Silent auctions and live auctions are tried and true fundraisers for many schools and nonprofits. Whether it's a simple community event in the school gym or a large formal gala in a ballroom, incorporating kids into your auction will boost revenues and build bonds with donors. Sherry Truhlar - founder of Red Apple Auctions joins us as a guest blogger and shares ideas for making more money at your next auction, through kids.
One solid strategy for raising money – regardless of the economy – is to show guests how their donation impacts children. If you have a natural angle involving kids that you can incorporate into your event, consider doing so. If it makes sense to bring children to your event - terrific! For example, a nonprofit benefiting community arts may have kids perform a song or dance number for guests.
Even when the children aren’t attending your benefit auction, there are several ways you can still successfully include them in the fundraising plan. Below are four such strategies that are fairly easy to deploy.
1. Signage stationed around the silent auction
The most common way to showcase how your organization is helping children is to incorporate photos of the children into displays. These can be on free-standing display stands, or mounted on the walls.
At a school auction with a western theme, "WANTED" posters showcased the kids.
Pro: Easy to do. Signs are reusable for other events.
Con: Not as eye-catching; easy to gloss over in the hustle of the silent auction
2. Incorporate images into the decor
If your gala has a theme, one way to make the signage stand out is to create a visually appealing display around it.
For instance, at this school auction with a western theme, several walls were set up around the silent auction and registration areas. The walls had all of the children’s photos on them, and each child had been photographed in western gear. A volunteer had taken the time to write cute phrases for each child such as, “The Masked Bandit: Last seen in the valley,” or “WANTED: For cactus wranglin’.”
Because it was clever, many guests visited all of the walls to admire the creativity of the project.
Pro: Adds to the decor. Helps reinforce the “why are we raising money” message.Con: Takes more upfront time to create the individual shots.
In a ballroom, Powerpoint slides can provide imagery. At this gala raising money for heart-related causes, a child’s photo was displayed with the text, “Nora Grace’s heart was mended by Dr. Bill Hammill, and she hasn’t stopped dancing since.”
Pro: Easy to create. One slide can be broadcast on multiple screens so everyone can see.
Con: Unless a speaker specifically refers to the slide, guests might never bother to read it.
4. Reach out and call (or text) someone
This strategy incorporates older kids into your gala. Granted, these kids might have outgrown their “cuteness factor,” but they have the advantage of being able to thank donors with an added degree of articulation!
One fundraising auction was raising money for college scholarships. As you can see in the photo, each table had a table tent listing a student’s name, general information, and his or her telephone number. Over dinner, guests were encouraged to text or call the student to chat and say, “Congratulations on your scholarship!”
Pro: It’s as high-touch as you can get without having the recipient attend the event. It brings a donor directly into contact with the recipient of their donation.
Con: Requires coordination in advance so recipients know they could be called anytime during the evening. Not all recipients will be choice candidates to speak with a donor.Please try these strategies to make for a more memorable l evening, and get to your donor’s heartstrings and wallets!
Thanks Sherry for your AWESOME tips!
After working for more than a decade in sales, events, and marketing for top 10 companies, Sherry Truhlar founded Red Apple Auctions. The boutique auction firm specializes in benefit auctions and teaches volunteer auction chairs how to raise more money selling their donated items. To learn about other terrific auction ideas, download the company’s FREE Auction Item Guide. The Guide lists the top 100 best-selling auction items to offer at your event. Get your Guide at www.RedAppleAuctions.com.
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