Okay…so the auction is taking over my life. Just to update anyone who isn’t aware, I am running my church auction, this year. It is on May 4th. And, I am definitely putting way too much of my time and energy against it.
I am happy to share with you some of the exciting stuff that is unfolding with my event. While I can’t call them best practices…yet! These tactics are working out really well for us.
A NEW Way to Find Likely Auction Donation Sources (That Is Easy to Delegate!)
Finding about 70% of the auction donations you need is pretty straightforward. Tapping into last year’s donors, local businesses, personal connections of auction team members, and the professional services among your supporters starts to fill up your auction catalog nicely. But, that last 30% is a bear.
One tactic we used to close in on our auction target was to look at the list of email addresses of our congregation members. Many people still list their work addresses on these lists—lettings us know where they worked!
We uncovered local professionals who can sponsor the event, small businesses who want the publicity, and even a person who works for a major modern furniture manufacturer with a retro Lounge line that is completely in keeping with our 1960s Cocktail Lounge theme. She is looking into getting a piece from the lounge line donated for our auction!
We never would have found these people if we hadn’t looked through the email addresses. And, once we found them, we sent out a template emails about the event modified with specific asks related to their business or service.
And, the great news for you is, this is a task that is easily passed on to a member of your auction team!
An Easy Way to Promote Ticket Sales and Make Your Supporters Experts on Your Event
I find that the best way to get people to buy tickets to the event is to get them excited about the event! But, to do that, you actually have to get their attention. Get them to listen, or read, or open an envelope—nearly impossible tasks in this distracted world.
To overcome these challenges all you have to do is to put your online auction content and catalog to good use. Whether you have a page or two on your organization’s main website, an online catalog through your auction software provider, or a dedicated website promoting your event, you can do this!
We are sending out emails and inserting flyers in the church bulletin announcing our Auction Website Scavenger Hunt. When a person visits our website and submits answers to five questions about the event via email, they will receive five raffle tickets (winner need not be present at the event).
Every event will have different questions. Ours look like this:
1. What Prestigious American Music School did our Lounge Singer, graduate from?
2. Of these four services, what is NOT included in our amazing Granada, Nicaragua family vacation: Airport Transfers, A Carriage Ride, A Plantation Tour, A Boat Tour?
3. What date will we start selling Auction Dinner Tickets (Hint…Ticket Information Page)?
4. What are the names of the three orphan girls who handcrafted the beautiful jewelry in our Silent Auction (Hint…check out the “Donated by” info on the items)?
5. What type of dancing will some lucky Norfielders get to learn with our Senior Minister?
This is a great way to transform your organization’s supporters into auction gala experts. Not only will they be excited to get the raffle tickets (building goodwill around the event) and more likely to buy tickets, but also, they will be walking, talking auction experts creating a buzz among your supporter group. And, for a supporter group that is remote, you could easily distribute this content via email.
Borrow, Borrow, Borrow
You want to get a great décor for your event. BUT, you don’t want to spend money on it. Depending on your theme, your supporters may have items in their attics or basements that you can use!
Here is the flyer we are inserting in the church bulletin, this week.To get the best response, it is important to be specific about what you are looking for and provide visuals to trigger their memory. Here is part of the copy...
As part of our efforts to transform the Parish Hall into a Circa 1960 cocktail Lounge, we would like to create small “Lounge Areas.” To that end, we are looking to borrow some modern-style furniture. Here is what we need:
Several Lamps (Floor and Table) ● 2 Sofas
4 Chairs ● 2 Coffee Tables ● 4 Side Tables
( Also Strings of White Christmas Lights! )
Like the Website Scavenger Hunt, you could also distribute this content to supporters via email.
I hope these ideas help you in your event planning! I hope you are getting more sleep than I am. And, I hope that you are feeling as good as I am about the amazing effort you are putting forth.
And remember, the Bliss is in the Details,