Getting items for your auction is hard. I know that many of you reading this post may have the type of situation where you are taking donations right before your doors open for the event and you are scrambling to find a place to put them. While my advice in this situation would most likely be not to turn away a quality (notice I didn’t use “any”) item, here are reasons to secure 99% of your items at least 14 days in advance.
The first reason is only 10% of your crowd is lucky enough that money is not something they have to take into everyday consideration. What this means for you is that if you have 300 people coming to yo
ur event, about 30 people can spend what they want, but what about the other 270? You need to get your item list to them 7-14 days in advance so they can plan what they are going to spend.
The second reason is many of your high ticket items will most likely require planning. I cannot tell you how many times I have had people come up to me after a live auction and say “I wish I had known about that vacation before we got here tonight! We were looking to plan a family vacation and that would have been perfect but I just didn’t have all the information I needed.” Again, people need to plan. Give them time to do so and you will see an increase in bidders on your experience and trip type items.
The third reason is if you have some really cool items or are doing something new and exciting, you need to know in advance so you can excite your crowd. If you are doing the same type of program with the same type of items as you were doing three years ago, your crowd is bored and bored people do not spend money.
Finally, people can tell when things at your event happen last minute. They can tell when an item is just tossed out. Presentation is critical. Poor presentation will lead to not only poor bidding, but it will also lead to upset donors which can affect future donations.
I am often asked what the magical answer for getting items is. To be honest, if I had that answer I would be writing this post from my house on my private island. But I am not and the reason is because there isn’t a magical answer. You have to maximize time and strength in numbers. The sooner you start this process and the more people you have with their feet on the streets, the greater chance you will get great items in time to market them to your supporters.