I spent the last two days with Hannes Combest, President of the National Auctioneers Association (NAA), at the ASAE Springtime Expo gala in Washington, D.C.
The first night of the event, ASAE hosted an event targeting young professionals, which nowadays are also called Millennials because of their birth year.
The reception reminded me of a trend I’ve seen with regards to fundraising auctions.
Many of the galas I work have a population in the age range of 45+. Some galas skew much older. The one exception is a church auction I work in which everyone in the audience is 18 – 30 years old.
Although there are many reasons you might host a fundraising auction, the primary reason is often for financial support. You’ll raise the most money if you have guests who understand your mission and the financial means to support it.
Many of us reach our prime income earning years between 45 to 54. It only makes sense that auctions find their guests to be “of a certain age.” Some in that age range are also of a mindset in which they are ready to start ‘giving back’ to their community, either through financial support or volunteer hours. (Non-profits like both!)
It wouldn’t usually make sense to target professionals in their 20’s and 30’s because that crowd would be less likely to add dollars to your bottom line.
That said, what about cultivating your audience?
Someday those 20 and 30 year olds will be in a position to give. You’ll want to be the organization they think of first. To that end, some of the galas incorporate a Young Professionals (YP) tier into their ticket pricing.
Here are a few tips.
- There are many names for this tier. I’ve seen Young Professionals, Young Benefactors, or Young Supporters. Select a title which fits your style.
- The YP’s reduced ticket price can include a portion of the evening’s activities (such as the reception & silent auction, or the entertainment & after-party with dessert bar) or the entire event.
- Guests purchasing at that level must be younger than a certain age (30 to 40 seems to be the range).
- In some cases, YPs must already be active in the non-profit’s regular YP club. Some non-profits organize regular activities for this set, with the auction gala being one of those monthly activities.
If your auction committee wants to try this, I encourage you to ask one or two of those YPs to help on your auction committee. Not only will they offer a fresh perspective to your planning, but their involvement will encourage other YPs to get involved and/or attend the event, too.
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