When planning and hosting a fundraising event, there are many decisions to be made and tasks to complete. While it is possible to plan an event single-handedly, it certainly is not ideal. Events are most successful when coordinated by a fundraising committee. An effective committee takes the stress off the individual at the helm and provides support for decision-making, organization, and task management.
At Auction Frogs, we have a priority list of items a committee should focus on for smooth event planning and ultimate success.
Donors love being incorporated into your event, especially since they chipped in to make it happen. Making sure that you retain these donors from year-to-year is an important aspect of your committee’s event planning process. Repeat donors are more likely to give because they have a special tie to your cause over time. To recognize these valuable individuals and organizations, consider placing their names and/or logos on signage, centerpieces, or within your slideshow. Offer to include a short segment or shoutout about them from the stage to recognize their support. Giving them a spotlight at your event helps increase their engagement and solidifies their role as your supporter and cheerleader.
The next thing that your committee must do to ensure success is proper communication with bidders. You cannot have a successful fundraising auction if your bidders do not understand all the details of your organization, cause, and event. Auction Frogs’ clients typically begin planning their events four to six months before the event date. Communication with potential bidders and past supporters as soon as possible in this time frame is the key to gaining momentum and having the best event attendance, which garners the biggest return for your fundraising efforts. Whether you communicate over social media or email (or both), make sure you include dates, times, locations, and everything your attendees and bidders need to be prepared four the big day.
Auction Item Selection and Solicitation
Another crucial step for your committee is item solicitation. Be mindful of how appealing your items will be to your attendees. If you are having a gala with a monetary goal of $400,000 with 300 guests, you probably should be searching for quality, high-value items. Think cruises, weekend getaways, wine packages, boats, and custom artwork. If your event is simpler, perhaps supporting an elementary school, consider items that will pull at your audience’s heartstrings. Working parents may not be able to bid on high-ticket items, but they’d love to contribute what they can for classroom artwork, elegant desserts, and local family outings. Knowing what your audience wants in your event is crucial. When your committee knows the bidding audience (and the wallets), this ensures you secure items that are most likely to go quickly and raise what you need to reach your fundraising goals.
Hindsight is 20/20
The last — and most important — tip that Auction Frogs has to give is to remember your failures and successes. Look back on previous years’ events and recall what worked for you … and what didn’t. With those things in mind, plan with them in mind to fix the issues for your next event and make sure you learn and grow from your mistakes.
If you’d like further support for your event, we are happy to meet with you and/or your committee (virtually or in-person — whatever you are most comfortable with) to help you solidify your plans and ensure your fundraising efforts are on the right path. You can reach our team at 208-321-5515 or firstname.lastname@example.org.