How to Hold a Successful Charity Auction
Make the most for your cause!
Auctions are a fantastic way for you to raise money for an organization that you are passionate about. They draw in a great crowd of bidders who are ready to give money and have fun at your event. We’ve created this guide so that you can be sure that your auction will be a success!
Decide What Type of Auction
The first thing that you will want to do when preparing for your charity auctions is to determine if you will be having a live or online auction. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types, so it will really be up to you to determine what will work best for your event depending on your time, budget, and organization.
Most charity auctions are live auctions. Typically, the auction takes place as part of a large event. There will likely be a formal dinner or some other activity that accompanies the auction for some added pizzazz. The main advantage of live auctions is the anticipation and fun surrounding the event. Bidders come prepared to spend money and can get wrapped up in the excitement of the night, donating more than they planned. The buzzing atmosphere and fun competition can sweep people away, giving you a larger final donation number at the end of the night. The disadvantage of live auctions is that they are typically a lot to plan. You will have to have the time and the staff to plan the event, as well as the funds to cover the costs. If you are worried about the added expenses, or don’t have the time to plan a huge event, it might be a better idea to host an online auction.
Online auctions are a great way to raise money fast for your organization. One of the biggest advantages of online charity auctions is the convenience that they bring both to you and to your bidders. All you have to do is provide photos and descriptions for your items and your auction company will do the rest. There is no huge planning process, no other expenses to budget for, and all you have to do is sit back and watch people bid. Bidders enjoy online charity auctions as it is easy for them to view your items on their own time and then place a bid on whatever they decide what they want to purchase. They will appreciate the opportunity to give fast without having to go out of their way. The main disadvantage to online charity auctions is the lack of urgency and competition. Live auctions pull in a lot of donations when people are swept up in the bidding process, but online auctions have less excitement attached to them. Online auctions are less focused around the organization as a whole and can’t pull on people’s heartstrings as much as a live auction would.
Once you’ve decided what type of auction you will be hosting you can jump right into the planning process!
Hire an Auctioneer
If you’ve decided to go the live auction route the first thing you will want to do is hire a professional auctioneer. While you might want to have a teammate or friend stand up on the auction block to save some money, it’s really in your best interest to hire an auctioneer. Besides the fact that you won’t have to worry about them getting stage fright right before the event, they have so much knowledge and experience to offer up that will help your auction go smoothly. They can give you tips on the planning process, help you attract the right bidders to the event and determine the best order to auction the items off in. During the event they know how to read the room and respond to keep the excitement up, will talk up certain items to get larger bids, encourage friendly competition and even act as a sort of MC for the night. An auctioneer will be able to help you get the highest bids possible out of your donors.
Pick Your Space
When heading into a live auction you want to make sure that you pick a proper location to go with your event. Like we said, many live charity auctions focus around a dinner, which gives you a lot of options. You can rent out a ballroom or banquet hall, or you could have your location play off of your cause. If you are raising money for a new football stadium, host a huge cookout on the current one. If you are raising money for an endangered species, check out the event rooms at your local zoo. Basing your space around your cause will add some extra fun to the night and will keep the organization at the forefront of everyone’s minds when it’s time to start bidding.