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Charity Auctions 101 - Covering the Essentials

Charity Auctions 101 - Covering the Essentials

Posted on Apr 07, 2021

Charity auctions are events where funds are raised by selling off items and products to whoever bids the highest. While the bidder gets to enjoy the product/item, the fundraising organization gets to enjoy the money. An absolute win-win situation!

If handled right, these events can prove to be immensely beneficial, both in raising funds and building long-term engagement with the donors and bidders. Before going into how an ideal event should be planned, let’s understand the essentials.

Types of Charity Auctions

There are three types of charity auctions
  1. Live Auctions
  2. Silent Auctions
  3. Online/Virtual Auctions

Live Auctions

These types of auctions are what most people think about when the word ‘auction’ comes up. In these events, an auctioneer with a gavel is present. He showcases the items on auction and manages the bidding process. The bidders place their bids using placards or by saying it out loud.

Silent Auctions

Silent auctions are events where items and products are displayed on tables for attendees to bid on. The bid can either be made by writing the amount down on a piece of paper or by using the phone. If you’d have watched F.R.I.E.N.D.S, the bid that takes place in the sitcom is an example of the silent auction.

Online/Virtual Auctions

Online or virtual auctions are like silent auctions except that these happen online through a dedicated website and a catalog of items on sale. Further, auction software is needed to help the fundraising organizations manage the entire process. If you happen to find the right platform to host online auctions, it is bound to give better and brighter results as the process becomes extremely easy.

Combined Auctions

You can also combine the auction types to create more impact. For instance, an online auction can be combined with the part where the bid happens live. This will help boost the adrenaline rush among the guests.

How To Host Charity Auctions

  1. Choose the right software
  2. Promote the event well
  3. Communicate with your supporters
  4. Follow-up

How to Host A Successful Charity Auction

1. Choose A Reliable Online Platform

Choosing a platform is of miraculous significance while planning to hold charity auctions. Ensure the platform allows easy and quick bidding delivers notifications and urges involvement.

2. Know Your Policies Well

Discuss and find solutions to questions like - How the prizes/items will be delivered to the bidders? Who will bear the shipping charges - the bidder or the organization? Be clear and articulate the same clarity to the audience so they know what to expect.

3. Engage the Audience

Keeping the audience hooked is of the utmost importance. You can share the pictures of the items that are put on bids to increase excitement and curiosity.

4. Don’t Spoil the Audience for Choice

Keeping a lot of bid options usually backfires. If we apply this to our own lives, we often end up buying nothing when we have a range of things to choose from. Hence, start small.

5. Keep the Prices of the Items Moderate

The prices should not be too high or too low. In case of hefty prices, nobody makes a purchase and in case of extremely low prices, people start questioning the quality of the products. Thus, the product prices should be strategically chosen.

6. Auction Software to Have the Donation Option

Ensure that your auction software has the Donation Option so the guests can pay easily, without any hassles.

The Benefits of Charity Auctions

1. Raise a Lot of Money

If you can get hold of unique and worthy items or products to put on sale, your charity auction is bound to garner a lot of attraction, which consequently will drive a lot of donations.

2. Know Your Donors Up-Close

Charity auctions are a great way to know your donors up-close and personal. One-on-one communication with your prospects can increase the chances of donations.

3. Saves Time

Charity auctions save a lot of time. For one, you don’t have to go around week after week asking for donations from individuals. It, thus, can raise a lot of money in a small period.

How to Promote Your Charity Auction

  1. Direct Mail: Letters, pamphlets, fliers, etc. prove to be of great help when promoting a charity auction.
  2. Email Marketing: This aspect must not be missed. In a world where checking emails is a part and parcel of your life, sending emails to promote events is a great move.
  3. Word of Mouth: Tell as many friends and relatives as you can and ask them to spread the word. Word of mouth works wonders.
  4. Social Media: Don’t neglect platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, etc to promote your event. Data says that 80% of people spend 2 hours on average on their social profiles daily.
  5. Make Phone Calls: Print a list of your major donors and call them personally to invite them to the event. A personal touch goes a long, long way.
  6. PPC: Run ads to reach out to more people. One usually gets triple the amount one spends on running ads.

Points to Note When Planning a Charity Auction

Stick to Your Budget

In live auctions, charity planners sometimes end up going extravagant with the theme, flowers, decorations, etc. The act of making everything appear aesthetically appealing sometimes disrupts the budget. This shouldn’t happen.

At all times, one thing that should be kept in mind is that the event is being organized to raise money and not to go overboard in spending. Hence, all the purchases must be made keeping the budget in mind.

Promote Your Items Early

Don’t wait for the auction day to showcase your items or products. Instead, start promoting them days in advance so the bidders know what they can grab and are excited for the same. This promotes more participation and ultimately more donations.

Procure Unique Items

Remember the thumb rule - The more unique the items, the more money you’ll be able to raise. Thus, asking for unique products from individuals and local businesses for donation so they can be put on a bid is a must.

Pick a Great Venue

Choosing a venue that’s spacious matters a great deal. It makes the audience comfortable and takes them to a state where they are happy to donate. Also, there must be enough space for tables (in case it's a silent auction) and a podium (in case it's a live auction).

If it’s a silent auction, using mobile bidding software can help you raise more money because of the convenience it offers. However, choosing the right software that is a perfect blend of ease and cost-efficiency is what will need your attention.

With this, we hope you got a comprehensive overview of the nitty-gritty in association with charity auctions. With the above pointers and the right tools, planning your next charity auction will be a breeze!

So, tempted to host a charity auction? Or looking for a platform to host your virtual auction? IConnectX is here to help!

Having helped hundreds of organizations raise money, we will walk you through everything that is needed to make your auction a successful event.

Get in touch today!

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