What is the purpose of a fundraising auction?
Most people will immediately think of the most tangible benefit of a fundraising auction — MONEY.
Nonprofit auctions are generally launched to raise cash. When the event is over, the gross and net income are often reviewed by the committee and Board. The auction might be stamped as “successful” if it has achieved a certain financial goal.
Tied to this, once an auction is on a nonprofit’s annual calendar, it’s rarely removed as the income is perceived as reliable.
Case in point, the Events Director at a client meeting recently told me that her school was celebrating a big anniversary next year. Administrators had been talking about skipping the auction in order to focus on other celebratory events. “But I don’t think they will cancel it,” she said, “They need that $100k.”
The purpose of this article is to look beyond the money raised.
If you’re new to the world of charity auctions and considering launching this type of event, you may wish also to consider the intangible benefits of fundraising auctions.
What non-financial reasons might an auction be good for a non-profit and/or good for YOU, the person serving as the Auction Chair?
Below is the list I created.
Intangible benefits of running a fundraising auction
- Way to contribute to a charity in a non-monetary way (“I can’t write a check for $10,000, but I can give of my time to plan the event.”)
- Recharged interest in the nonprofit from attendees and volunteers
- Fun – Gives guests an exciting evening out
- Experience something different — see a new venue, try new food, learn something new
- Camaraderie with like-minded others to plan the event
- Builds confidence in oneself
- Reinforced sense of belonging to a cause larger than oneself
- Gain a broader picture of your community and what’s going on in it
- Builds loyalty
- Volunteer retention – A well-run auction with outlined roles endears volunteers to the charity.
Are there any intangibles you can add?
Post them below.
Renee Zau says
Fundraising events are a reason for people and media to talk about your organization and its good work in the community. It can be just as beneficial of a part of a nonprofit’s marketing and volunteer recruitment strategy as it is fundraising.
Sherry Truhlar says
That’s a good reason too, Renee. Thanks for stopping by!
Dean Phillips says
I thought it was great when you said that an auction can create a way to contribute to a charity in a non-monetary way. My father has a garage full of old antiques that he wants to sell or donate to a charity. It might be beneficial for him to hire an auction service to help him accomplish this.
Sherry Truhlar says
Contacting a commercial auctioneer is a good option, Dean.