it might be important to ask for the best donation? Of course! You want something that will sell for thousands instead of $50. It’s the difference between procuring a live or a silent auction item.
If you stop what you’re doing right now and take one hour to listen to this audio training [CALL NO LONGER AVAILABLE] before I remove it from my website, then I know you understand.
Listen while you can.