What Sells Best? 4 Hot Summer Auction Item Procurement Tips

How to Curate High-Profit Benefit Auction Items

What’s a great time to solicit auction items? Now, summer, of course…

What’s a great time to solicit auction items? Now, summer, of course…

What charity benefit auction items bring the most profit at a fundraising auction? Let’s first look at the top factors to procure hot auction items that get those bid cards flying high at your next benefit auction. This is one of the questions that I’m most frequently asked. Summertime is a terrific time to ask for auction items, especially if you have just spent money on a trip or fantastic adventure. Keep reading for my sizzling tips to solicit top selling auction items.

Did you know that benefit auction bidder behaviors have changed? Have you? Auction guests are bidding much more intentionally and with a strong measure of pre-auction promotion of auction items on your part. Let’s face it, not everyone wants or needs another silent or live auction item. So it’s vital for you and your benefit auction team to be strategic and only procure items for your event that maximize your fundraising and add excitement.

The number one factor for profitable benefit auction items might just surprise you. Plus, read on and I’ll teach you how to raise more money!

First, match auction items to your guests.

Who are your guests and what do they want? Here are some important tips. Be sure to analyze the last few years auction results. What do your top bidders want? Ask them.

Second, ONLY solicit those auction items generate a high rate of return on the value of the auction item. Hint: think and act like a top marketer – a benefit auction is a one-day business. Know the return on investment (ROI) of every single auction item. What are the best items — the ones have the capacity to bring far over their value! Focus on bestselling items that have a high yield and ROI. The goal is to get items that will get a hundred percent of their value and more. If auction items receive fifty percent or less of their value historically, don’t use them any longer. It is not worth the time they take to sell in a live auction or the space they take up in a silent auction.

Third, consider consignment items. Consignment auction items are offered by companies to be auctioned by organizations for fundraising. The organization makes money when it sells the item above cost.

auction-itemsThe advantage of consignment items is that your organization has access to items it can’t get through donations. This opens a vast choice of trips and experiences that are best sold when you base your selection on the makeup of your audience. There are consignment items that fit all sizes of auctions and may be sold multiple times. Consignment experiences are not a financial risk: if you don’t sell them, you don’t pay. However, it’s vital to start the bidding at a price point above the cost of the consignment item. As when contracting with any vendor, do your homework. Be aware that some guests and patrons wish to know if an auction item is donated 100% or if it is a consignment item, where only a portion of their high bid will benefit the charity. Remember that fundraisers cannot rely completely on consignment items. Consignment times can be utilized successfully to add a fresh component and new dollars. Unrestricted or choice travel dates will bring more dollars than a time-restricted item. Chosen strategically, consignment items can be used successfully in raffles, and silent and live auctions.

Fourth, just say NO! Less is more. Reduce the number of silent and live auction items. Consider this ratio: 1 item per every 4 guests.

What fundraising auction items bring the most profit? Read on!

What’s HOT?

Procure items that fulfill fantasies and have emotional value
Solicit items that are experiences, personal and unique items, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, exclusive, handmade gifts, one-of-a-kind items, travel, trips, sold out, hard to get and unique group experiences. Hot VIP tickets and experiences to sold out sporting event, concerts and live shows are doing well now too. Wine is also selling well, however check your state and local laws. Top selling items have limitless retail value. When there is a stated retail value, bidders tend to stop at that pre-set spending limit.

What’s NOT?

Avoid auction items that do not perform well.
Art, jewelry, professional and medical services typically sell far below retail value. They are considered personal choices, and typically do not sell well at general fundraising auctions. Unless you know you have several ready bidders prior to auction night, its best avoid these items. You may also wish to carefully consider using consignment items with very high reserves. Taking a look at your past auction performance results and bidding levels will help you determine if these types of items are a good match for the guests at your event.

Your Bonus Hot Fundraising Tip:

Get Picky: Only solicit items that have been successful in the past
Waste no time and space on items that don’t bring high return. Study your results each year and only solicit items that are successful for you. Make a chart calculating item, retail value, high bid, percentage of value achieved. Study what your group loves to bid on. Get picky and get more of these top revenue producers!

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