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How To Supercharge Your Auction Fundraiser

How To Supercharge Your Auction Fundraiser

In the world of auction fundraising, excitement, competition, and generosity converge to create memorable moments and make a lasting impact. If you want to elevate your fundraising efforts to new heights, you’re in the right place. In this blog, we’ll explore some best practices and exciting resources, like our new risk-free item shop, to turn your auction into an electrifying experience that will captivate donors, ignite bidding wars, and raise more funds for your cause.

Tap Into The Power of Donor Bidding and Buying Criteria

 Understanding the donor mindset is pivotal in fundraising, particularly in the dynamic space of charity auctions. This facet is often overlooked in discussions, but individuals bring a specific mindset to the table in any social setting. Whether it’s a party or a unique event, expectations shape our experiences.

When delving into fundraising auctions, it is essential to know that donors consider three primary criteria as they navigate the bidding and buying process.

  • First, there’s the inclination to seek items they would have purchased anyway. It’s the idea of aligning their expenditure with a cause, transforming a mere purchase into a meaningful contribution.
  • Second, some donors approach auctions hoping to stumble upon a once-in-a-lifetime experience or an item they didn’t even know they needed. The allure of the unexpected adds an element of excitement and spontaneity to their participation.
  • Third, some are looking for a good deal. These donors are keen on spotting items that offer significant value for money, which gives them a sense of savvy shopping satisfaction.

When structuring your fundraising event, it’s essential to understand and incorporate these varied perspectives. The key is curating a mix of items that resonate with each buying criterion. This strategic approach will stimulate increased bidding, boosting revenue and delighting donors.

donors bidding in an auction

How To Craft the Perfect Auction Mix

The donor mindset guides participants’ approaches to bidding and buying. Considering the dynamics of this mindset, it’s essential to understand how it aligns with how we source items for auction events.

Let’s begin by dissecting the concept of a “good deal,” a category that typically finds its home in donated items. Picture this: services like carpet cleaning, exquisite gift baskets, or gift cards to beloved restaurants—these are the gems that fall into the realm of accessible, everyday treasures. Occasionally, a stroke of luck unveils a hidden gem, perhaps a cabin in the woods or a beachfront retreat in France. However, these are exceptions, not the norm.

Auction Items

Donated items are the backbone of your auction, offering a more accessible price point that resonates with a broad audience. Those seeking a good deal and individuals interested in purchases they’d likely make anyway find common ground in this category. Whether bidding on a restaurant they adore or securing a piece of jewelry for themselves, the allure of a good deal intertwines seamlessly with the desire for familiar and cherished experiences.

Conversely, we encounter the elusive “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences—the real challenge in sourcing items for your auction. Often dubbed the “Wow factor,” these items reside almost exclusively in risk-free acquisitions. Imagine stumbling upon a Chateau in Normandy or owning a piece of memorabilia that holds sentimental value, like a signed sports helmet from a favorite team.

The “once-in-a-lifetime” category encompasses rare, unique, and one-of-a-kind items that cannot be found on store shelves. From driving your own NASCAR to hosting a family reunion in a far-off location, these items evoke excitement and intrigue, appealing to donors seeking exclusive, unparalleled experiences.

Striking the Right Balance Between Donated and Risk-Free Items

As you navigate the intricate landscape of your fundraising event, the balance between donated items and risk-free acquisitions becomes a pivotal consideration. Striking the correct ratio ensures a diverse and engaging auction experience. It’s not about inundating the event with excess risk-free items but finding the balance to engage and captivate your audience.

Let’s break down a general structure that can guide you in achieving the perfect equilibrium.

Risk free items

At the heart of your auction lies the donated items—your primary source of items and the backbone of your event. These items are the essence of pure profit, making up most of your auction catalog. They’re the everyday treasures, the accessible goodies that people would have likely bought anyway—services, gift baskets, and gift cards for favorite restaurants.

Within the risk-free or consignment item category, strategically include some items that cater to a broad audience. Think about that trip to Mexico, jewelry, or a magical Disneyland experience—items that align with people’s everyday desires. This ensures you capture the attention of a wide range of bidders looking for something they might have purchased regardless.

Next, include a few standout specialty risk-free items that add an extra layer of excitement, such as the chateau in Normandy, the hot air balloon ride, or the chance to drive a NASCAR. These exclusive experiences will elevate your event, creating a unique and memorable atmosphere.

By structuring your auction using this approach, you appeal to different price points and bidding preferences. Your donors’ psychology meets the practicality of their budgets, resulting in a well-rounded event that caters to diverse interests.

How Many Items Do I Need?

How do you determine the ideal count of items and account for the intricacies of group bidding, especially when couples tend to bid together, albeit on separate devices?

Let’s introduce the concept of bidding units. This term encapsulates that couples often pool their resources and bid as a unit, even when physically apart. Recognizing this dynamic is crucial for planning silent auctions and in-person or online events.

To determine the correct number of items, we propose a straightforward rule of thumb: divide the anticipated number of attendees by two. Why two? Because couples often bid together. Let’s break it down with an example: if you expect 100 attendees, divide by two, yielding 50. Further, divide this by two again, and you get 25—a recommended count of items for this scenario.

Auction items rule

This formula scales dynamically, allowing you to adjust it based on your specific event size. Whether you have 200 attendees or 50, applying the bidding units concept ensures you have an appropriate number of items to cater to your audience’s bidding dynamics.

Why does this matter? Too many items can lead to lower bids and decreased overall engagement. When faced with overwhelming choices, bidders might feel paralyzed and opt not to bid at all. Mastering the art of auction planning involves more than just securing appealing items. It’s about understanding the dynamics of your audience, acknowledging the prevalence of group bidding, and strategically curating a catalog that ensures active participation.

By incorporating the concept of bidding units and utilizing the rule of thumb, you will create a successful auction experience that will leave your attendees excited and engaged.

How Risk-Free Auction Items Work

Whether you’re a seasoned nonprofit professional or just starting in auction fundraising, you’ve likely heard of risk-free or consignment items. A third party offers these risk-free items or packages to help nonprofits raise more money without paying for an item upfront.

Risk free Packages

We are excited to introduce an easy-to-use, game-changing resource – the DoJiggy Risk-Free Auction Item Shop. This curated online shop features handpicked best-selling packages from reputable item providers, thoroughly vetted for quality and customer service.

This free resource allows nonprofits to source various items—vacations, experiences, jewelry, and memorabilia—without any upfront cost or payment. You only pay the listed charity cost if the item sells at your auction or fundraising event. Navigating the Risk-Free Shop is as easy as shopping online. You can explore packages and simulate the shopping experience without entering credit card information. This seamless resource will save you time and resources while ensuring you make informed choices for your fundraising event.

The Risk-Free Item Shop is not just a resource; it’s a catalyst for increased revenue, donor delight, and streamlined event planning. By embracing this tool, you open the door to a world of possibilities for your nonprofit. So, whether you’re a Risk-Free veteran or a newcomer, seize the opportunity to elevate your fundraising game and leave a lasting impact on your cause.

Unleash the Power of Donor Intelligence

 Donor Intelligence report

In the ever-evolving landscape of nonprofit fundraising, staying ahead requires a profound understanding of your donors. At the forefront of this mission is the Donor Intelligence Report—a revolutionary, free resource in our shop. This free tool allows you to “smart-source” items based on audience interests.

Generating the report is a simple three-step journey: download the CSV template, copy your donor data into the template, input your details, and upload the CSV file. In just five minutes, you’ll have a powerful tool at your fingertips and insights that include:

  • Financial Insights
  • Key Demographics
  • Top 10 Donor Interests
  • Predictive Analytics
  • Generational Breakdown
  • Communication Preferences

Armed with the Donor Intelligence Report, you can choose items that align with your donors’ interests and preferences, ensuring a memorable and successful fundraising experience. The power of intelligent sourcing is at your fingertips—seize it!

The Key to Pricing Risk-Free Items

 Imagine you’ve selected two enticing trips in the shop—a beachfront Mexico getaway and a luxurious Fairmont Scottsdale experience. Now, how do you set the starting bid to ensure success? The answer lies in the 20% margin rule.

For trips under $2500, we recommend adding a 20% margin or $500, whichever is greater, to your starting bid. Applying this to the beachfront Mexico trip costing $895, your starting bid becomes $1395. This formula ensures a $500 profit even if only one person bids. As you venture into risk-free fundraising, remember this pricing approach is your trusty companion.

Unlock Year-Round Fundraising Success with These Fundraising Ideas

While an annual online auction is a fantastic way to raise funds, there are myriad ways to harness the power of Risk-Free items to generate funds throughout the year. Raffles, themed auctions, and targeted campaigns allow you to engage donors at various points in the year, ensuring your organization remains top of mind.

Nonprofits have successfully implemented these creative and practical strategies for smaller, year-round fundraising opportunities.

Fundraising Raffles

Fundraising Raffles

Raffle fundraisers are versatile and engaging ways to leverage risk-free items. Featuring a high-value, risk-free item as the raffle prize attracts participants and guarantees a no-risk, all-reward scenario for your organization. With our auction platform, these online events run seamlessly with little effort from organizers.

“Vacation for a Cause” Campaigns

Host a campaign targeting major donors, allowing them to bid on exciting vacations and experiences. Integrating these items into your auction platform creates a fun and engaging way to raise funds beyond the traditional annual event.

Father’s Day Golf-Themed Auction

Golf-Themed Auction

Consider a golf-themed auction hosted around Father’s Day or as part of your annual fundraising golf tournament to appeal to sports-loving dads. With Risk-Free, you can effortlessly bring in various unique items, creating a niche opportunity to engage donors and raise funds.

Virtual Mother’s Day Mini Auction

Mother’s Day provides another golden opportunity for year-round fundraising. Host a virtual Mother’s Day mini-auction, offering risk-free items like spa experiences or luxury getaways, and simultaneously celebrate and support your cause. Our affordable jewelry options work really well for these events.

We hope this article has equipped you with fresh tools to supercharge your future auctions. We encourage you to utilize risk-free items to transform your fundraising endeavors and foster increased engagement and connection with your donor community.

Author Bio

Tricia Roseveare is the CEO and co-founder of RiskFreeItemShop. This blog was derived from her powerful webinar – Supercharge Your Auction Fundraiser. Watch the full webinar here.

Nico Caceres

About Nico Caceres

Nico is the Customer Success Specialist at DoJiggy. Originally from Bogota, Colombia, he can provide support in Spanish or English. He is starting his career in the nonprofit industry, and is passionate about soccer and salsa music which he practices in his free time.

See other posts from Nico Caceres