Avoid the Seven Big Fundraising Mistakes
by Morgan Auctioneers
1. Having too many items to sell the guests
The rule of thumb is to have no more than 1 to 1.5 items per wallet. The number of wallets are determined by taking the total number of guests and dividing by two. For example, 500 guests divided by two = 250 wallets.
2. Properly Displaying Items
Live Auction and Silent Auction Items should be properly labeled and correctly spaced to eliminate confusion. The silent auction sheets should be in spaces so bidders can easily access them. If there is more than one closing then an easy way to distinguish the two closings are by using color and balloons. Each live auction item should be marked with a large easy-to-read number that corresponds with the program.
3. Venue & Room Layout
Some venues ruin a fundraising event before it even takes place. Some things to think about when choosing the correct venue. Location, parking, acoustics, look & feel, and room layout.
4. Check In/Out Process
There is nothing worse for guests than to come to an event, spend a bunch of money and then be stuck in the check out line at the end of the event. It is vital that Check In/Out crews are properly staffed with the right people and have an auction system that works. The rule of thumb is one check out station for every 75 guests. Another easy way to speed up the checkout is to purchase auction software and pre-swipe credit cards as the guests check in.
There is no use paying an auctioneer hundreds of dollars if the sound system does not reach all the guests. It is vital that the sound system is adequate enough so all guests can hear the auctioneer because if they cannot then money is being lost.
6. Flow of the Live Auction & Paddle Raise (Fund-in-Need)
It is critical to properly position the live auction items in an order that will help maximize the bidding and flow of the event. We found it is best to use the bell curve method when ordering the live auction items. It is the auctioneer’s job to raise the level of excitement up to create that competitive bidding atmosphere and to instruct the auction committee how it is best to integrate a paddle raise and or other things without disrupting the competitive bidding atmosphere and flow.
7. Hiring the Right Auctioneer
Free or a cheap auctioneer sounds good but unfortunately in the end they wind up costing your group more than the professional benefit auctioneer. If the auctioneer is not easy to understand, your guests will be more reluctant to bid and less likely return to the next event. That free or cheap auctioneer is costing much more than you thought. Even some professional auctioneers may not be suited or experienced in benefit auctions. Things to look for in an auctioneer for your event: clear easy-to-understand auction chant; friendly, entertaining and experienced in benefit auctions. Check references and be sure to check to see if he or she is a member of a state or a national auctioneers association.