We add a Leap Day approximately every four years to keep our modern day calendar in alignment with the earth’s revolutions around the sun*. On this LEAP Day, I offer four forward thinking strategies to revolutionize your auction fundraising. Bound into my “L.E.A.P. Strategies” to hurdle over outdated event methods and to soar to new benefit auction revenue records.
LEAVE behind outdated, ineffective, low revenue event activities. Stop wasting your precious resources on activities that burn out volunteers, exhaust bidders and fail to produce significant revenue. Reconsider how much you invest in silent auctions, games, buffets, themes and decor. Instead, vault into high profit strategies that exponentially raise more money and engage donors. Be strategic, emphasize your Live Auction and Fund A Need Special Appeal.
EXPECT and plan to raise more money. Here’s why. Benefit Auctions are booming all over the county! Over $16.3 billion are raised annually at benefit auctions according to the National Auctioneers Association. In a landmark study, the Center on Wealth and Philanthropy reports that $58 trillion is expected in wealth transference and philanthropic giving between 2007 and 2061. Giving is up and my benefit auctioneer colleagues are reporting record breaking auction results nationwide. In an exciting trend, auction guests are donating to the Fund A Need in overwhelmingly greater numbers — even over the live auction. Be strategic and include this powerful opportunity for your guests to raise their bid card for a contribution at a level that is meaningful to them.
ASK personally. In this high tech world – remember the power of high touch. Whether you are inviting guests, soliciting sponsors, or procuring auction items, a phone call and meeting trump tweets and texts. Invite generosity by personally communicating the IMPACT of your guests’ high bidding and generous contributions. Be explicit about the results of your how your organization is making a difference and how the donor’s investment is part of the solution. Be strategic and create a dedicated Audience Development Team to concentrate on strategically inviting guests who will generously support your great cause.
PROMOTE auction philanthropy year round. Your fundraising auction is THE new catalyst to engage your donors long after your event ends. In three decades of conducting charity benefit auctions and consulting with nonprofits and schools about fundraising, the biggest mistake I’ve seen is treating an auction event as if it were a one-night, once-a-year deal. When you hold a benefit auction, you’re not just staging an event. You’re developing a philanthropic culture of giving that transcends the event. What happens after your doors close and guests go home? Nothing, unless you design intentional strategic actions to show your gratitude, inspire effective communication, invite guests to be further involved, and focus your staff and volunteers on donor engagement and retention. Be strategic and keep the money flowing with a detailed plan to integrate your auction guests into your year round development plan.
I’ll share new strategies to turn your bidders into loyal donors in my next article.
* Leap Day Reference – 2016 timeanddate.com