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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.

How To Hold A Successful Fundraising Auction

by Walt Kolenda


What's the most important aspect of your fundraising event?

If you're like most coordinators, the obvious answer to you would be revenue generation, right? While that's of course a good answer, I would say the most important things about your event are to make it exciting and to bring members into the fold. If you make these your goals, then the money raised will increase dramatically, at the same time generating good will and exposure for your organization.

I'm disappointed when I hear of a fundraising auction being hosted by the committee chair or a local personality such as a radio show host etc. My disappointment is for the income potential the group loses by not hiring a professional auctioneer.

A good auctioneer will never cost you money, they'll make you money.

When considering whether or not to hire an auctioneer for your event, ask yourself if the person you are considering hiring instead of an auctioneer can provide these benefits:

  • Can they ask for money in a tactful way without embarrassing the organization?

  • Do they know how to use advanced techniques to get thousands of extra dollars out of a crowd?

  • Can they identify the heavy hitters in a crowd and know what they're likely to bid on?

  • Do they already have a following of dedicated auction-goers?

  • Are they going to be a big help with marketing and promotion?

  • Are they well versed with bidding increments?

  • Will they get involved in the planning stages?

  • Do they know how to maximize the time?

  • Are they interested in your long-term success?

If you can answer no to any of the above questions, I can guarantee you that "guest" auctioneer will end up costing you a lot more than it would to hire a professional.

Planning your event:

Plan early, 6 months in advance at least will be needed to:

  • Put together a staff

  • Get Donations

  • Rally the Support of your group, even those not directly involved with the auction can be of assistance.

  • Hire a Personality

  • Market and Promote

  • Get your payment options available.

  • Line up food and/or entertainment.

  • Deciding what's appropriate for the silent auction, what goes in the live auction and which items will have both options.

  • Get the Hall Ready

A good auctioneer is ready to consult on all of the above. If you are going to hire an auctioneer, use them early, use them often!

A Few Important Planning Decisions:

  • Food: What will you serve and more importantly, for how long?

  • Seating - Please don't make the mistake of having the live auction crowd seated far from the auctioneer. It's going to be a busy night, when it comes time for the live auction, the auctioneer needs the undivided attention of the crowd. I've seen Charity events that did everything right on the social organizing, but when it came time for the live auction, there was not adequate seating up near the stage. The result, thousands of dollars lost.

  • What kind of donations will be appropriate for your event?- If it's a Church Social then you don't want a gift certificate for 2 rounds of drinks at Mick's Spill n'Grill, but if your raising money for the Sportsmen's Club it may be just the thing to auction!

  • How much do you have to spend on Marketing?- This could be an entire article by itself, but let me just suggest this:

    Get an Auctioneer who's familiar with online promotion.

    Some Auctioneers (I am one) will offer to help you promote your event by posting it online, even if you don't hire them to do the auction! For most of my auctions 90% of my crowd comes from my mailing list and my web sites. This results in a savings of thousands of dollar. I'm not saying don't advertise other ways, I'm saying you can't afford not to be online.

    It may have been OK in the old days to advertise only in the newspapers, but today your event will not be considered serious unless it has good online marketing.

    If you wish to have me promote your MASSACHUSETTS Charity Auction for FREE, email me at the web site located in the source box.

Think about your contributors as customers.

The people making donations are very generous indeed. You can help insure high quality donations by convincing potential donors that it will come back to them in advertising and good will customer representation.

Make sure to thank them properly by highlighting their generous gifts in your online marketing and mentions throughout the auction.

Again, not to beat a dead horse, but a professional auctioneer will acknowledge your donors in a graceful and informing way. I've had donors contact me and ask me how they could make sure they get a spot in next years auction!

And last but not least: Conduct your auction in every way, as if it were an advertisement for next years auction.

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About the Author:

Walt Kolenda is a licensed Massachusetts auctioneer and professional appraiser with 25 years in the auction/antiques business.

For more auction advice and information please go to http://www.auctionwally.com

To see my free online antiques appraisal blog go to http://www.auctionwally.blogspot.com.

I also have an auction show which you can hear at http://www.auctionwally.libsyn.com.

Contact me for a free auction consultation.

Article Source: EzineArticles.com



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