The only event management platform you need for all your meetings and events
Keep up with the latest events news, topics and industry insights
Get the latest whitepapers, ebooks & videos on corporate events management
Helpful answers from the Attendease team
February 26, 2020
Providing an experience for donors and funding for nonprofits, fundraising events have benefits for all. However, just because they’re tried-and-true, that doesn’t mean the event fundraising process can’t be improved. Nonprofits are always looking for ways to increase incoming donations, whether that’s by improving event attendance or bringing in more gifts through each event.
Charity auctions are a popular fundraising event for nonprofits as they have huge revenue potential and are extremely engaging for attendees. However, these events can also be challenging— and expensive— to plan! It’s essential that if a nonprofit is planning an auction, that they’re making efforts to maximize both donor engagement and ROI.
This makes charity auctions the perfect walkthrough example for our guide. We’re going to use six revenue-boosting twists to take your next fundraising event up a notch. This guide will explore:
Follow along as we showcase proven best practices to boost final revenue totals. Remember, no matter what type of events your organization hosts, you can adapt these strategies to fit your plans. Let’s get started!
First, let’s break down the basics of a charity auction in order to better illustrate this walkthrough example. Auctions involve guests bidding on fun, unique, or luxurious items, and the highest bidder takes home the prize. There are three types of auctions: Live, Silent, and Online.
These events involve an extensive planning process, including item procurement 9-12 months in advance, pre-event guest ticketing and payment registration, and of course logistics like the venue/catering/timeline. Check out this OneCause guide to charity auction planning for a deeper dive into this complete process.
As you’ve seen, there are many moving parts to successfully hosting an auction. Let’s explore six twists to the classic charity auction to boost the event’s fundraising success.
As you read through these examples, think about how they can be adapted to fit the unique events you host for your own community.
Social fundraising draws on the power of your supporter’s social networks to raise donations for your cause. The most common examples are:
Begin social fundraising in advance of your event, which helps to raise awareness and build excitement. At the event, announce how much was raised before it even started!
Reminder: If you’re hosting any type of social fundraiser and allowing minors to participate, you might need permission from their parent or guardian. Consider adding a waiver to your website so guardians can give permission easily.
Ambassador fundraising is the charity auction version of getting influencers involved. It leverages P2P fundraising in tasking ambassadors, your most loyal and involved supporters, to raise gifts in before, during, and after your auction.
There are three steps to successful ambassador fundraising:
Ambassadors help spread the word about your event, increasing attendance and gifts raised.
We’ve already briefly mentioned how you can use social networks to amplify your event. Take your online marketing a step further by creating event-specific digital collateral to spread the word.
Create an event microsite to provide guests with the information they need to participate and engage their networks. For an auction, an easy way to go online is to create an online auction catalog to build excitement and collect pre-bids leading up to the event. For an online auction, you’d want to include information like:
Then, include information about the items:
Not only does going digital with your event marketing help spread the word, but it does so in a budget-friendly manner. You’re not spending large amounts of money creating physical catalogs and guests can scope out items of interest or even bid in advance.
Raffles are a quick and easy addition to any fundraising event, including auctions. Simply sell raffle tickets throughout the event and draw a winner at the end of the night! Raffle an item that is:
Just as you should sell tickets in advance of the event, consider selling raffle tickets ahead of time as well. You’ll give guests a taste of what your event will entail ahead of time (like a sneak peek at an auction item) and build interest.
Reminder: Raffles are technically considered gambling by the IRS. Check the laws of your state to determine if you’re able to host a raffle at all or if there are specific guidelines around how to conduct your own in-person or online raffle.
Technology is a powerful force to increase efficiency and fundraising power for any event. We’re going to look specifically at auction software and how you can leverage it to grow your next event’s impact. Incorporating auction software allows you to:
Auction software allows you to manage the planning processes associated with hosting a live, silent, or online auction. It collects valuable data from the planning and hosting of your event under one umbrella for powerful insights! This data allows you to improve your event execution, boosting revenue with every event you host.
There’s little worry about a boring event if you’re hosting a live auction, especially if your nonprofit hires a professional auctioneer who specializes in maintaining the atmosphere!
As mentioned in this silent auction planning guide by OneCause, using gamification elements is a powerful tool to add competition, fun and fundraising momentum to any event. Consider using the following:
Gamification encourages guests to raise more and enhances their attendee experience. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the top event trends for 2020!
Through this guide, we’ve explored 6 revenue-boosting twists to amplify your next fundraising event through the lens of a charity auction.
While these were all tailored to auctions, realize that you can apply them to a wide variety of fundraising events! For example, social fundraising is a great addition to Run/Walk/Ride events and raffles are a hit at PTO/PTA events. Consider incorporating any of the above twists and watch your events thrive.
Joshua Meyer brings over 14 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as the Director of Marketing for OneCause. Currently, as a member of the OneCause sales and marketing team, Josh manages all of the firm’s marketing efforts. He has a passion for helping to create positive change and loves that his current role allows him to help nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.
Stay up to date with the latest event management tips and news.
January 21, 2021
January 12, 2021
January 5, 2021