How much time would you spend researching a vacation to Paris? When was the last time you dropped thousands of dollars on a vacation before you researched the destination or checked schedules? Or spent your hard earned money on a piece of art before you measured if it would fit in your space? Or made any type of major purchase without budgeting, doing researching, or consulting with those in your family?
Most of you reading this are thinking “I almost never spend money like that.”
So why would you put items like this in your live and/or silent auction and not tell your guests before they arrive these types of items are up for bidding?
Yet, I see organizations do this time and time again. Board members and volunteers work endlessly to obtain great donations but yet they don’t tell people before the night of the event the items are available.
One easy tactic you can use today to improve your event is to start marketing your items to your guests before the event. The ideal time frame is 30 – 14 days before your event. You need to give people time to prepare, research, budget, and plan. As the auctioneer, people often come up to me after an auction and say “I really wish I had known about that [fill in any item] before I came tonight so I could have done x, y, and z….but I didn’t know so I couldn’t bid.”
Do not let this sentence come from your guests. If this happens, you are leaving unknown amounts of money on the table. So, how do you market your items? Here are some great ways:
Use your website: take pictures and put item descriptions on your website. You are already paying for it so use it to your advantage.
Put your information out on social media: post individual items on each of your social media pages. If you aren’t using social media, start.
Use direct mail: invest in your cause and send an oversized postcard to everyone on your guest list. Highlight one or two of the most popular items and then direct them to your website for information on other items.
Pick up the phone: take time to call donors and let them know about items that will be available. If a certain person has bid on vacations in the past, call and let them know what will be available at your next event.
Using these tactics will make sure your guests are prepared, which will allow them to bid more frequently and leave happier. With more money contributed to your bottom line, you will be happier too.