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Charity auctions: ways to raise funds

Why is a live charity auction the best way to raise money for your nonprofit? Let’s look at some of the alternatives first.

Chances are, anyone reading this has been involved in some form of fundraising. Let me guess. Your son has sold popcorn or your daughter has sold cookies. You put miles on your car and spent your own money on gas. If he was “lucky” to sell a lot, he had to make a lot of deliveries. Or was it discount cards/books, bread, calendars, still? What percentage of sales actually stayed with your nonprofit: 50%, 25%, or less? Now take the number of volunteers and times times the number of hours each spent fundraising. If you counted all volunteer hours and expenses, you’re lucky if you broke even. How many weeks did it last? It felt like a long time, didn’t it? Did the people who bought the products learn anything about your nonprofit and the good things it does? Did you also know that, with cold calls and door-to-door sales; There are consumer protection laws that allow the buyer to withdraw from the contract, so what may seem like a sale is not?

Let’s look at another way of fundraising. Marketing companies consider a direct mail campaign successful if it receives a response from only 0.25 – 1 percent of senders. Imagine sending 1,000 full color postcards with postage that could cost $1 per piece sent and if you have 25 people responding (0.25 percent) your campaign is actually considered successful. Please note that a response is not considered a donation and your costs are already $1,000 per thousand emails.

What about cold calls? Of course, many people actually find this a nuisance. So much so that there are now laws to restrict cold calling. There is a national “do not call” list and some states even have their own stricter “do not call” lists. Even without the restricted prospects, you need a qualified professional, and without that training, your percentage rates could be lower than even a direct mail campaign.

So before you organize your next car wash and spend hours in the sun over a disappointing return, call a professional profit auctioneer and let them help you plan a fun and lucrative charity event. A charity auction should be truly enjoyable for your volunteers and guests and can sell a variety of donated items. One of the biggest benefits of a charity event is the information you can give your guests about your organization. They will leave knowing what your nonprofit is doing and where their money will go. This produces a sense of ownership in your cause. Of course, an organization can use many of these types of fundraisers, but a live auction event produces by far the greatest return.

If the auctioneer you’ve chosen can’t help you plan your event to maximize your fundraising, don’t give up. There are strategies to improve your next auction event and there are professional profit auctioneers who are dedicated to your success.

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