It’s a Benefit Auction – NOT the Royal Wedding!

Kathy Kingston, Fundraising Auctioneer conducting a Fundraising Gala Auction

Untold thousands of dollars are lost every year,
when well-meaning nonprofit charity committees
plan their benefit auction like a planning a wedding.

We marvel at myriad wedding planning details that mark Prince William and Catherine Middleton’s Royal Wedding. However, dedicated nonprofit volunteers can sometimes obsess on the table napkin color, event decorations, dance band, and gift bags for guests, but sadly fail their core purpose: FUNDRAISING for their charity of choice!

And it’s tragic that many event organizers do not even realize that “significant money walks right out of the room.” Moreover, they are depriving event guests the wonderful opportunity to learn more about and to support their beloved nonprofit.

In an auction planning session when I hear “Kathy, can you please hurry up the Live Auction and Fund-a-Cause so our guests can enjoy more dancing or even leave earlier” — What’s my eager response?

WOW! Here’s a fabulous opportunity to raise even MORE money!

I love to show Auction Committees and Board members exactly how to significantly increase event and auction profits. It’s actually easy, because once key event volunteers, Board members and staff understand how much money they have “left in the room” they shift their priority to concentrate on maximizing their fundraising efforts quickly.

Even in this new economy, auction organizers can raise significant funds for their nonprofit organization by focusing on these critical fundraising event strategies.

Here are 9 proven strategies to help you raise 20% or more and to avoid royal auction planning pitfalls.

First and foremost, turbo charge your audience development. Create a blue-ribbon committee to get the right people in the room. Utilize table captains and ask top donors to bring just one more couple of means and influence who can support your cause generously.

Brand Your Mission! Open your program with a meaningful video or first person testimonial.  Place table tents with a quote or amazing fact in between the silent auction items and on the dinner table.

Add a special Fund A Cause Appeal where you can raise many thousands of dollars in under 10 minutes!

NO BS! No Boring Speeches period.

Retain a Professional Benefit Auctioneer. Specially trained and committed to nonprofits, he or she will maximize every revenue stream – it does not cost money, you will make lots more money!

DANGER: Do NOT leave the Live Auction and Fund a Cause Appeal to the end of the event. Start the fundraising early, even during dinner!

Do NOT serve dessert during Live Auction and Fund a Cause.
Chocolate cake whiplash trumps bidding every time.

Educate your Auction Committees, Board and Volunteers that optimizing fundraising at your gala, auction or special event will seriously raise thousands more dollars and generate loyal long term donor support.

And, finally… my most famous “Kingstonism”:
Bid NOW and dance later!

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