The Quick Guide to Planning a Successful Auction Fundraiser

Major fundraising events, like galas, look nice and raise big money. Is this strategy right for your organization, too? Yes! How can we say yes so quickly? Because events like these come in all sizes and types so there is surely one that fits your budget, your audience, and your goals. Whether you are looking to add a fundraising component to an already successful event, or starting from scratch – the concept is still the same: Choose a fundraiser type that matches your ability and capacity, then add on the fundraising elements that will get your supporters to give and donate.

So let’s talk about proven tactics for hosting a successful auction fundraiser. If you’re more of a visual or audio learner, you can check out our webinar recording on this topic.

In this ultimate guide to planning a successful fundraiser we will outline:

    1. Choosing an event type either in person or online
    2. Implementing the fundraising components
    3. Using testimonials to raise the awareness

      Event fundraisers grow from year to year. Don’t be afraid to just get started.

      Choosing an event type – in person or online

      We now know that event fundraisers can happen in person, online or both! The major question to ask yourself in choosing an in person event is: cheers fox

        • Do we have the volunteers and staff handle this?
        • Do we have an audience that will show up?

        Creating a whole event in person does take planning and hard work. The payoff can be absolutely beautiful! If your audience will show up and donate then it’s worth it. If they will not show up then online is probably a better fit. 

        In person events work because people like to gather to give. The socialization aspect of the live event has an impact on giving. When people see others around them, in their immediate environment giving they too will tend to give. In this case, a little peer pressure is a good thing for your bottom line. When you choose to add on a live auction and a paddle raise during the event, then you will see fundraising soar. 

        Online events are also a great option because it broadens your scope and potential. It grows in two ways: expanding the reach for guests and bidders, and lengthening the time the event runs for. Because the fundraising takes place online, anyone with an internet connection can participate. The event is open for multiple days and may go as long as a week or more. Bidding, sales, raffles are all sold online. These events may sound small, however they can bring in big money.

        Either way, you will want to promote the fundraiser, set up an event fundraising website and use this platform to raise awareness of your cause.

        Implementing Fundraising Components

        There are lots of choices here. The earlier you start promoting, the more momentum you will have when you go live and publicize. Here are some additional fundraising streams to consider implementing at your next event:

          • Offer multiple ticket type: Sell tickets to the event as an early bird to gain early adopters. Group tickets by table, by couple, by area in the room. Make each group feel exclusive and special to create a fear of missing out!

          • Sponsorships: Make sponsorship sales available on the event website early! Recognize the sponsor with their logo on all the promotional pieces. Give the sponsor graphics and links so they too can share the love.

          • Auctions – Silent, Online, Live: Providing auction items that are at multiple price points means that everyone can participate. Finding auction items is easy when you use a nice procurement letter. 

          • Raffles: Some people just love to take a chance. From small to jumbo raffles,  this attracts a whole new group of guests. Call it something unique like a golden ticket. Sell bundles of tickets. 

          • Donations: Don’t forget to give your guests several ways to donate online and in person. Again, make it easy to give with a fast online form, QR code to scan, or text-2-donate. 

          • Paddle Raise: Nothing energizes an in person event quite like a paddle raise. When participants and guests see the fundraising income rising as they raise a paddle they know the money is going to a cause they love. 

        Using Testimonials Tells the Story

        An event fundraiser is incomplete without the story behind the mission. Video captivates and brings emotion and action. Capturing video and using it in a way that does so can be frustrating or complicated. Luckily MemoryFox makes it easy to capture. Auctria makes it easy to use.

        software integrations memoryfox blackbaudWith MemoryFox, you can easily collect those stories through a secure, guided and custom-branded platform. In just a few instructions, your community can record and share videos. Then, you can simply turn those snippets into a comprehensive impact video with MemoryFox’s built-in Video Editor

        Then, when you launch your fundraising event website, use that video on the front page, in the marketing emails, and at the in person event on the big screen. 

        Tell the story with infographics showing the impact of the donations that are made at that event. Who is feeding, educating, saving, sheltering? How have funds been used in the past and how will those funds be used in the future? 

        Make it Easy

        When using an event fundraising platform that is hyper-focused on event fundraising this is easy! Choose a platform that streamlines the entire process. As an admin you will plan, run and close the event. 

          • Plan: Define goals, purpose, and target audience for the auction. Solicit donations from potential donors.

          • Run: Set up the auction, auction off the items, and track all of the bids.

          • Close: Close out all bids, record all donations, and collect payment.

          • Participants and guests will register, bid/buy/donate and then pay. Using a platform that has Apple Pay or Google Pay makes it even easier. 

        The auction and event fundraiser is just the beginning of the relationship. Post-event, express gratitude to donors, bidders and volunteers through thank you notes, social media posts and letters. Continue to communicate with them to show how the funds are being utilized. This is another great time to use fresh videos and testimonials. Continue to tell the story over and over. Ideally you want to convert the bidders and donors into long-term supporters of the organization.

        Auctria does all this and makes it easy!

        memoryfox auctria laurie hochman

        About the Author

        Laurie Hochman
        Marketing Director, Auctria

        Laurie Hochman has a passion for helping groups exceed their fundraising goals. After using Auctria for many auction fundraisers, she joined the team to help others boost their auction fundraising for many wonderful causes. Auctria has been utilized in over 45,000 event fundraisers raising over $500M.  

        “The beauty in what is done with the money raised with Auctria is what motivates me every day to help auction teams succeed.  Hope all your bids soar!”