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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.

Finding Corporate Donors
for Fundraising Auctions

by Maureen and John Winter


Most large corporations and chain stores make auction donations from their central office. The larger the business, the larger the potential gift—and usually the more red tape to deal with. Sometimes you will hit pay dirt with your first phone call, but more often you'll have to combine a dozen or so calls, letters, and appointments to get the job done. It's worth the effort.

First call the company and find out who is in charge of charitable giving. Get their name, title, address, and phone number. Next, call the office to which you were referred and find out how they like to focus their donations. Indicate that you will send them a letter about what your group does. Then send it off that day.

The letter should be brief and it should include:

  • A one- or two-sentence description of your organization. Make it very short. Point out how your mission is consistent with the business's giving plan.

  • A brief summary of the event - number of people attending, how much you raised last year, how the money helped you complete an important project. (But remember, keep it short).

  • A request that the business participate this year. You can ask for a grant of a specified amount, which will make them a/the sponsor of the event, a donation of goods or services, or their enthusiastic attendance.

Corporate Tables

Corporate donors often see purchasing a batch of tickets as a public relations investment, so be prepared to offer a specific number of tickets for a generous amount in excess of the amount you would have charged per person. You might describe this as a "table" (if you do dinner seating), a reserved section with a perfect view of the items being sold, or a private preview and champagne reception prior to the time you open to the rest of your guests. Remember to thank these upscale cash donors in the catalog.

Keep in mind that many companies view this as a straight donation. They may leave their table completely empty, in which case it isn't a good idea to place the table center front, creating a dead space right in front of the auctioneer. Most likely the "corporate table" seats will be given to employees as gifts, or perhaps just posted on a bulletin board so that people can sign up if they'd like to go.

How the way the tickets are used will affect where the guests' tables should be located. If you get the top executives and you know they support your cause, seat them near the front, where they can set a good example by bidding high. If the table is filled from a sign-up list, your guests may be more interested in socializing (sometimes very loudly) than in making the auction work. If that's the case, seat them in a back corner.

Other Corporate Opportunities

Other corporate sponsorship opportunities include:

  • Underwriting refreshments

  • Underwriting of facilities

  • Program sponsor

  • Sponsor a silent auction table

  • Live Auction Sponsor



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


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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