Why Is It Important to Know Your Audience For A Successful Benefit Auction?

I am often asked – what do nonprofits need to know to better know their audience? Well first of all, let’s look at why is that important? The key to an excellent fundraising auction is connecting your audience to your cause and helping them understand how they can make a difference with their generous contribution. So why is it important for you to know the audience? A couple of categories.

One is, for auction items it is important to match the audience wants and needs to the types of items that you get. Let’s look at that as an example. Let’s say you have an organization that is an arts and culture organization. Maybe you are a dance organization or a theater group. If you know that the audience prefers trips and arts and cultural experiences, perhaps a show in Los Angeles or Hollywood or a Broadway show rather than a sports oriented audience as opposed to a Monday golf auction where you have very sports oriented guests, in that case you would have golf packages, trips to the Masters, maybe some other sporting events that are popular in your area. On the first part, when you are acquiring auction items it is important to know the audience to match that.

 The second thing is to know the audience in terms of follow-up after the auction. Know who bought what. Know what level someone gave in the Fund-A-Need special appeal to fund a mission and so that you can tailor your follow-up or your cultivation efforts after the auction so that you understand what the donor, who they are and why did they give. That is critical to help integrate them into your long-term development program. How do you better know your audience? It is easy. You talk to them. You look at your data. You look at what they bought. You look at your top bidders or your top donors. You look at your sponsors. But the most important part is if you can establish that personal relationship and that personal follow-up because people give to people first for things they care about.

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