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Silent Auction Guide & Toolkit
Learn how to create a successful silent auction fundraiser. Silent auction strategies, timelines, auction items and how to organize and display them, how to close an auction and take payments, and other add on fundraisers to boost the bottom line.

Secrets of the Charity Auction Experts
Learn from the experts! Discover the best selling auction items. How to get auction items donated. How to boost attendance. How to get more bids and higher selling prices. How to coordinating volunteers, staff and auction consultants.

Fundraising Idea of the Month:
Evaluation

by Doug Nash


Who benefits from evaluating? YOU DO!

Planning your event helps to avoid or minimize mistakes and so do the best you can, evaluation can help you avoid making the same mistakes and improve the return on your next effort both in the financial and fun departments. Companies and professional organisations use the tool of evaluation constantly to improve their performances in nearly everything that they do. As said elsewhere in this book, if it works for them then it will work for you and your organisation.

No fund-raiser has ever been run perfectly. There is always something that can be better, there is always room for improvement no matter how small. If you can do the small things better the big things goes better - the result a better return for your efforts. Evaluations are simple to do and worth the effort.

When you evaluate, you look at both what went wrong and what went right. You look at what went wrong so you can either totally prevent a similar occurrence happening next time or to minimize it's chance of repeating. You look at what went right to find out what to keep for next time. If you find out why it went so well you may find a way to do it better - to develop it. Once you know why something went well you have a much better chance of repeating it in the future.

Evaluations can be assigned to one person or to a nominated group. If you decide to use a group then think carefully who is appointed to the group. They must be clear on what is expected of them and they must be able to work together. Call for written opinions to be handed to the evaluation group to consider. Written opinions can be submitted from anyone connected to the event, from those who ran it to those who attended. The broader the group submitting ideas for consideration the better your chances of improving the result on your efforts. This a very useful and beneficial form of market research. At times you will be very pleasantly surprised not only by the suggestions put forward but also the source of the suggestion.

Do not open yourself to abuse or petty criticisms. No one deserves such treatment and you have better things to do than put up with this kind of rubbish. Once something has been identified as a unhelpful, discard it and move on.

Avoid making changes for changes sake. Try not to confuse activity with accomplishment. There must be a clear reason for the change, if there isn't the ask yourself why you are making the change. By making a lot of small changes, you can subtly change the overall event for the better. Sometimes what seems to be a small change can reap enormous benefits.

So what kind of questions do you ask when evaluating, start with these:

  • What, if anything went wrong? What can we do about it?
  • Did we meet your targets?
  • Did anyone complain and if so about what?
  • How long were the lines?
  • Was anyone overworked?
  • Did anyone's temper get out of hand?
  • Did everyone enjoy themselves?
  • How much money did we make?
  • Could we have made more?
  • Did anything unexpected happen? If so, why?
  • What was the best part of our event? Why?
  • What kind of comments were heard at the event in relation to the event?

Then ask yourself these questions:

  • What are the problems we faced?
  • Were any of the problems foreseeable? If so, why didnít we see them?
  • What could we change to improve next time?
  • What problems would that solve?
  • Would this create other problems we need to address? If so, what are they?
  • Is there anything else we can to help the event go better next time?

Be honest and make a record of all that is discussed and decided. This information will truly be invaluable for next time and may help other events that you do. Learn from your mistakes and where possible from the mistakes of others or those who have tried before you. You can be successful and exceed your goals even if you do make a few mistakes along the way.

***********************


    About the Author: Doug Nash lives in Logan City in Queensland, Australia. He has graciously consented to share a fundraising idea with us every month. Although many of the ideas aren't new, each of them has a unique flair that comes from being developed and refined half a world away from ours. Visit his web site at http://www.home.gil.com.au/~dnash/ for more fundraising ideas.

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