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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 Obtain Fundraising Auction Donations

by Maureen and John Winter


An auction is only as good as the items you have to sell. Here are some quick tips to follow for getting donations.

Business Donations

A business that donates will be listed in the auction catalog, and its merchandise or gift certificate will be displayed at the event, where it will be viewed by hundreds of people.

First call the company and find out who is in charge of charitable giving. Get their name, title, address, and phone number.

The letter should be brief and it should include: A one- or two-sentence description of your organization. Make your letter very short and to the point.

  • A brief summary of the event
  • Number of people attending
  • How much was raised last year
  • How the money will complete an important project

Soliciting From Friends

Besides all the businesses you are acquainted with, take out that little black book or refer to the list of phone numbers by the phone in the kitchen. Consider the donor for a moment. How do they like to spend their time? What are they proud of? What is their secret pleasure?

You're asking your friends to donate their time doing things they like to do or sharing their treasures for the good of the cause. They will be honored that you know them so well that you can ask for something they would be pleased to share.

Start by making a donation yourself. Figure out the best thing you can do for the auction and fill out the donation form. Add a little extra special something in the TLC department, like a lunch for the drive up to your vacation cabin. Then when you approach your friends and associates, you will be asking for a commitment like the one that you have made yourself.

How to Ask for Donations

You can ask for donations by mail, by phone or in person. If you're there in person, it's a lot harder to turn you down. If the person you've contacted says, "We'll think about it" or "We'll get back to you on that," your response should be, "Oh, let's just get it done right now. Here, I've already filled out most of the form."

When you approach a business, it is important to specify what you're looking for. Suggest something of medium value from their inventory, but be specific in your request. The better your connection, the greater should be your request.

Don't ignore mom-and-pop businesses. They really count on returning customers, and they really understand the dynamics of word-of-mouth advertising. That's how they survive. They also value community and so can be expected to appreciate the community organization you are working for.

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


About the Author: Written by Maureen & John Winter of Target Funding Group who manage more than 30 charity fundraising auctions a year for organization large and small, have authored two books on charity auctions and designed a very user friendly software to accomplish all the tasks for a successful charity fundraising auction.

For more information, or to subscribe to their free monthly email newsletter, please visit their site at: http://www.charityauctionhelp.com



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