It’s no secret that sourcing perfect auction items can be a challenge, and investing time and effort into acquiring your items is crucial to the success of your auction. After all, it’s one of the most important elements of a fundraising event and can dramatically impact the amount you raise for your incredible cause.
After raising over £1.7 million since April last year for charities through Givergy auction items alone, we believe these five tips and tricks will help you in your quest for fundraising success.
1. Talk to your board members
When putting on an event you will more than likely have a committee or a team of people planning the event. With a bit of luck your group will be not only resourceful, but have a network of contacts and resources that your event can benefit from. By encouraging your team to reach out to anyone who may be able to provide a unique item or experience, can make a huge difference.
If your team are only able to source smaller items, get creative! Combine some of your sourced items or experiences into a more desirable package, offering greater perceived value and subsequently, higher bids!
Example: If you have a hotel break and flight voucher, instead of selling them as two lots, combine them to create a more attractive (and relaxing) short break.
2. Ask the sponsors and stakeholders
As the saying goes, if you don’t ask; you don’t get. Ask all of your sponsors as well as stakeholders in the organisation, charity, and event committee if they’re able to donate an item or experience. Try to get access to their coveted little black book that might allow you to open doors and source some fantastic prizes and auction experiences. You’ll be surprised at how willing people are when it comes to helping a good cause.
If you don’t have any sponsors for your event, don’t panic. Businesses are often happy to donate items/experiences in exchange for promotion of their brand at your fundraising event.
Don’t forget to think outside the box, asking other stakeholders (such as your event venue) could help you source some great options for your event. They might even have sister hotels in amazing destinations.
Example: Givergy’s fine dining and golf break for two at The Manor House, Wiltshire raises on average £575 each time it's sold.
3. Variety is key
Always keep the demographic of your guests at the forefront of your mind; choose items and experiences that will directly appeal to them. Selecting the right auction items and experiences for your event is also not solely about placing everything you can source and hoping for the best. In our experience the variety of items available is of paramount importance. Guests do not just bid for themselves, they often bid with family, colleagues and friends in mind. Striking the right balance between audience-targeted items and variety will enable you to raise more.
Example: Divide your donations into categories: holidays, experiences, art and memorabilia etc. If one category contains a lot more items than the others consider removing some to use at future events.
4. There is such a thing as too much
Having many donations for your event can seem like a great situation to be in, but there is such a thing as too many items. In our experience of managing over 6,000 events globally, the best ratio of guests to items and experiences is 1 item for every 10 guests, with a maximum of 60. Having too many can lead to your auction becoming more of a shopping list, leading to less engagement. Striking the right balance will lead to your guests competing and bidding against one another to win. Getting 15 bids on one item will undoubtedly raise more, than 1 bid on 15 different items. The key to raising more is to harness the money in the room to drive the bids for your auction items higher.
Example: If your event has 300 guests, the optimum number of auction items for your silent auction would be 30.
5. Use a supplier
It can be difficult to source a sufficient number of items for your event, particularly the unique, money-can’t-buy experiences, that tend to raise large amounts for your cause. If you do find yourself short of items, you should consider using a supplier who has a transparent pricing structure, can provide certificates of authenticity and has a wide variety of options available and a reputation within the charity sector that is second to none.
Example: Some of our key charity partners source approximately 30% of their auction items from Givergy's Auction Item department. The Givergy Auction Item collection, is a transparently priced, contemporary and charity focused service.
We would love the opportunity to support your cause with our unrivalled collection of auction items and experiences. Request a brochure to see more of the incredible collection on offer, or request an auction item consultation to talk to our brilliant team who will be happy to help!