Tap into Hobbies and Talent for Great School Auction Donations
Ask someone to donate something that he or she was going to anyway.
Assume Helen is one of the moms at your child’s school. The woman’s skin is so tan you swear she’s at the pool every day.
Nope. She’s in her garden.
Her and her husband bought a modest-sized house with a large yard. She’s done unbelievable things with the place.
Flowers, shrubs, vegtables and trees. Sun to shade. Verdant patios.
Helen is who you should tap as an auction donor for garden services.
Sure, you can ask a nursery for a $100 gift card, but Helen – not the nursery – is a crown jewel in your charity auction.
Helen’s passion is plants, so these are easy auction “donations” for her:
- She’ll give the winning bidder expensive cuttings
- She’ll offer customized advice as to “what plant where”
- She’ll offer tips for your gardening “zone”
- And I’d bet my bottom dollar that some of her plants are from a breeder. That means your winning bidder will get some unique plant varieties not readily available, even at that upscale nursery.
(We offered a drawing at my Garden Club tour for this type of advice and sold tickets LIKE CRAZY for this package.)
Helen would easily spend 3 hours doing garden-related work with a winning bidder. She loves to garden anyway. She’s got to divide her hostas anyway. She’s going to buy pricey plants anyway.
If you outline a package you’d like her to donate, it’s no skin off Helen’s back to do any of these activities.
And then there’s Bob.
Bob isn’t a professional handyman but [imagine the conversation], “He single-handedly built that new addition on the back of his and Joanne’s home, and oh-my-God have you seen how fabulous it is? I only wish my husband could do that…”
Bob’s ‘handyman’ services are legendary. He’s a marketing guy by day and “fools around’ with power tools at night, but clearly, the man knows what he’s doing.
Bob may not be in the business of building homes, but everyone trusts his work.
Tap into Bob.
- Will he build an extra birdhouse when he’s building one anyway?
- Will he teach five kids how to operate a circular saw in his garage when he’s out there every Saturday anyway?
- Will he go as far as to frame out some windows?
Ask him to donate, suggest ideas, and see what he says.
Forego asking 1-800-Handyman for a donation because the crowd will better respond to Bob.
When you ask people for a donation for a service they already enjoy (their hobby), giving to you becomes a pleasure. (And school and charity auction acquisitions become easier!)
It allows them to share their passion with someone else. They’re teaching about something they love, and who doesn’t enjoy talking about their love?
Whether it’s photography, technology, bird-watching, or quilting, tap into your auction donors’ hobbies and your guest’s interests to watch revenues rise at your next charity auction.
Benefit auctioneer Sherry Truhlar's stories and advice has been published in publications (e.g. Town & Country, The Washington Post Magazine, AUCTIONEER, The Eleusis, The Virginia Auctioneer) and heard on television (e.g. E! Style, TLC) where she inspires and teaches volunteers how to hit new fundraising records in their auction galas. Enjoy her FREE Auction Item Guide (listing the 100 best-selling items to sell in your benefit auction) here .