Here’s a recent example.
Last week I was in Pennsylvania meeting with a few clients. Over dinner with one group, the two co-chairs and I talked about their upcoming auction and specifically, their items. They felt they needed just a couple more items for their live auction to feel finished.
As we pitched ideas, one of the co-chairs commented that she knew that one Mom was friends with so-and-so and liked to vacation at such-and-such. She offered some other (what appeared to sound like) random information.
She brightened up. “That could be a lead for an item!”
Frankly, I was amazed that she even knew such obscure details. I asked how she knew.
“I’m just always remembering those things,” she said. She went on to explain that when she’s in conversations, she makes it a point to remember what people like, where they vacation, who they know, and so forth.
I’ve no doubt that this not only makes her a better conversationalist because she’s more attentive to those with whom she’s speaking, but it’s also serving her beautifully for her auction now.
Assume she wanted a resort stay in Destin, FL. Rather than making a cold call to resorts in Destin and hoping to get a break, she’s reaching out to a fellow Mom who visits Destin every year with her family. The astute Chair is asking her fellow Mom to make that phone call. By having the other Mom make the call, it becomes a warm lead. She visits that resort every year and is making a donation request on behalf of the school.
But it started because our Gala Chair had paid enough attention during a conversation months earlier to know that her fellow Mom and family visit Destin every winter.
Perhaps myself withstanding, I find that many women are naturals at remembering details. In many households, women are the ones tasked with buying birthday presents, remembering wedding anniversaries, and organizing graduation dinners.
(I must admit I’m horrible at recalling birthdays. Though I am good at remembering conversations and spatial information … like whether a photo in a book was about 1/3 of the way through the second chapter and on the left-hand page, lower right.)
Buying a thoughtful birthday present requires us to recall someone’s preferences, hobbies, and interests. That’s the same skill gala chairs should rely upon when it comes to thinking about who-knows-who so they can approach them later when you’re ready to accept a donation for the auction.
Some parts of auction procurement are “soft” like this. Remembering details … preferences … engaging in conversations. It’s the “art” of planning a charity auction.
Other pieces of an auction are “hard,” like managing acquisition processes, following timelines, and paying attention to the data. This is the “science” of the planning.
In our upcoming procurement training class — Big Ticket Procurement Secrets — I’ll be teaching you all of the science of procurement and sharing anecdotal information like this to help you understand the art of it.
As an introduction, you can listen (for a limited time!) to a one-hour no-cost training on getting items for charity auctions that don’t require you to leave your house … or even pick up the phone!
The call is in yellow highlight at the top of this page.
Listen to the call .. learn some tips that will make getting items for charity auctions easier … and join me for our first training on October 18, 2012.