If you host an annual fundraiser for your non-profit or are considering starting one, chances are a live auction is on your agenda. Live auctions are a standard go-to for most non-profit fundraising events. I think that most people associate live auctions with easy, high dollar bids. The problem is, their time and effort in putting together a good live auction is often dismal.
Committee members think all they need to do is find some items, put it in a program with a value and people will bid. I hate to break it to you, but that is far from the truth. What really happens is attendees become disinterested when they know the live auction will involve the same old items and format. Am I saying, don’t host a live auction? Certainly not! I mean how else can your raise over $100K on a puppy in under 5 minutes? What I am getting at is, there are some things to consider to keep your ideas fresh and your attendees engaged and excited to bid high!
Hire a Professional Auctioneer
While the cost of hiring a professional auctioneer may seem off the table and something worth skipping over, don’t make this mistake. Find one that aligns with your nonprofit and will accomplish your goals. A professional auctioneer has a lot of experience when it comes to planning and hosting charity auctions. Often an auctioneer will even work with a first-year event on the structure of pricing to make it mutually beneficial to both parties. They know the name of the game and oftentimes are a big player in the community. They are trained to entertain and lead the crowd. You need someone who is confident, enthusiastic and keeps your audience engaged. With quick one-liners and charming personalities, they will continue to motivate attendees to bid and engage in a friendly competition to win the experience of a lifetime.
Bring Your Live Auction to Life
Now I don’t know about you, but I have always been a visual person. I appreciate videos and pictures and if firefighters happened to be involved in the package, I ABSOLUTELY need (and want) some visuals, uniforms preferred. We managed a nonprofit event several months ago and a live auction included a fancy dinner for you and 14 of your girlfriends for a night of wonderful food. All served by their local firemen. We decided we wanted to make this one a little more “interactive” and asked these gentlemen to participate in the bidding. At first the response was normal, shy bidders waiting to make the first move. Que the music, the handsome firemen, and I’m sure you can imagine what transpired in that room. Ladies were cheering and dancing on the stage, and the package was a complete success! Help them visualize what your auction items experience will be like. If one of your items includes dinner for you and your party of 10 by a local chef, hand out samples of the chef’s most delicious offerings.
Give the complete package
I have seen some successful live auction packages and ones that fell short, though they had potential. As human beings, we are constantly busy running around. When we look at these live auctions we visualize an experience, a getaway. We want to relax. I assure you, nobody wants to purchase an auction package that requires additional planning. For example, if there was a package that included a private dining room on the top of the second tallest building in your city, with amazing 360 views that would seem like quite the experience am I right? The catch . . .no booze, no food, nothing else included! For me, I was excited, until I found out that work was involved. Give top-notch items and experiences but make it all inclusive. Don’t limit yourself or your guests to the ultimate experience. Plan accordingly and hit all sides.
Live auctions, if done well, take a lot of time and energy. Make sure it’s worth the hassle. Hire a professional that can get attendees excited about your items, make it interactive, give them a sneak peek and don’t require them to do additional planning. If you hit these points, I ensure you your hours of hard work will be worth the profit.
To heating up your live auction,
Kendall | Social Media & Podcast Guru | TheFundraisingMethod.com | firstname.lastname@example.org