Running a fundraiser is one thing, running a fundraiser smoothly is another thing, and running a fundraiser to the fullest success it can be is an entirely different story. Running a fundraiser takes a lot of work. It takes a lot of planning and effort. Getting the working parts of a fundraiser to run cohesively is not a small task. But once you get the sponsors, venue, attendees, caterer, and even the auction items – then what? A fundraiser can always go better (that’s part of the fun of them!). Learning the nuance details that take a fundraiser from good to great is where we come in.

Running a successful fundraiser is about paying attention to the details. Today, we want to focus on re-packaging auction items so that they are as appealing to your audience as possible. This is so important but, sadly, overlooked by many fundraising teams. Since the biggest hurdle to jump is getting good auction items, once obtained, it’s tempting (and sometimes necessary if you don’t have any more time left due to poor planning) to auction the items in any random order or set up the silent auction tables up without much consideration.

There are three tips Charity Fundraising wants to give your non-profit when considering the presentation and packaging of your Auction Items:

  1. Categorize

Make it easy for your guests to look for what they want to find. If you have a wide array of auction items – anything from gift baskets, autographed music memorabilia, sports memorabilia, to vacation packages – don’t spread out the categories.

If someone is interested in looking at one vacation package, ten to one, they are probably interested in looking at another. Who knows, the next one might be just right for them. If the guest has to wait thirty minutes into the auction process to be interested again, his excitement will have wavered. Similarly, it is too much work if the guest has to scour the silent auction items to find another vacation package. The goal is make your guest to as little as possible and keep the excitement and interest high.

  1. Make Themes

Additionally, making themes to your auction items is a way to keep your audience’s interest peaked. This comes with knowing your guest’s tastes and preferences, which takes time and experience interacting with your donor base. For example, a donor base who enjoys the finer things with fine wine and dining would not be interested in a wildlife exploration hiking and packing theme. Theming your auction items can put you far ahead, and all it takes in knowledge and proper planning. The presentation of silent auction items and the ordering of items in a live auction are paramount. Making themes can be just as important as categorizing.

  1. Going the Extra-Mile pays off

One could say that packaging and presenting auction items by category and by theme is going the extra mile in and of itself. That’s true. It’s the next step in making your next fundraiser more intentional for your guests and more productive. That being said, putting in the extra effort to package your items with added bonuses does pay off.

For example, one of our vacation packages going out to the Alps for a skiing trip should have tangible goods at auction: ski goggles, gloves, and scarf combination in a nice backpack.

Or, if your showcasing fundraising item is our framed autographed of Arnold Palmer, throw in a golf club set or tickets to attend part of the next PGA Tour.

“Filling out” your auction items helps your guests see more of the potential behind the silent auction item. They can imagine themselves with those new goggles (they’ve been needing new ones anyway) on the Alps. They envision themselves experiencing the joy of golf like Palmer did when their eye lands on that new club. Going the extra mile is about putting yourself in the position of your guest and seeing what would make that bid that much easier for them. It pays off.