One of the natural advantages of hosting a auction in the late fall (think October through December) is its proximity to Christmas.
Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, December marks a big month of gift giving for many people. Why not play on that natural cycle and use it to help sell your items?
Here are some tips to make the most of the season.
1. Be blatant.
Don’t try to hide anything. In your marketing literature, remind people that they should be on the look-out for gifts at your fundraiser.
- “Buy your gifts at our auction.”
- “We’re receiving great donations that even Santa would swoon to give.”
- “The designer purse that arrived today will look great under your tree.”
- “Dad will love the meat locker to be sold in our silent auction.”
2. Be visual
I have a Catholic school client who holds its fundraising auction in November. Each silent auction item is displayed with care, festively topped with a bow.
Having held this auction for many years, the school must have hundreds of bows by now. May of them are saved and re-used, year after year.
I’d consider that to be a smart investment!
Another idea: Put a sticky note on the item. Write: “This would be a great gift for that hard-to-buy-for person.”
Or perhaps, “Active grandparents would love this.”
Don’t assume people will remember to shop for gifts. Remind them often and directly.
3. Be verbal.
Ask your auctioneer to make some announcements. I’m always pitching merchandise in the silent auction.
At an SPCA auction last fall, a number of pets received holiday presents, thanks to me.
“Have you purchased a gift for your dog yet,” I’d inquire of the guests gathering around the tables. I’d wide-eye the guest … “This package is adorable, and can you believe it doesn’t even have a bid yet!”
Or, “I never have time to shop,” I’d say, “I keep extra wine on hand to take to those last minute parties I’m invited to. Here’s a great case of Chardonnay, and who wouldn’t appreciate that?!” With flourish, I’d point to the case.
Let’s be frank. Selling is about HELPING people.
One way your auctioneer can help people (and your nonprofit, specifically) is by saving your guests time. Have your auctioneer cut to the chase and verbalize the advantages of why the guest should buy.
In short, if you’re holding your auction during this season, it’s a perfect time to get guests to buy. Use these silent auction ideas to get your packages in the hands of the guests.
Promote the season AND your reason.