How to Plan a Charity Auction
Join our guest speakers Bill Quain and Jeannie Norris as they go over how to plan a charity auction.
Categories: Expert Webcast, How To
How to Plan a Charity Auction TranscriptPrint Transcript
How to run a successful auction fundraiser. And I will quick want to mention Ready Set auction, our cloud based auction software. So readies at auction is actually a sister product to DonorPerfect which a lot of our attendees are currently using. And the cloud Read More
How to run a successful auction fundraiser. And I will quick want to mention Ready Set auction, our cloud based auction software. So readies at auction is actually a sister product to DonorPerfect which a lot of our attendees are currently using. And the cloud based
auction software that allows organizations basically run any type of auction silent, live online, even through mobile. We’d be happy to talk you through a product tour. If you have any questions you can check out Ready, Set auction.com and sign up for a free trial there. And we actually have a special offer at the end of the webinar that we’ll be sharing.
If you’d like to, you know, try reading that auction at your next event. So with that said, I’m happy to introduce our two fundraising experts today. Janine Norris and Bill queen. They are the authors of fundraising events made simple. So with that, I will turn it over to Janine and Bill. How are you guys today?
Great, Sam. Thank you. Thanks, Sam.
Hi, everyone. My name is Jimmy Norris. And I’ll be giving you lots of good information today along with Bill Quain. Bill and I are actually a brother sister team. And we have a course called fundraising events made simple. We both have a have combined our experiences. I’m a race director for a race that draws 1000 people’s called Cupid’s cranium 5k. And I’m also the director of our own foundation, which is called the at least Kids Foundation, have a lot of marketing experience and combining that with with bills experience and hospitality and auctions, and other event management. We’re happy to be here with you today and hope to give you lots of good information. So Hey, folks, I’m Bill Quain. And
we are a brother sister duo here we were going to be figure skaters we decided to do this instead.
I actually teach event management,
hospitality professional, long standing with a former executive chef. You’ll see on my on my bio there I actually was one of the directors of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival. So you talk about
a huge event. Really something worked. The Chef’s Bobby Flay, like because i By the way, actually had a TV cooking show for a while to myself, but my job at South Beach wine and food festivals was to recruit 100 restaurants a day for two days to come and give 3000 portions of food out and then service them on site. So it was it was a lot of fun. But I want to say one quick thing too about myself. I am almost totally
blind. So when Sam was saying if you have any visual problems, he can help you with that. I’m going to talk to him after the webinar to see what he can do what he can do for your exam. I can’t wait to hear. But
so you’ll be hearing we do this a little bit differently. Because Janine and Sam both had to give me some cues sometimes as to what our slides are saying so but we’re well rehearsed. We’re ready to go. We can’t wait. This is one great topic.
Okay, Sam, if we want to advance to why charity auctions.
So our agenda today, we’ll be going over a number of different things. Why charity auctions. That’s going to let’s start off with that. Why charity auctions? Well, we’re all here because we’re nonprofits, we want to raise money for our nonprofits right, though. Well, that’s right. And charity auctions are a great way to do it. Because people don’t want to give you their money.
Yeah, I mean, some do, but not many do. So what you have to do is you have to give them some reason to give money where they’re getting something back. And Jenny we’re so we’ve, we’ve done these a million times. And I’ll tell you, I love doing the auctions because it gets people excited. I feel so much, so much more confident in inviting people to an event where they’re going to be able to participate and give way more money than they thought they were going to give me which for the cause, which is great, but come away with just a fantastic feeling. And I did a lot of work with with with hospitality organizations meeting planning organizations, meeting professionals international that kind of stuff and our auctions were always just so much fun. We talked about a couple things you need what else did we say about why charity auctions one of the things we’d like to talk about is with auctions people always have hope there’s always hope out there Abell that you’re going to be the big winner and the anticipation is everything. Yeah, that’s right. People build this up in their mind. You know, they can they know these prizes are coming up and they can’t wait to get them they start talking about other people. It’s like playing
The lottery folks, you know, you just, you just get excited about it. But with but with auctions, one of the things that people like is they have control over I mean, in other words, you take a chance on something, you’re on a control, you’re in the auction. The final decision as to whether you win or not, is completely yours. That’s right. And with the with the auctions as well, the anticipation, you’re already starting to think about how you really want to bid on that, on that dinner for 10. With a private chef, and you’ve already started to thinking in your mind, you’ve invited the 10 friends that are going to join you at that dinner table. So when you get to the event, when the folks get to the event, they’re already excited about that. So they’re in their mind, they’ve already they’re already seated at that table. So they’re there to spend their money to make sure that they get that sounds good. That’s why you do it, folks. Everyone loves them.
Next, we’re on to the three types of auctions. So I think everybody probably knows the three types of auctions and we’ll just mention their silent auctions, online auctions and live auctions. Julian, can I say just one thing about the silent auctions, folks, when you have a silent auction,
you don’t want to be silent.
Because, you know, even though a silent auction, there’s nobody bidding out loud, that sort of thing. But you as the as the charity. Don’t be silent about your silent auctions. I mean, you want to build them when you list them. And by the way, this is with with ReadySet auction and is a fantastic thing, because one of the things they help you with is how to set up your your silent auction bid sheets. And folks, you want to tell a story. People love stories. They just it gets them excited. You know, where did this gift come from you all that stuff? Oh, I just got Judy, as you can tell, I get all excited about this, but
and then there’s the aunt was online auctions. The second one there online auctions. And with that, we always suggest that you spice up your online auction with photos so people know exactly what they are getting and what they are bidding on, on the online items. And also get reviews from previous winners. That’s a real statement. If you can have last year’s winners talk about what fun it was, how they enjoyed the item that they that they bid on. And we also talk a little bit about how folks are comfortable now with with bidding that ebook, eBay bought that to the masses. 90 So we’ve been dealing with that for for a while. And with online auctions. You can also drive the excitement early folks. So so get people out there and get get your information out there and really get folks excited about it. And then there’s the big daddy of them all the live auctions, where folks it depends on who you have done that auction. Now this may surprise you, but I used to be a charity live auction here. And I love doing it. It’s not a good thing. It’s not such a good thing. Now since I lost my eyesight.
It’s a little bit harder for me, but it’s it’s just you got to have a person here who can tell stories, drive things, you know,
man, it can bid the bidding up and but but it’s entertainment. You know, it’s it’s it’s giving people show? Oh, I love live auctioning.
Okay, now we’re on to the events within the event ew te as we like to refer to it. In this this section Bill and I talk about building the pyramid and what we what we mean by that is reducing the buyers risk. Do you want to talk a little bit about that though? Yeah, you see, folks people hate risk. So when they’re bidding on something, you know, there’s always a question about what the right what am I actually getting with this, you know? And so what we like to do with Jean I like to suggest is when you get a a cornerstone sort of gift that you’re going to that you’re going to auction off, maybe for example, what like Janine you do this with your your I live in Ocean City at New Jersey and Janine has a house down here. And Janine. We know a lot of people and you have done it yourself. Well, you actually donated a week at your house for charity auctions, right? That’s right. And in addition to that, other people have donated beach chairs, day long excursions on boat excursions, restaurant coupons, restaurant gift certificates. So for these folks bill it’s where there’s the buyers are saying it’s all planned for me. So I’m just not only getting the beach house I’m getting everything else that accompanies the beach house. So I really this is this is far less risk than I would have anticipated. So I’m going to go for this package. Yeah. And so this is what we mean by building the pyramid here because you take one thing which is a base and you add on to it, and by the way, when you need says we discuss this a lot, a lot.
Sam and some of the folks that his company, we produce this ebook, which you’re all getting. And so a lot of stuff is covered in the eBook there too. But I just want to, you know, just reiterate how important it is to do this pyramid thing. And so you can get like one, you get one donor to donate something, and then you go to somebody else you to tell them this has been done, and you build packages together. But the way you build Cornerstone themes, too, so you have a Travel section, you have, you know, you know, a hunting site, who knows, I don’t know what your audiences are, you know, but, so you can have all kinds of great things, food and entertainment, and just build upon each other. Wow, I’ll tell you, it leverages your your, your time, and produces greater results.
Okay, we’re now we’re on to mobile bidding.
Some folks may be familiar with this, and some may just be dipping their toe in the water about this. One of the things that is popular about the mobile bidding is it saves paper and notifies guests that they are outbid the moment, it happens through text and email alerts. It can also drive up your your bids and increased engagement.
On the flip side of that, what we need to be aware of is that some folks are not tech savvy, or they may be comfortable on their phones, but they’re not comfortable working quickly on their phones. And if you have any doubt about that, look at any family where the parent hands the phone to their kid and say, Can you look this up for me very quickly. So one of the things to consider in your mobile bidding, if you’re going to be doing that is to have volunteers from your own organization. They’re present and visible at the event. Now, as I stated before, we have 1000 person event called Cupid’s cranium. With that we have 100 High School volunteers, and they all wear the same brightly colored shirt. So we tell folks, you have a question. You go to the for the folks in the brightly colored t shirt. And so they look different than anybody else’s his volunteer on the back. Our volunteers also hold up signs that say need help, question mark. So this is what you want to put a milling about in your audience, for the folks that really want to bid and want to bid quickly. But need a little extra help with how to go about doing it, it will make a world of difference in your bidding and how the new customer service. And we strongly suggest introducing mobile bidding, even if you take baby steps with it, you know, just do a few more items or something like that. It’s a lot of fun. And, you know, it gives people excuse to do what they want to do anyway, which because of their phone out.
And, you know, other bidding, they can take some time and look at videos of dogs with funny hats, you know, so it’s, it’s great. But no, seriously, it’s it got to be for the right audience. And, but you can make that audience the right audience by having volunteers there to help with people. It’s also suggested that you have a laptop station for the folks that don’t bring their phones with them. Or again, they’re busy using their phones looking at something else. Or if they just wanted a little bit more of a comfort level. So again, you have volunteers that are staffed there, with the brightly colored T shirts saying volunteer and helping them to place the bid on the laptop station. The other good thing about the mobile bidding, which some people might not be aware of is you can do on site fundraising right there. So you can do a 5050 raffle
there in your audience, which is right away, you’re you’re just raising a lot more money, and you didn’t even need to have any expense with that as well. Imagine that. Can you imagine these people have they got their phone in their hand or their tablet? Or maybe they’ve brought their desktop with them if they’re really
now you could also the call goes out hey, we’re gonna have on the spot 5050 dry, buys, buy a ticket for Wow. I’ll tell you folks, it’s it’s special. And you have your volunteers moving through the audience helping them with that as well.
Let’s see number eight. Not sure if you’re not sure if mobile bidding is right for you. How do you know if mobile bidding is right for you? A few things to consider here on the slide the demographic of your guests, the number of gas, your internet access within the venue, your number of silent auction items, the location of your guests and visitors and the event schedule. And as Bill said, you don’t need to go all in on this folks. You can take certain parts of your auction can be mobile bedding, and take the baby steps though I like to call it moving the needle. So instead of swinging the needle from from one side to the other, from nothing to all the way in you just incrementally move that needle each year as your comfort level increases.
Thank you for yourself that experience as well as your volunteers to do that. That’s a great point, Janine, because folks, I want you to, I want you to imagine, you know, I’m guessing that pretty much all of you here on this webinar, have had done an online auction before, or seen you have done charity auctions before. I’ve done them, I go to them all the time, you know, I really liked them. But think about this whole thing, of course, depends upon your audience. Now,
most of us, when we do a charity auction, it’s not a one time event, you know, we’re not gonna just do it. And then we’ll never do another charity auction. We’re not we’ll never do another event. What what you’re doing is you’re growing your your customer base there, well, you’re you’re bitter base there, your donor base, and over time, you can grow them and I want you to picture yourself, you know, watering these people, you know, and you should know your, your, your your people pretty well. In other words, you should know, among the regulars that you get, who your high bidders are from, from your historical thing. And you want to keep you want to keep
track of that. I worked for the casinos for a number of years. Bally’s and Caesars Well, I won’t mention the name of the actual casino, but
I’ll do they anyway, you know, one of our jobs at the casinos is is is to is to grow our our our gamblers? Well, you want to do the same thing, you want to track these people, you know, you might want to have VIP cards.
At the casinos, you know, you want to know what these people are spending, and you want to be targeting people and growing them. So that’s why going to a more organized auction system is fantastic. Because you’re tracking your high bidders, you’re getting you’re going to them and getting them to invite their friends to this thing. You know, there was so you’re you’re specifically targeting, you’re making conscious decisions here to build this. And so when you need to, when you move the needle, you don’t want to go from zero to 60.
You want to you want to build it over time. And so that’s what this is about. And I want you to think about that. You know, and and think of think of what Jeanine are saying here, and Sam has put in front of you too. This is all about building the future of your organization, donor by donor. And, you know, we were giving them just really important stuff here. I just love this to I’m so excited to talk about this. Janine, I’m gonna go out tonight and bid on Sunday, I’m
just going to find something.
Okay, we’re on to the next slide.
So this should come as no surprise to anyone but couples bidding together spend less money?
And then I can guarantee a few people that would not be surprised. So what do you want to do is encourage each, each person within that couple of within the two person coupled to participate on their own. Number one, it’s they may be interested in different things to bid on, which is, which is fun and exciting in itself. Secondly, it’s just more involvement for the individual person. So instead of trying to peer over the phone and look at your spouse’s, you know, look over the shoulder of your spouse, and what are you bidding on how you do, it really tried to encourage each person to get out their phone and take that on themselves and get excited about the things the products that interest them the items that interest them and the packages that interest them? Yeah, I’m sorry, go ahead. Oh, that’s gonna drive up your profits as well. Yeah, you know, let’s think about this. Let’s just go back to a second what I was talking about a second a minute ago, about identifying
buyer bidders for your auctions. You don’t want to identify them as couples. And but you know, by the way, this this idea of couples not spending as much as two individuals to this applies to all kinds of couples, you know, and so it’s kind of a mindset we want to be doing is we want to be identifying the actual people, not as a couple, we want to be identified the actual visitors and then we’re going to create programs, this gets back to that pyramid thing, right? Where you’re, you’re creating specific programs and themes for each person in the couple. And so, and we’re going to be we’re going to be sending them messages about things. So you know, and people have different perspectives and most couples, you know, they say opposites attract and you see that
a lot. You know, I’m the quiet one. Janine is the talkative one in our in our relationship.
But you know, you’re gonna have that in almost all couples, so, so be aware that to raise more money, treat these people as individuals. It’s a leveraging tool. I mean, I just love it. You know, when I was doing a lot of these auctions, I was down in Florida, I
lived there for 20 years. And, gosh, I knew who I knew who my people were. And if there was a couple, you know, I knew what trigger words I could use during the live bidding to get one of the two excited about it, and then I would concentrate on them, if they were bidding as a couple, which I didn’t like, I would, I would find the one that was going at it really excited about what I was watching at that point, and go out to that person. So so that’s what you need to do. Because this is big time stuff. Remember, you’re, you’re in this for a cause, right? Your This is a charity fundraising event, it’s a charity auction, you’re in there to help people, you’ve got an important job to do here. And remember this too, I’ll just say this, and we’ll move on. Remember that we’re not tricking people into doing something here. The only reason they’re bidding is because they’re enjoying it. The only reason they’re bidding is because they want what you’ve got, you know, and they’re happy to do it, they’re even happier to do it, because it’s for a good cause. But it’s still all about them and what you’re giving them whether it’s entertainment, or the end result of what they’re buying. It’s so important. Okay, enough, said, I pontificated on that long enough. I think we know who the real talker is in our relationship.
Our next slide is the budget for your auction event. So really, this budget can vary widely, depending on a few factors. One is the cost in your area. Another one, your ambitions for the events type of style for that night, and your fundraising goals. One of the things below that we have spoken about is that you can cover all of your costs through the sale of your admission tickets. Yeah, this is pretty common, you know, you’re going to have certain I mean, you’re gonna have certain quality, you have to have a place for this thing to to occur. And, you know, I wouldn’t cheap out on that. I mean, I know a lot of times, you get something donated, or maybe it’s a schoolwork or something like that, you know, at least decorate it, you know, make it look nice. And because remember, you don’t want people to be in their current thinking, you know, I was here or at work all the day, I’m still with somebody that somebody I mean, somebody’s where you want to transport them. So what we do is we figured out what all those costs are going to be. And by the way, this is talked about a lot in the, in the eBook, and then Janine, and I, you know, we have a course, which we’re going to give you a special offer on at the end of this. It’s a video course, fundraising events made simple. And we talk a lot about budgets in there. But so what you want to know is you want to know what your costs are. And then your admission ticket that you sell, you want to cover those costs, so that everything else you you you generate every other income you generate from the auctioning the chances, people take that kind of stuff, that’s all you know, money in your pocket. And so that’s a really, to do that you need to know your costs. And number two, you need to know your audience as to how much you can charge them, and then bump it up a little bit, maybe make a deal for people, you know, given you create VIP packages, special seating that goes up, all those will will then not only just cover your costs, it will then leverage your admission price to and give you more money for your, for your your good work or doing with your charity. And they’ll in that we want to include that you want to set your fundraising goal. So it’s we always talk about that with any type of of charity fundraising event, what we don’t want to say is we’ll just going to raise as much money as we can go, you know, we’re going for for the highest limit in the sky. Well, your your where your staff, your volunteers, your committees need to know what the goal is because you want it to be attainable. And you want it to be something that folks can reach for work for and attain. So that’s a really important part of setting your budget is to first know what your goal is how much you actually want to net engineer, remember, it’s all about moving the needle. It’s all about long term growth here is building a solid foundation and building it year by year where people are getting great value, great excitement, and where they belong, and they’re part of something you’re doing. And so you know, set your goals realistically, because there’s nothing worse than saying, Oh, we’re gonna get the most money here we’ve ever gotten before. And then everybody’s disappointed because you didn’t get it you know, so be realistic. Grow it. That’s right.
Next, we have saving on your venue and event light accommodations. folks use your connections, everybody has connections. That’s what’s really going to help you out in this area. You also want to make the night special it as Bill said, you don’t want to be sitting in the school auditorium with as if you’re there at a basketball game, we want to make it festive. If that’s your event, let’s make it festive. It might be fun to get out of here. If you’re fundraising for school might be fun to to get out of that environment and have everybody get dressed up and see all those people in a in a different type of light. And then Bill, you mentioned recently about an auction that you went to had a tent on the bay and a great restaurant next door that served all the catering. And what a great event that as maybe you could talk a little bit about that. Yeah. And it was it was it was reasonable for the people what it was, there’s a great there’s a great restaurant in Margate, New Jersey. And by the way, if you guys are not at the shore today, you should be. So it’s a great, it’s a great day down here. But my wife and I went to this. It was for the Jewish Community Center. And the restaurants called Steve and cookies a fabulous restaurant. And what they did, they got a pretty big parking lot there. And it was it was a little bit earlier in the season. So it wasn’t it was couple months ago. So it wasn’t the parking wasn’t impossible at that point. And they put a big tent out there in the parking lot. They’ve done this a couple years in a row now. Fantastic auction, silent auction and live auction raised a ton of money. But then what they also did was they also had Steven cookies, catered it with real nice finger foods and
and then they had wineries and breweries
serving their wares there. It was an event. Ah, it was so exciting. I had such a great time. Of course, I bid on stuff, you know, that I that I didn’t really need but I was caught up in the moment. And
so it was a lot of fun. But there were some serious bidders there. And these people, these people knew it was coming up next. They’d been there year after year. And they did such a great job. The JCC did such a great job of, of growing they’re they’re bitters, you know, and people knew each other in line. It was it was just really great. But it’s so there’s a there was elegant. It was really elegant. But it wasn’t that expensive because it was a tent, you know, built next to the restaurant. So Stephen cookies. And by the way, you get to go to Stephen Covey’s has a blueberry pie. It’s unbelievable. And cookie was out there hosting people. And see, here’s the thing to folks, when you’re when you’re attracting donors, and I don’t know what the arrangement was with with Cookie, I know she does a lot of charity work. But she got a lot out of it too. Because you know, people were eating her food and tasting it. They her restaurant was right next door. You know, donors get something out of this, you know, so when you’re looking for donors, look for people who donate regularly because they feel like they’re getting something out of it. It was a wonderful day, Janine. Well, now we’re all hungry. So we’ll have to move on to the next one.
Now I have a craving for blueberry pie.
And I have no connection there. But make sure to tell a cookie that Bill Quain sent you.
So now we’re talking about must have auction items.
So with this in mind, we were talking about keep in mind items that suit your audience, and work with your event theme. We’re always going back to the event theme, which you should have every year. And most folks do. But keep that in mind. And also items that have a high potential for income generation. So that again, they would be the bucket list experiences, maybe a hot air balloon ride, a helicopter ride, those type of things. Prestigious sport of sports events. We have good friends their horse was in the Kentucky Derby several years ago, so each year they donate tickets to the Kentucky Derby. Well, who doesn’t want to do the Kentucky Derby I think that’s I’ve never wanted but I have my hat ready to go. So if I am, if I ever do win it I have a hat to where to the Kentucky Derby. We have dinner and culinary activities. private chef and travel travel are big. That’s a big auction item as well. Those are the things that are going to bring in a lot of money for your nonprofit.
And you need all those things. A lot of times you can you can improve their appeal by building the pyramid around them right like we talked before with add ons and that sort of thing. But also by by appealing to the
A donor to, to give more. So for example, at a restaurant, a famous restaurant with a well known chef, you know, and a great wine cellar, for example, you know, you get the sommelier, the wine steward to do a private tasting for the folks have the chef, teach them how to do so it always amazes me. I mean, having been a chef, for many years, it always amazes me that people want to come in the kitchen all the time.
Last place I want to be I’m gonna enjoy a good meal. But so yeah, we used to put a chef’s table in the kitchen, and a couple places where I was at people would pay extra to sit back there and watch the busboys, you know, steal silverware. So it was just, it was just amazing to me how, when you include them when you give them into more depth, and here’s what I want you to think about to what what have your, uh, your bidders, what have, they already spent a lot of money on, that you can have an auction item that utilizes what they have. So for example, golfers, golfers are nuts.
They’ve, they’ve invested in, you know, Yellow pants, and green shirts, and the old these golf clubs icon stuff. So they’ve got this stuff already, it’s a biggest, it’s a sunk investment. So for them to go someplace, you know, special to golf,
that’s a great thing. Now, on the other hand, you gotta get your clubs there and that kind of stuff. So, so include that they reduce the risk include for them, you know, go to an airline and make a special arrangement with the airline about, hey, give me a discount on
on sending the clubs out there, you know, that sort of thing. So, so think in terms of those things, to really build this list and have your message and by the way, must have travel and restaurants must have you got to have it
can’t happen auction with that said stuff.
Okay, now we’re on to
three keys to a successful fund a need. So in this in this slide, we talk about an emotional trigger that you need, you need maybe yeah, maybe we should start with what a fund a need is for folks.
Just to make sure everybody’s on the same page with us on that. Sure. Yeah. So a fund the need is basically a special call for money. Right at the auction doesn’t involve auction items. It’s, it’s a, Hey, listen, we’ve got a special need.
You know, recently, we had a request for a special wheelchair for one of our, you know, whatever happens to be, you know, some, some, some need, we’re adding a new wing to the building or, you know, whatever, I got in trouble one time because I was at a faculty meeting and the Provost said we’re adding two new stories to the library. I asked who the authors were and he didn’t think
it might be
it might be a new ban for the Fed you know, maybe maybe it’s a an animal rescue and might be needed a new the van to pick up the pickup the animals, any type of special need. And this is called the funds need time and your auction, which actually happens about two thirds of the way through your live auction. After your, your,
your people people are frustrated with they didn’t get anything you know.
And so now they got this money burning a hole in their pocket. So everyone’s got a paddle. It’s also called raise a paddle or a paddle call. And what do you want to do is have people pledge at different at different levels. So first, we’re starting off with the emotional trigger, which lasts about five minutes and and this will often involve a special story, it might involve a bob a guest of honor. who perhaps your your, you might be a breast cancer survivor who can can give a few moments of your time and say how this organization has helped them. And that’s your emotional drawl. And that gets people excited and really connected to the need through their story. Well, Jane, by the way, I liked the way you told that it was good. Okay, great. And then timing is everything as we mentioned, about two thirds of the way through live live auction after your biggest ticket items, biggest ticket item. So folks are thinking wow, I really wanted to I really want to donate money. Well here comes the power call the live call, and then prime the ask so you want to use want to start lining up your highest donors or who you think will be the highest bidders and ask them when would be a good time to do it and start with those folks and then you then you can you work your way through the levels so that folks can give tender
dollars, hey, do you have 100 people giving $10? That’s a lot of money for your, for your need right there. So again, this is also an important time to have your volunteers coming through the audience making their way through the audience and helping
as we go into this in some great depth in the eBook to have a box, yes, yeah, lots of details there.
Okay, we are on to the evoked set.
Just take a moment and look at the illustration in front of you. And we I think we can all identify with this. This goes back to building the pyramid. And it also goes back to we’ve also mentioned here about branding, when folks, donors and buyers think of you, you want to be here within their evoked set. Do you want to talk about that, though? Yeah, Janine, what the one, the picture we have up here is someone’s brain. And you see, there’s restaurant names. There’s the restaurant names on that. Janine? Yes. The Wild Thing bar Harry’s here. Yes. So this is this is somebody who was just thinking to him or herself. I wonder where we should go for dinner to dinner tonight. And what happens is, is some restaurants pop into your mind, well, those restaurants have worked really hard to get in that spot. Okay. And so what you’re doing, and this goes back to what Janine and I have been stressing again, and again, and this is why we love dealing with with Sam, and the people that don’t are perfect, is they really get this is this is a this is a long term build. This is a long term build. So you want people because remember, people are people are going to go to a certain number of things a year, right? That you want, when when your a call comes out, you want an image to pop into their mind that you had, because you built it there, you know, you had built a personal relationship with them. So this getting getting into people’s head, it’s called the evoked set. And you again, this is moving the needle moving the needle moving the needle, this is this is think of yourself I think casino, you know, you’re you’re building bitters here, you’re these are the relationships you build with people. This is really cool. I mean, this, this is where I’ll tell you, this is where you, as a fundraiser, can really separate yourself and within your profession, in serving your organization or future organizations, whatever happens to be by becoming the kind of person who understands this is happening. And you want folks to have so much fun and such a great experience at your auction or your fundraising event. And they know that when it’s going to happen next year, so Oh, March. Oh, March is the charity auction for the Diabetes Association. Oh, I have to make sure I save time for that. February. We’re in the our qubits cranium. Ron is in the evoked set of 1000 people because every February the third, the third weekend, I have to go to keep his cranium. It’s fun. I went a lot of prizes. I might win a medal. So when we when we show this illustration of the head, we’ve done I like to do this.
Excuse me at workshops, because then we ask people to to yell out what are the restaurants that immediately come to mind for them. And it’s a lot of fun, because everybody can think of three right away. And I know ours is Valley Forge pizza. If you ask our family where you want to go for dinner tonight, Valley Forge pizza, how great is that for Valley Forge pizza that they have there in our head? And they’re the first thing that pops to mind when we ask where you want to go out for dinner. So that’s where they’re at. That’s where you want to reside in the brains of these folks when they think about charity auctions and fun charity auctions. Yeah, mine is Pierre sharkbanz. In Paris, a little Bistro, I like to frequent.
we’re doing a good job on time here. So we’re going to go on to should you invest in easy to use tech? And can I get the answer? Can I get the answer as to our users? Yes.
So if you’re reaching the several dozen guest or you have 100 items to track as Bill and I have been talking about all along, this will make life easier for you. And again, it’s not something that you need to jump all the way in to the pool, you can dip your toe in, you can have some live auction items. You can have some silent auction items, you can do some mobile bidding, it’s all about building your audience so that you are in that evoked set. And you are building your donors year after year. And you’re building your biters year after year and increasing your audience and increasing your revenue from the event.
And there’s so there’s so much to keep track of you know, there is just so much to keep track of.
I was getting I was telling you about. I want a really I like to fish and I want
A really nice real fish spinning reel for my surf casting rod. And I wrote a thank you letter to the
local tackle store that had had had donated it. And the guy called me up on the phone, he says, I’ve been doing this for years, and nobody has even, you know, I’ve ever knew what happened, you know, to this stuff? Well, see, it’s just that little kind of stuff, you know, that can make such a difference, as you move that needle. And so, use the technology that’s out there folks to to, to really organize yourself and track the trends that you have going on. Spot the hotspots, yeah, when we say when you when you see a fire, throw gas on it, you know, at these kinds of things. And you can do that, if you if you have the information at your fingertips.
It’s also a lot easier to present that to your board of directors instead of sort of guessing what the popular things were last year where your donors came from, how much they spend who your top donors were,
in your and your top bidders. It’s you have the data right in front of you, it’s it’s nice and clean. It’s easy to to present to your board of directors as well. Yeah, and you can make nice pictures out of, you know, pie charts and that kind of stuff. You know, people love that stuff.
I think we’re on to the questions and answers. Have we been getting some some questions, Sam?
Yeah, we have, we have quite a number here. Again, I guess I’ll just remind everyone, if you’ve had any questions that you haven’t submitted, you can submit them now. We have a list here. So we might not get to every question. But it doesn’t hurt to ask. So I’ll go ahead and get started. One of the first we had actually a couple of come in, sort of related to having,
I guess, like, the major gift to attract people like something like, you know, vacation getaway or or a big dinner outing at a very nice restaurant and kind of for the smaller nonprofits or people having maybe smaller auctions, how do they go about getting started withdrawing in those, those bigger gifts that can kind of you know, that’s really what’s going to attract a lot of attendees to some of these events? Like how would a smaller nonprofit go about, you know, getting the major gifts?
Well, that’s, that’s a great question. And And as somebody who’s worked on both sides of that, I mean, somebody who’s
owned and run restaurants, and I owned and run a hotel,
to some to working on the other side for the charity fundraisers standpoint, I can tell you, that is is part of your branding, you’re having those signature types of things. There’s, there’s a number of organised a number of companies around the day that do zero cost funding, I shouldn’t say funding, but zero cost packaging, for big ticket items that you only pay for, if they
sell. So for example, you can you could have is a group called Wind Spire, W I N SP IRA, and they put together two trips, travel, all inclusive stuff. And it’s really great, they have a catalog. So you can put something that from their catalogue in your, in your auction, and you put the opening bid for that at the at the minimum cost to it. So let’s suppose it’s something that it’s going to cost you $1,000, but it has far more value to it than that, you know, you put it the minimum bid at $1,000. Just start the bidding there. And now anything over 1000, anything over $1,000 Is is money for your, your, your organization. So it’s no cost that the other thing having said that
is to is to develop relationships with local restaurants and work your way up. Who who in your organization, frequents a restaurant?
You know, do they have a chef there?
Would that chef like to show off a little bit? Have there have there been some stories in the newspaper about some chefs, that sort of thing, you know, build relationships there and sell the restaurants on why they should be participating with you. So, you know, you just can’t go to them and say, Oh, listen, we have a great thing here. Can you can you give us can you give us something for you need to tell them about who your attendees are? And and how they can, you know, these are the kinds of people who want to know more about this now. Now you could have certain categories and stuff like that they could they could give something but but maybe you could talk some of your donors in
into saying, Hey, listen, let’s go over there for a couple of meals, we’ll have a board meeting there, you know, so, so as you build that relationship, and finally, I will say this look for you look for people who are already getting at because they’re already giving for a reason. You know, it’s much harder to give some get somebody, it’s much harder to get somebody who’s never given somebody something to give, than it is to find somebody who’s used to doing this. And you can show them how you’re really worth worth worth working with. The other that I might add on to that is we had in terms of developing a relationship. So the first year, you may not have those sponsors, or those donators, those donor aid or those donors donating a lot or as much as you might like, but you want to grow that relationship and show them what a fun event is, and how much money you are raising. So for example, we had a, an organization, a restaurant, donate some some food to our event, our first year, well, they had so much fun with it. And and our attendees enjoyed it so much that the next year the the organization asked if they could be a three year partner with us. And in turn, this was a national chain, right? Today’s national chain as Yes. So they they said, Hey, we had so much fun, we really believe in the cause your your volunteers, you had volunteers all over the place, it was so well run, that we want to be part of this event, it was much it was a much better event than 99% of the other events that we’ve been to. So they asked us for a three year commitment, they became our partner for three years and the amount that they donate, it went up exponentially as well as adding a lot of fun to the event and adding a national name to our event. So this might not happen right away, folks. But it’s again, it’s getting back to building the relationships so that by your fifth year, you’re looking at doubling the amount of money that you made your first year.
That’s good answers. It’s good answer. Great. Thank you guys. And also just related to that. Real quick, I’ll mention that. It was about six months ago, we had an expert webcast featuring winds buyer on how to basically leverage travel for your auctions. So kind of on this topic, that’s something I can include in the follow up email here a link to that as well, for those who are interested in learning more there. That’s great. So the next question, and there’s been maybe five or six sort of slight variations of the question, folks kind of pose it broadly to you and let you kind of take it from there. But a lot of people are asking about, you know, using online or mobile bidding, as well as paper bidding. And
I guess, sort of, if it’s okay to merge the two and have some items that are online, only some items that are paper only, or if you want to, if that’s not the best practice to do, and try to stick to all online if you can, despite having, you know, some people say their donors are typically older and might not have the mobile, you know, the mobile device with them. So I guess do you have any input on sort of merging the two are or if that’s not a good idea?
Let me take a little stab at that. Janine, the
when we make sure we distinguish two, between
online auctions and mobile auctions.
Because the online auctions, I mean, they can go on, they can be an event themselves, that never has people gathering for them, and to the south beach wine and food festival that, that I used to be one of the directors for, they have a completely separate online auction, that’s, you know, that you could do on your desktop. And that goes up. Now, the mobiles. And almost everybody knows how to do that. I mean, that’s, that’s really,
most audience, not just the mobile ones. That tends to be, you know, kind of quick and fast paced that goes up. In the ebook. We talk a lot about combining the two. And and I think it’s a real good idea. And I here’s here’s, here’s what I’ve seen people do. Sometimes they
they’ll start out
some items online. And then when you get to the, when you get to the actual on site auction, the the day then they then go to an on site auction,
which can be paper, or it can be continued online using mobile at that point.
And so the bidding starts there. I’ve seen people do with a combination online, slash mobile slash live auction, where you got to be careful with that because you don’t want people
or bidding offline driving the price up so that it gets too much for your folks. So, so what we recommend for most people is, is start out, combining them, you know, instead of making a switch over one year, if you’ve had a lot of silent auctions, and you got some live items and that kind of stuff,
put it up a mobile slash online component, and maybe do some of your items on that. And then some of them, you can only bid on by being there at the auction site. And that, that gets people excited. So so there’s really you could you can combine these in all kinds of ways. Janine, did you have a comment on that? No, I think it’s just getting back to dipping your toe in and moving the needle. And you don’t want to overwhelm your, your staff, your organization, your board. So it’s all about, again, developing a relationship. So it do what you can handle the first year so that you look, organize, you look as if you know what you’re doing. And you want those folks to come back. And then next year, we’ll keep adding a little bit more a little bit more until you feel kind of your comfort level. Yeah. Okay. All right. Great. Thank you. I know that was a kind of a tough question to answer as far as specifics, but I think you guys did a good job. Next, this one’s kind of straightforward. As far as you had mentioned, having a fundraising goal and not just saying something like, you know, we want to raise as much as we can, but having a specific goal is that goal, something you’d want to make public during the event, and whether you’re close to achieving it, or already have achieved it, or is that something that’s just for you, and the people within your organization?
I guess there are two thoughts to this, you definitely need it within your own organization to share with your board of directors to share with your staff. So the everybody knows what kind of goal you’re you’re reaching towards
the you can sort of do it retroactively. And at the event, say you’ve reached your goal, your goal was however many, you know, $35,000 $100,000, whatever it was that you wanted to raise that night, you can do that. At our event, we actually present one of the oversize checks to the to the charity that is getting our fundraising for that year. And we have the emotional pool with it, because we have the the physicians that are associated with our charities is brains, pediatric brain tumor research. So we have the positions that operate on the kids and are working on the research there at the event, again, that the emotional pool, so whatever you can do their to bring that in and introduce people to what the end result will be with the money that they’ve donated.
Some, you know, some nonprofits use the thermometer, the when they’re trying to raise the money, and they can show all along how close they are to that, it’s tough, it’s tough to tell, until you’re actually at the auction, it’s a little bit different than other charity fundraising events, where you will know ahead of time how much money you’re going to make. So I would be inclined to say that to keep in, keep it to your organization and your staff, and then announced that if in fact, you have met your goal announce that at the actual event that night at the at the auction?
Yeah, it’s kind of it’s an interesting question. I mean, it’s a it’s a really interesting question. First of all, from from a management perspective of managing these things, you definitely want that goal known within your organization. And of course, you then you go out and you get your, your items, you invite your bidders, that kind of stuff, all with an idea of, of reaching that goal. And that’s where by the way, your your your tech, your investing making an investment and you’re testing your software. That’s where that can really help you track where you went well, and where you didn’t do well, what when you met your expectations, where you didn’t meet your expectations or where you exceeded your expectations. The danger with with announcing a goal at a charity auction, as opposed to some other kind of fundraiser
is that you run the risk of making your your guests feel uncomfortable that items are getting bid up
to meet a goal and so in terms of releasing that goal to your to your your public
or your your your your base your donors there. I’m not as comfortable with that just because at an auction, I wouldn’t want to feel like I’m bidding on something and and the pressure is on me to bid more. So I can meet a goal. When I’m bidding on something I’m bidding on something that I really want. And you know, so I think a lot of people feel that way.
Now at the end of the night announcing how much you you raise is a spectacular thing to do. And that’s where, again, having this your, your tech, your your your software in place where you can get that kind of feedback immediately, is a great thing. So excellent question. No, I don’t believe in releasing the goal at the auctions, if we’re going to, we’re going to stay here and bid on stuff tonight, you know,
I’m gonna sell my jacket.
We got to get more money in here. Because remember in bidding in auctions, is psychology is letting people feel like they’re getting something special at where they couldn’t get it someplace else. And I think the goal here is about if I can interject one more thing, I think the goal here, the real goal is to make everyone feels that they’re part of something successful. So it’s not necessarily that you’ve reached X amount of money, it’s that you were part of a successful event. You know, folks had fun, you raise a lot of money, you can release that afterwards. And you can particularly do that to your donors, slash sponsors. That’s always a good idea we send out we send out postcards that we just kind of order from Vistaprint, we have a our logo on the front, and we have a printed how many people came to our event, and how much money was donated to our charity of choice that year. And it’s a very upbeat postcard, you know, you’re a part of this. And, you know, thank you so much for, for participating. So, again, folks are coming away from it, thinking that this was a really successful event. If you put the number out there ahead of time, as Bill said, you run the risk of you’re, you’re there just to just to make money for the organization. And you’re also there with the you know, it could be they didn’t reach the event and reach the goal. And folks think that they’re not successful at that point. So you never want anybody feeling that way. So there there, there are different ways of showing that it was a big successful event.
Sure, great. All right. So we’re just up against it. We have about two minutes left. So I want to get to this last slide,
where we kind of have our special offers for our attendees, I’ll speak on behalf of ReadySet auction real quick. And we have a special offer in place right now that if you sign up by August 31, you’re gonna save $300 on your signup fee. So again, you can check out ReadySet auction.com. That’s listed right there where you can learn more and get in touch and answer any questions. Or we can answer any questions that that you have related to using readies at auction for your next event. And then Janine and Bill, I’ll let you speak to your 50% off coupon code. There
are video courses fundraising events made simple.com. And we are offering for the attendees of this webinar 50% off
at the discount will be applied at the checkout. And the code for this is the word auction, which should not be really a surprise to anybody. This is a four four hour video course broken up into 15 minute increments. And what that means to you is that you can you can skip around in the video course to see which is most important for you it might be how do I get more more donors? Or might be how do i brand myself successfully in my events successfully. The subtitle of our course is 12 action steps to make your next event bigger, better and easier. So this applies to any type of fundraising event whether you’re doing a 5k a charity auction, a golf outing, we have the same 12 action items. And also each action item is followed with an in depth look behind the scenes case study of our Cupid’s cranium 5k. And again, that kind of opens up, you know, behind the scenes opens up the curtains to show you behind any type of fundraiser, a particular case study which can help you out and all your different fundraising events. Yeah, you reveal your entire budget for the event. And there. It’s really quite a case study. And so it’s all video lessons. It’s fantastic, along with the 75 page ebook. Exactly, right. Yeah, definitely check that out.
Alright, so we are just out of time. I just want to remind everyone, you’ll be receiving an email with the recording and the slides, hopefully by tomorrow. And I just want to again, thank Bill and Jeanine for doing that. So it’s great presentation. A lot of very good information out of there. So thank you guys. Thank you, Sam. Thanks. Bye, everybody. Bye. And we’ll see you next time. Thank you. ThanksRead Less
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