Charity fundraisers are a lot of work! They take a lot of a nonprofits time, energy, and capacity…sometimes over a stretch of numerous months!

On the day of the event, the pressure is on.

It feels everything is riding on this singular event.

And that is partly true!

Charity fundraising events and specifically selecting charity auction items) takes time to market and execute!

But all that stress and expectation concerning the outcome of the event can really spoil the actual event.

After alongside with hundreds of nonprofits and events, Charity Fundraising would like to offer some tips on how to NOT zap the fun out of your Charity Auction.

We have seen how disappointment may arise from having unrealistic expectations, short-term thinking, and overspending on the superfluous items. These mistakes can zap the life out of your team and make the event heavier.

We have also seen some simple but common blunders that make the event less fun for your guests! These blunders revolve around A/V team preparation, checkout efficiency, and auction item selections.


Don’t zap the fun for your TEAM

1. Unrealistic expectations

Setting unrealistic expectations for an event can dampen the spirits of the entire team. When you set the bar too high, even a successful event “won’t be good enough.”

If this is your organization’s inaugural auction, start small. Even though annual events are only one-time events, the consistency of such events builds on each other. You can’t expect to reach the goals of another charity that pulls in $175,000 at their 20th annual auction.

That being said, there is another side – the first event does not always the smallest procurement rate. Often times, the first event ropes in a lot of people! The first annual event is new and exciting! The following year, some people might not make it or might not ask as many friends to come. The third year can be the most difficult. The enthusiasm of the new event is gone. Even for those loyal supporters, it’s easy to think “I’ve already been twice, and I’m just so busy this year – I’ll make it next year.”

Consult wise experts in the charity nonprofit world to make sure your organization has the right expectations for your auction! There are patterns to these annual events. Some years are just notorious for being slower years.


2. Short-term thinking

Slow years are not bad years! In other words, receiving less procurement on some events do not make the event irrelevant or a loss!

It is reported that 93% of attendees say the priority of a fundraiser is to have fun!

Events are to connect with old and new supporters. If raising funds was the primary reason for an event, then there would be no reason to get people together! (We could procure funds over digital media campaigns – Giving Tuesday takes place primarily on the web and that’s been proven to be a HUGE success.)

No, charity fundraising events procure funds, but they also connect people. The new guest who comes receives an experience. This experience teaches him or her about your organization and your cause! Though that guest may give only $100 that night, that connection may procure thousands of dollars over the course of that relationship.

Reaching out to donors and providing experience through a charity fundraising event takes a long-term focus.

Don’t get bogged down on the success of one night! Remember to look at the long-term patterns – are you making new donor relationships and maintaining old ones?


3. Overspending on superfluous items

In light of influx of great and slow years, and in light of the purpose of charity auction events, don’t overspend on superfluous items!

We see this most often with DJs and Bands. Though they can bring life to an event, they are not paramount! Sometimes, charities will forgo an auctioneer at a live auction or skimp of catering options to pay for a large and expensive live band. We don’t recommend this! Extravagant spending doesn’t usually pay off when it comes to music since music is by definition in the background.


What about for your guests? What do they need to have a fun and good time at your event?

Believe it or not, it’s the logistical issues that end up making an event a bummer for guests…


Don’t zap the fun for your GUESTS

1. Unprepared A/V team

Poor sound and lighting can ruin the experience. Unprepared A/V teams only adds to the problem. Most nonprofit – especially for the first few years of an annual event –  are so busy with setting up, managing catering, and figuring out the kinks with their event’s schedule that other things slide! Lighting and sound usually become secondary problems. In fact, these components really change an atmosphere! Loud and noisy venues with poor sound make it hard for guests to hear the live auctioneer. Poor lighting makes it hard to see and can make everything feel dingy. These poor conditions also strains people’s focus, which tires them out quicker.


2. Inefficient checkouts

Imagine this:

You are at a charity fundraising event. You had a great night. The venue was great, you enjoy some quality drinks, and you had a blast bidding for an auction item you won in the end. It’s late now. It is about 9:45pm. You didn’t realize how late the event would go and the adrenaline from bidding for your item has worn off. Now, you have to go checkout you auction item. It is the only thing standing in your way of your PJs and a relaxing night at home. The checkout takes 45 MINUTES.

It was mas havoc. The charity’s card systems were failing, volunteers lost your auction item for a short time, everyone was trying to checkout… it was a mess!

This scenario seems farfetched. But you’d be surprised at how often and easily this kind of situation occurs!

Do you think you would remember how fun of a night you had or that the ending of the night was a total pain?

Bad experiences tend to carry more weight for us than good experiences.

Don’t forget to plan well for efficient checkouts! You don’t want your guests leaving on a bad note!


3. Fun auction items!

Some nonprofits want to get as much bang for their buck as possible. They prefer to only have auction items in which they will receive 100% of the bid.

Consignment auction items, like vacation packages and celebrity and sports autographed auction items, bring a lot of excitement and energy to your event!

It’s important to weigh the benefits of an engaging and exciting auction items versus a free and pretty run-of-the-mill item.

Additionally, an organization can ask for auction item sponsors! If a local business (say an outdoor sports equipment shop) wants to become a sponsor, they can sponsor a ski-resort vacation package or a golf-pro autographed auction item! Then, your organization is guaranteed to receive all procurement from the bidding process at the event!

Charity fundraising goes a step farther! We offer our charity auction items at ZERO-RISK. Meaning, we ship you the auction items for FREE and take them back at no cost to you if they do not sell!

So why not give them a try?

We hope these tips will help your organization keep the fun in your next charity auction fundraising event! Contact Charity Fundraising for more information – we live to help nonprofits have enjoyably and profitable events!