The Engage Group is an online fundraising and marketing firm that works with non-profit charities. In October 2013, they were asked to assist Save the Chimps with their end-of-year campaign. As part of that campaign, The Engage Group recommended an online auction of one-of-a-kind items to help raise funds for the organization. The items available for the auction were framed paintings of the chimps, paintings and other artwork created by the chimps, and special events, including a private tour of the Save the Chimps sanctuary.
In the past, Save the Chimps priced and sold these items in their online store, but since the organization had success auctioning these items live at events, Save the Chimps agreed to an online auction approach making it more accessible to a larger audience. The goal was to use the online auction approach to generate interest and attention around the items, increase the volume of items sold and ultimately contribute to their end-of-year fundraising campaign.
The timeline was to run the auction during the first two weeks of December giving bidders the opportunity to win items that could be given as holiday gifts.
The Engage Group researched several online auction providers to find one that could be customized with the Save the Chimps branding and had fees that were not cost-prohibitive. The Engage Group and Save the Chimps selected Auction Frogs as the partner vendor. The choice was made because of the commitment to make a quick start-up, a simple and reasonable fee structure, and the added benefit of having a designated Event Specialist to help every step of the way.
The Engage Group worked with Save the Chimps on a series of emails to both current donors and prospects marketing the auction. Save the Chimps also posted updates on their Facebook page to encourage their social media fans to participate.
Save the Chimps launched a complete online auction with the help of The Engage Group and Auction Frogs on a very reduced timeline. Both firms collaborated to help Save the Chimps identify the products to sell, write descriptions of the items, set up the online auction website, and determine starting bid amounts as well as the process for item delivery. The online auction resulted in 100 unique bidders bidding on 42 items and raising over $13,000 in winning bids including several dozen additional donations. Save the Chimps surpassed their $9,000 fundraising goal very early in the auction and due to the high demand for the chimp created artwork auction items, they added new pieces mid-way to give donors additional options.
Save the Chimps received an overwhelming response from supporters expressing both satisfaction in the items they won and their participation in the process. Given the success of the auction, Save the Chimps is looking forward to conducting more online auctions in the future. They will also consider how to bring more advanced tools, like those provided by Auction Frogs, into their live event auctions.
The Engage Group.s experience with the software, the process, and the staff at Auction Frogs, has them looking forward to partnering on future projects.