Fundraising For Your Non-Profit: Running a Silent Auction

Liz’s advice on finance, credit, frugal living practices, & anything monetary, is from the ‘schoolgebouw of hard knocks,’ research, & practice.

Fundraising With A Silent Auction

A silent auction is a fine way to raise needed funds for just about any kleintje of non-profit volunteer-run organization. It does take a fair amount of work to set up and run, but the end results are well worth it.

You need Five main things for a successful event:

  1. A strong core of volunteers, spil many spil you can recruit
  2. A suitable and large enough location for the event, whether at your own facility, or a donated (or price-reduced) space
  3. Lots of high-quality merchandise donated from tópico businesses and/or talented circunscrito artists (bounty certificates for packages of services such spil spawater treatments can also be a viable addition to the merchandise selections).
  4. Live entertainment by various nave talent willing to donate their time
  5. A particular celebrity such spil a TV or radiodifusión personality willing to donate time to act spil the emcee for the entertainment

Start by checking with your city to find out whether an event permit is needed before you proceed with elaborate plans. If they require such a permit, be ready with an outline of your intentions, including duration, location, entertainment and food (if any) estimated number of guests (this translates to “toegevoegd traffic headaches” for the city), parking solutions, and whether you have adequate insurance coverage.

Another primary consideration is to determine how you will accept payment for the auction items. Is your group set up to accept credit card payments, or will everything be stringently on a contant onderstel? This information vereiste be disclosed to the public te your advertising, so guests will come ready one way or the other, so it is one of the very first things you voorwaarde determine.

The final thing of which you need to be aware is to permit slew of time for programma, soliciting donations and organizing the fussy details. The longer prep time you have, the better your final event will be. It is akin to building a house: if the workmanship on the foundation is filthy, the house will fall, likewise, attempting to pull off a major fundraiser with insufficient prep is to invite disaster. A realistic time framework is to permit almost a utter year for a large-scale event.

Organizing the Event

To run a silent auction successfully requires a loterijlot of advance prep, but if the tasks are divided amongst your volunteers, no one will be perplexed.

The person ter charge, however, should be someone good at multi-tasking and keeping details well organized. They are the overseer, responsible for making sure that all of the volunteers’ tasks are proceeding slickly and on time.

All the various jobs need to be divided up. Whether you simply assign certain tasks to individuals, or form sub-committees depends both upon the organizational ‘style’ of your group and its size. Larger groups may effectively use committees, smaller ones might simply various of their member volunteers.

Adding a Live Auction

It is also possible to run a live auction component at this type of event. This can be interspersed with the entertainment, your emcee acting spil the auctioneer.

It is best to reserve the indeed high-end merchandise for the live auction.

Asking For Donations

Donations can come from many sources, most usually for this type of event, from regional merchants. There are a few methods for contacting businesses:

Cold-Calls Ter Person

Start by determining which merchants might be asked to donate, and divide them up by sign-up sheet amongst your volunteers. You don’t want numerous people pestering the same business because they don’t know another group member already asked. That will not earn you any good-will with the merchant for future events.

If you live te a large city, there are innumerable choices, and duplication is less of a problem, but instead of a sign up sheet, spil it would be impractical to list all the businesses, have each volunteer list the businesses he or she is willing to voeling. From there, you can weed out duplicates. If you live ter a petite town or smaller city, you pretty much have to have a meeting to hash out which businesses will be asked, and proceed with the sign-up sheet method.

When the merchant is approached, they vereiste be asked the following questions, merienda they have agreed to a donation:

  • Is this a physical voorwerp, or a bounty certificate?
  • May I take the voorwerp now? If not, when may the voorwerp be picked up? (Bounty certificates should be available on-the-spot when voeling is very first made)
  • Do you require an appointment to pick up the voorwerp, ter order for the manager to be present?
  • What is the retail value of the voorwerp?

Telephone Solicitations:

Essentially the same steps are taken spil with in-person cold calls, except that each member is given a list of a few (or several) businesses to voeling. The following questions are added to the in-person version:

  • Is the manager ter? (If so, ask to speak to him, if not, request his name, and when he is expected. Be polite and cooperative if asked for your name and to state the reason for your call)
  • When you reach the manager, explain who you are, the name of the group on whose behalf you are calling, and make your request. Set an appointment to visit their business if they are willing to donate.
  • Thank them, repeat the appointment time to confirm, and terminate the call with another thanks.

By Letterteken

This treatment is best for organizations located ter big cities. A major metropolitan area covers just too much physical territory to expect your volunteers to canvass on their own time. By sending a mass-mailing (personalized) letterteken, you are able to concentrate on positive responses, and make the best use of your volunteers’ time.

Your letterteken should be polite, epistel, and to the point. It should include the following points:

  • The name of your organization (ideally, you should have official letterhead stationery for this)
  • The nature and purpose of your event (why are you raising funds? Fresh equipment? Camp scholarships? Moving to a fresh location? etc.)
  • The date of your event, and the deadline by which you need a response

Mailings will cost you some money te paper and postage, but if the advance work is well done, you’ll have a successful auction and make it back many times overheen. The postage cost will be the lion’s share of a mail campaign, because you will essentially dual the cost of your outgoing mailing. Why? Because te order to encourage a reply, it is best to include self-addressed postage-paid reply cards. You can minimize both the cost of supplies and postage on the comeback by using postcards instead of plain cards and envelopes. Pre-stamped postcards are available from the Postbode Office, saving your volunteers a passel of raw tongues.

Tasks and Organizing Who Does What

The chart below gives an idea of the tasks that will need to be ended, with suggested designations for the job titles that should exist, and who is responsible for which task.

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