12 Fundraising Success Tips with Live Auctions

12 Fundraising Success Tips with Live Auctions

Fundraising can be hard work and quite stressful for the committee that is in charge of the fundraising piece of the event.  Here are a dozen of pitfalls to avoid at all costs, and twelve successful strategies to turn your fundraising nightmares into dreams that come true when using a live auction and fund-appeal at Fundraising Events.


12.  Avoid Planning a Party and Forgetting Fundraising
Focus on the fundraising piece first and don’t waste time or money on ideas that won’t benefit the bottom line.  For example, chair covers, centerpieces, and theme decorations.

Success Tip #1:  “Focus on Fundraising”

 11.  Avoid Letting Money Walk Out Of the Room                                                                   

 When you hear “Auctioneer,” most people think of live auctions. Fundraising Auctioneers can raise more money in a live auction than a local celebrity or amateur.   Studies show Benefit Auctioneer Specialists raise twice as much as traditional Auctioneers and that’s because . . . Benefit Auctioneer Specialists keep up with the most recent research and fundraising trends.  Don’t let money just “walk out” of the room because you don’t want to hire a professional.

Success Tip #2  Hire a “Professional Fundraising Auctioneer

 10.  Avoid Live Auction Placement at End of Evening

Don’t have your “MAIN EVENT” at the end of the evening.  Remember, Fundraising Events are just that, “FUND Raising.”  Don’t expect to have your guests open their wallets at the end of the evening when they are tired and distracted.  Schedule your live auction and Fund-a-Need Appeal before or during dinner when your guests are ready and energized.  Awards and Presentations should come last in your program, not before the LIVE AUCTION.

Success Tip #3: Live Auction Should be Scheduled “Early in Evening”

 9.  Avoid Party First/  Misson Second

Your mission statement should drive the event’s evening and all guests should be aware of why they are attending this fundraising event.   Plan a night with incredible speakers or videos to emphasize your unique mission tugging on their hearts.

Success Tip #4:  “Connect” your Donors with the “Mission” of the Event

8.  Avoid Not Using a Fund Appeal

Create an opportunity for everyone to contribute to your great cause at a level that is meaningful via a Fund-a-Need special appeal. It works, because not everyone wants or needs a live or silent auction item. A well conducted, inspiring Fund-a-Need can double your live auction profits in only ten minutes.

Success Tip #5: You won’t get unless you “Ask”.  

7.   Avoid Offering Too many Auction Items that No One Wants
Reduce the number of auction items and focus on fewer unique items that produce bigger results. Make sure your organization procures hot auction items that keep driving excitement and interest – items that fulfill fantasies and dream vacations and experiences the are unique to your supporters.

Success Tip #6:  “Quality” of Items not “Quantity”

 6.  Avoid Obtrusive Decorations and “Stuff”
Your benefit auction fundraiser is about raising money. Therefore, focus on fundraising, not your centerpieces, variety of wines, entertainment nor the color of tablecloths, all which raise zero dollars. Design it to emphasize your unique mission and how your donors can make a difference. Proudly promote your cause and emphasize that the reason people attend is to raise funds to improve lives and your community.

Success Tip #7:  Don’t waste Time or Energy on “Stuff” that does not  Benefit  Fundraising Goals

 5.  Avoid Boring Your Audience

The best fundraising events capture the hearts of your guests and showcase your cause with short inspiring speakers and videos.  Don’t jam-pack the night with so many activities or allow too many speeches that your Audience becomes bored and begin leaving or visiting the bar.

Success Tip #8:   Use Inspiring  – “Short Speeches” or Video

 4.  Avoid Failing to Invite the Right Guests

Philanthropic support is crucial to have a successful fundraising event. Position your charity auction as a cultivation and relationship building opportunity so that you can turn bidders into long term donors and sponsors. Create an audience development team whose sole purpose is to identify, invite, and cultivate guests who have the means and influence to generously support you before, during, and after your benefit auction.

Success Tip #9:  Remember the first rule of fundraising: “People give to people – not causes.” 

 3.  Avoid Dim Lighting

Dim dinner style lighting will lose thousands of dollars and put your beloved supporters to sleep. Illuminate your silent auction brightly. Turn up house lights fully during the live auction and Fund-a-Need Appeal. Direct the lights on the stars of your event: your guests. Never shine spotlights at your auctioneer, as that makes it impossible for him/her to see bidders.

Success Tip #10:  “Light Up” the Room during Live Auction

 2.  Avoid Noisy Venues and Bad Sound Systems

Nothing spells fundraising auction disaster more than an audience that does not pay attention and where no one can hear the auctioneer, success stories, and inspiring speakers.  Benefit auctions require a quality sound system different from any other event. Never use the built-in house sound because the tones are usually grainy and unclear. A professional sound system will pay for itself many times over and improve your guest’s experience so you can maximize your fundraising.

Success Tip #11:  “Quality” Sound System

 1. Avoid Failing to Have Fun and Not having Goals to Achieve

Have aspiring goals to achieve for each fundraising piece of the line-up, but don’t forget to make it fun for all who is attending.  The National Auctioneers Association has done studies that people give when having fun.  The night should consist of many ways for sponsorships and donors to connect to the cause and give with their hearts:   Live Auction, Fund Appeal, Silent Auction, Raffles, Wine Walls, Heads-or Tails, Golden Raffle Ticket.

Success Tip #12:   Aspire to  Meaningful “Fun”  and Achieving Goals

 img_0041 Impact Auctions is a consulting team to help your next event be more dynamic in raising top dollars for your Non-Profit Organization.  

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