You can get some excellent charity auction items when you ask people to donate something that he or she was going to do anyway. Call it a hobby or skill, they are activities that the donor would be engaged in, regardless of your auction.
Meet imaginary Helen.
Helen is one of the Mom’s at your child’s school. The woman’s skin is so tan you swear she’s at the pool every day.
Nope. She’s in her garden.
Her husband and she bought a modest-sized house with a large yard. She’s done unbelievable things with the place. Flowers, shrubs and trees. Sun to shade. Verdant patios.
Helen is who you should tap for garden services.
Sure, you can ask a nursery for a $100 gift card, but Helen can be the crown jewel. Her passion is plants, so these are easy auction “donations” for her.
- She could give the winning bidder expensive cuttings
- She might offer customized advice as to “what plant where”
- She’ll share tips for your gardening “zone”
- And I’d bet my bottom dollar that some of her plants are from a breeder. That means your winning bidder will get some unique plant varieties not readily available, even at that upscale nursery.
(We offered a drawing at my Garden Club for suggestions on a basic garden design, telling people what plant to put where, and tickets sold LIKE CRAZY for this package.)
Helen would easily spend 3 hours doing garden-related work with a winning bidder.
- She loves to garden anyway.
- She’s got to divide her hostas anyway.
- She’s going to buy pricey plants anyway.
If you outline a package you’d like her to donate, it’s no skin off Helen’s back to do any of these activities.
And now let’s meet Bob.
Bob isn’t a professional handyman but [imagine the conversation], “He single-handedly built that new addition on the back of his and Joanne’s home, and oh-my-God have you seen how fabulous it is? I only wish my husband could do that…”
Bob’s ‘handyman’ services are legendary. He’s a marketing guy by day and “fools around’ with power tools at night. But clearly, the man knows what he’s doing.
It’s his hobby; his passion. He may not be in the business of building homes, but everyone trusts his work.
Tap into Bob.
- Will he build an extra birdhouse when he’s building one anyway?
- Will he teach five kids how to operate a circular saw in his garage when he’s out there every Saturday anyway?
- Will he go as far as to frame out some windows?
Ask him to donate, suggest ideas, and see what he says.
Forego asking 1-800-Handyman for a donation because the crowd will better respond to Bob.
When you ask people for a donation for a service they already enjoy (their hobby), giving to you becomes a pleasure. (And acquisitions become easier!)
It allows them to share their passion with someone else. They’re teaching about something they love, and who doesn’t enjoy talking about their love?
Whether it’s photography, canning, technology, bird-watching, or quilting, tap into your auction donors’ hobbies and your guests’ interests to watch revenues rise at your next gala.
Betsy Baker says
I love the uniqueness of these ideas. Anyone can donate gift certificates but services are the rage these days. Timely advice!
Thanks for commenting, Betsy. Can’t go wrong with desirable services.
Roger Carr says
These are great ideas. I would certainly bid on lessons about gourmet cooking and photography. I know there are businesses that would bid for lessons from me about things I have a passion for like internet marketing and volunteerism. It looks like I have some new “items” to auction off at the next charity auction. Thanks.