Charity auction advice

Get all the tips for charity fundraising

For both big and small charities, auctions provide many fundraising possibilities but silent, live auctions present a tough challenge as well as a chance for organisers to raise funds to encourage charity campaigns. The stakes are high, however, so it's important to ensure you make it great.

We have discovered the most profitable auctions use a many-pronged approach to fundraising, which means that people are able to contribute in a number of ways. As well as holding the more conventional live auctions, there are many other techniques that can be used to encourage people to pay money. Here are some dos and don'ts of a charity auction:

What to do

  • Source a broad range of things for auction, appealing to a number of price points
  • Use pioneering event technology services – they enable the maximisation of fundraising potential and encourage high-end sponsors.
  • Find out tips about charity fundraising from the government website.
  • Go paperless. Technology like tablets and big screens help to share event updates with audiences as they happen. People often find them more engaging.
  • Add to your event revenue by selling advertising space, as well as sponsorship packages.
  • Aim to entertain. The best events are fun and lively, so get your audience involved at every turn.
  • Find a great location for your auction.

What to not do

  • Don't underestimate people’s generosity, but similarly, cater to people with smaller budgets.
  • Communicate your target and overall progression often throughout the event.
  • Don't shy away from new devices and techniques of running your auction. The advantages will most probably outweigh the cost.

Charity auction tips

1. Advertise the event items beforehand

Put descriptions or a short list in the invitations or emails before the event, enabling people to plan ahead of time to buy them at the real event. A great-looking catalogue will promote your great items to potential bidders. It helps produce word-of-mouth and enthusiasm for certain items well in advance of the auction.

2. Advertise your auction items at the event

It’s key to have a detailed list or descriptions of the things being auctioned – and on the tables at the event.

You need to make the most of every chance to play up these items before an enthusiastic crowd.

3. Best items are those with an experience or unique value

You want unique items that you can’t purchase anywhere else. Things of an “experience” can be invaluable – much better than something with a tangible cost.

4. Plea or gift and silent auctions after the live auction

People may not have given all their money at the live auction, and they can go and bid again on the file and give money to the plea. A pro auctioneer really can make all the difference.

5. Money over atmosphere

Bring up the lights and turn off the stage spotlights. I can’t tell you how many auctions I’ve been to where there was low or no lighting on the items.

What we cover

  • fundraising for charity
  • fundraising ideas for clubs
  • fundraising ideas
  • fundraising websites
  • fundraising online
  • fundraising ideas for kids
  • personal fundraising
  • fundraising event ideas

UK Charity fundraising and auction advice and information for charities to raise awareness and funds

Many thanks to Essex Interiors for their furniture and bed / mattress donations.

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