Do your volunteers gush over you?

Mush On!

I cherished my Iditarod volunteer experiences when I lived in Alaska and still follow this extraordinary 1,049 mile dog sled race each March.

Picture this. I actually shoveled snow back onto the street so the next dog sled team had a white surface for the ceremonial start on Fourth Avenue. We scooped with pride for 8 straight hours in 8 degree weather within reach of each team. I love the spirit of the Last Great Race; it’s history and the awesome care of these athlete dogs.

Would you like your volunteers to gush about you? Please read my article for ideas to enhance your auction volunteers’ experience.

Always BIDhi!

Enhance Your Auction Volunteers Experience

What makes a superb volunteer experience?

Inspired Volunteers Set the Tone to Raise More Money

Inspired Volunteers Set the Tone to Raise More Money

For me volunteering at the Iditarod was one of my favorite and fun volunteer jobs ever. Why? What was important to me? Making solid friends, good food, up-close access to famous mushers and their stunning dogs, being part of one of the most unique events in the world. I did not care about the weather. What made it special from an event standpoint? The volunteer training was superb, extremely well organized, a volunteer captain called me and kept in touch all year long, I had the opportunity to purchase an exclusive commemorative volunteer t-shirt (a very big deal) and the staff and board continually thanked me personally. And, I was invited back each year.

And what about you? Volunteers are THE heart of a benefit auction. Do you know why each person is committed to you as a volunteer? Would you consider calling each of them and asking their input on the auction and their experience?  Are they connected and appreciated? Do you keep in touch with them year round? Do you place them in a job that is meaningful to them?
Are you connecting them to other events and programs at your non profit?

Teamwork is essential for successful fundraising auctions.

Recruit active able leaders as auction committee co-chairs

Great auction co-chairs are a must! Select them for their leadership qualities and their circle of influence. Consider recruiting co-chairs who represent different spheres of influence and industries. This broadens the composition of committees, diversifies and grows donor and guest lists. Great co-chairs set a positive tone, delegate well and keep everything on track.

Recruit a large team of committed volunteers

Auctions are one of the most volunteer-intensive fundraisers. You’ll need 20 to 50 volunteers, depending on the size of the event: six to 12 key decision-makers in the auction steering committee; three or more in each sub-committee, and dozens of day-of-auction volunteers.

Write clearly-defined committee and volunteer tasks

Volunteers are the heart, soul and backbone of benefit auctions. They need written job descriptions of all tasks. Identify exactly what each job requires and how much time is needed. Be specific so that your volunteers can select the best task for themselves.

A high-functioning, enthusiastic team is vital for auction success.

Plan the meeting schedule for the entire year at the first meeting

Insist that everyone place the entire year’s meeting schedule on their calendar at the first meeting. The secret to success is to involve as many committed volunteers, board members and staff ASAP and give them clear, written communications.

Make it easy for volunteers to know what is expected of them

Develop a Volunteer Auction Packet (VAP) with all the auction information. Include: auction event fact sheet; master-planning checklist with key action dates; goals, budget, volunteer job descriptions, brochures, lots of item solicitation forms, letters from your president, timelines, and all related material. Distribute and follow up often with new information or changes.

Give lots of recognition, thanks, and food!

Keep up the enthusiasm throughout the many months of auction planning. Support each volunteer: write thank you notes; call each personally to tell them how much you appreciate their efforts; provide refreshments at all meetings and auction night. Solicit sponsors to cover volunteer meals. Make sure they are well fed with nutritious food since most will be working through at one to two meals on auction day! List each volunteer in the catalog. Hold special prize drawings and have fun.

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