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24 Mar 2016

5 Tips on how to source exclusive auction items

It’s no secret that sourcing the perfect auction items can be a challenge. Investing time and effort into acquiring your items is vital. 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 a staggering £1.5 million in the last year for charities through Givergy auction items, we believe these five tips and tricks will help you in your quest.

1. Talk to your board members

When putting on an event you will more than likely have a committee or at least 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 through that personal connection can make a huge difference.

If your team are only able to source smaller items, get creative! One tip we offer is to combine some of your sourced lots 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 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 if they’re able to donate an item or experience. Try to get access to their coveted little black book as this may allow you to open doors to sourcing some fantastic prizes and auction lots. You’ll be surprised at how willing people are to help your good cause.

If you don’t have any sponsors for your event, don’t panic. Businesses are often happy to donate items/experiences to promote their brand through your fundraising event.

Don’t forget to think outside the box, asking stakeholders such as your event venue could help you source some great options for your event. They might even have sister hotels with amazing destinations.

Example: Givergy’s fine dining and golf break for two at The Manor House, Wiltshire raises on average £575 each time it is 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 lots 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 not just bid for themselves, they often bid with family, colleagues and friends in mind.  Striking the right balance between audience-targeted lots 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 lots 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 lots.  In our experience managing over 2,500 events, the best ratio of guests to lots is 1 lot for every 10 guests with a maximum of 60.  Having too many lots can lead to your auction becoming more of a shopping list. Striking the right balance will lead to your guests competing and bidding against one another to win. Getting 15 bids on one lot will often see more raised than 1 bid on 15 lots.  The key to raising more is to harness the money in your room to drive the bids for your lots higher, raising you more!

Example: If your event has 300 guests, the optimum number of lots for your silent auction would be 30.

5. Use a Supplier

It can be difficult to source a sufficient amount of items for your event, particularly the unique, money-can’t-buy experiences that 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 second to none.

Example: Some of our key charity partners source approximately 30% of their auction items from Givergy's lots department. The Givergy lot collection is the most transparently priced, contemporary and charity focused service available.

We would love the opportunity to support your cause with our unrivalled collection of lot items and experiences, please do get in contact to learn more.

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