Why is a live charity auction the best fundraiser for your nonprofit? Let’s look at some of the alternatives first.
Chances are anyone reading this has been involved in a fundraiser of some kind. Let me guess. Your son has sold popcorn or your daughter has sold cookies. You put miles on your car and spent your own money on gasoline. If you were “lucky” enough to sell a lot, you had to then make a lot of deliveries. Or was it discount cards/books, bread, calendars, shall I go on? What percentage of the sales did your nonprofit actually get to keep – 50%, 25%, or less? Now take the number of volunteers and times that by the number of hours each spent on the fundraiser. If you counted all the hours & expenses of the volunteers you are lucky if you broke even. How many weeks did it go on? It felt like a long time didn’t it? Did the people who bought the products learn anything about your nonprofit organization and the good things it does? Did you also know that, with cold call and door-to-door selling; there are consumer protection laws that allow the buyer to back out of the contract, so what may seem to be a sale is not?
Let’s look at another form of fundraising. Marketing firms consider a direct mail campaign successful if it receives a response on just 0.25 – 1 percent of the mailers. Imagine sending out 1,000 full-color postcards with postage that could have a cost of $1 per mailed piece and if you have 25 people respond (0.25 percent) your campaign is actually considered successful. Keep in mind a response is not considered a donation and your expenses are already at one thousand dollars for every thousand mailers.
How about cold calls? Of course, many people really consider this a nuisance. So much that now there are laws to restrict cold calling. There is a national “don’t call” list and some states even have their own more stringent “do not call” lists. Even without the restricted prospects, it takes a skilled professional and without that training your percentage rates could very well be less than even a direct mail campaign.
So before you organize your next car wash and spend hours in the sun for a disappointing return, call a professional benefit auctioneer and let them help you plan a fun and lucrative charity event. A charity auction should be truly enjoyable for your volunteers and your guests and can sell a variety of donated items. One of the biggest benefits of a charity event is the information you can give your guests about your organization. They will leave knowing what your nonprofit is doing and what their money will go to support. This produces a sense of ownership in your cause. Of course an organization can be using many of these types of fundraising, but a live auction event produces, without question, the far greatest return.
If the auctioneer you have chosen cannot help you plan your event to maximize your fundraising, don’t give up. There are strategies to make your next auction event better and there are professional benefit auctioneers that are dedicated to your success.