Most nonprofits understand the basic benefits of holding fundraising events, but some don’t realize the added benefits of holding specific kinds of events, such as charity auctions.
Although holding a charity auction is an involved multi-step process, that doesn’t mean your nonprofit doesn’t stand to benefit from organizing and hosting one. There are a number of different positives you stand to gain by holding a great charity auction, with more gifts and donations just being the obvious one.
A charity auction can expand the possibilities for your nonprofit in terms of future fundraising campaigns by expanding your current donor base and improving your donor stewardship practices.
If you’re looking for some more perspective on how a charity auction can help your nonprofit, remember that these events are extremely effective in helping you:
These ideas are just the beginning of how a charity auction can assist your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. Let’s take a deeper look into how this can happen.
1. Explore event fundraising software
Any nonprofit event is an opportunity for you to take a look at the fundraising tools you’re using to see if there’s any room for expansion. This means that you can start to take a look at event fundraising software.
Event fundraising software platforms are extremely beneficial to all nonprofits but can be especially helpful to organizations that are in the market for new additions to their fundraising tool kits. In a way, a charity auction can be just the type of push your nonprofit needs to move forward on purchasing this technology.
Because of all the benefits it offers, the opportunity to adopt and implement new event fundraising software is a fantastic reason to start planning a charity auction for your nonprofit.
If you’re wondering more about how a charity auction allows you to explore event fundraising options, you should ask questions about each platform such as:
Does it have a text-to-give option? Text-to-give is an excellent feature not only for your charity auction but for your nonprofit events in general. If your event fundraising software accommodates it, then you can give your attendees a small amount of information such as a keyword and phone number and allow them to give from the comfort of their mobile devices. Your attendees will appreciate the added convenience, and your fundraisers will enjoy the ease of use.
What are its mobile bidding solutions? When looking at event fundraising software, especially for an auction, you should investigate whether or not the platform allows for mobile bidding, which is simply auction bidding done from mobile devices. Make sure to prioritize software that allows for mobile bidding, as this feature streamlines the auction process for your organizers and creates an easier experience for your attendees.
Is it registration-friendly? Take a look at how easy it is for auction attendees to register using the potential event fundraising platform you want. If the platform can collect a wide variety of registration data while also managing check-in in an efficient manner, this is a huge plus. This kind of functionality will not only improve your auction, but with new data, your nonprofit’s fundraising capacity will also increase.
Remember that each charity auction will have a variety of needs that you’ll need to accommodate. Event fundraising software gives your nonprofit the ability to hold and plan events in an unrivaled manner by streamlining both planning and execution.
2. Maximize your donor retention
Another great benefit of charity auctions is that they allow you to better target a central priority of nonprofit fundraising: donor stewardship and retention.
Charity auctions help your nonprofit show care for recurring donors by giving them an unforgettable night out where they can support your cause while having fun. Auctions are among the most engaging fundraising events, and they’re extremely flexible, able to be adapted to all kinds of needs and goals.
Wondering more about how a charity auction will help you improve your donor retention efforts? Consider these strategies:
Have a great selection of items. Having a wide variety of items up for auction will excite your donors and allow them to connect more with the event experience. Make sure to choose items that appeal to your current donor base so that they feel understood and appreciated. In need of inspiration? This comprehensive list of charity auction items by Double the Donation should help you get started.
Track registration data. Holding a charity auction allows you to collect updated data on your donor base that you can use in your fundraising efforts going forward. This is important because it allows your nonprofit to assess how well your donor base is aligned with your cause and how passionate they are about your events. With this information in mind, you can streamline your fundraising efforts to be more effective in the future, helping your nonprofit raise more all around.
Practice (polite) follow-up. Lightly check in with donors after the event with a thank-you note or follow-up card. Your donors will appreciate your organization’s thoughtfulness and may even be able to give after the event itself. If you want, take advantage of donor data to find out what donors have a greater capacity to give in the future and plan your follow-ups strategically.
If you hold a charity auction for your nonprofit, you’ll find that your donors will appreciate the experience and be more likely to stay engaged with your mission in the future. Try these suggestions to make sure you make the most of that opportunity.
In case you’re looking for even more variety with your charity auction, consider holding a silent auction to spice things up.
3. Use multiple giving channels
As a flexible and highly engaging type of fundraising event, charity auctions can be great ways to expose your donor base to new and exciting giving channels or remind them of currently neglected ones.
Most notably, you can use your charity auction to make your donors aware of new giving channels that allow them to make donations more quickly and easily. For example, you can drive traffic to your website by promoting it at a charity auction event. If you have a donation page on your website, then you’re exposing your donors to multiple channels and maximizing giving potential.
If you’re curious as to the ways a charity auction can expand your giving channels, don’t forget that at a charity auction you can:
Drive traffic to your website. Events create a buzz which can help direct donor attention to your website. Your nonprofit will benefit from the added promotion and attention, and if you throw an online charity auction at the same time, then you create yet another giving channel for your donors to use. Online charity auctions can be just as effective as in-person ones, but they can be especially useful when you synchronize them with other in-person giving opportunities.
Mix in-person and digital giving. By having mobile -bidding, text-to-give, and in-person giving channels all available to your auction attendees, you accommodate your donors in a big way. Your nonprofit can show care and thoughtfulness for the attendee experience while also making donors more likely to give the amounts they want in more ways than ever possible. Make sure to let them know all the possibilities at the auction to take advantage of the opportunity!
Promote giving live on social media platforms. Charity auctions also give your nonprofit’s social media team more content to promote on every respective platform, not to mention how much promotion you’ll receive from donors posting about the event themselves. Give them added incentive to post for an extra boost. After all, fundraisers are exciting events that people want to be seen at, so take advantage of those benefits. Explore our eBook on social media for nonprofits for tips on reaching new audiences.
There are plenty of ways to make your auction successful, especially with online auctions. Still, it’s easy to see that when you use a diversity of giving channels at a charity auction, you offer your attendees new ways to give that shows your nonprofit cares about their donation experience. Use these tips to make sure those channels are as efficient as possible.
4. Identify new potential donors
Let’s face it, most nonprofits are always in need of new donors to connect with. Fundraising events are the perfect chance to both meet and start building lasting relationships with new supporters.
When you hold a charity auction, you give new donors the opportunity to connect with your nonprofit through its mission and purpose. You might even be able to find new major donors within your current donor base.
If you’re looking to identify new major donors within your existing base, there are plenty of ways to get started on doing so. Besides gathering information at your charity auction, you can:
Appeal to your target audience. Think about what kind of people you want at your charity auction. Are there demographics of potential donors that you might be missing? If so, make an effort to reach out to these demographics and invite them to your charity auction. Often, events are the perfect way for someone to have a positive experience and connect with your nonprofit’s brand and cause for the first time. Auctions, in particular, are also great opportunities to find the individuals within your existing base of support with the ability to give more.
Use prospect research. Prospect research can be a fantastic tool for figuring out who to invite to your charity auction. If you need help, Double the Donation’s guide to prospect research tools can help you get started on crafting an airtight analysis of future donors. This way, you can maximize your nonprofit’s efficiency in reaching out to new donors. Prospect research is also a great follow-up strategy to learn more about the big givers at your auction.
Auctions are attractive events with many different variables to manage. However, they’re also bound to draw in interested parties to your cause. Use your research to fine-tune your efforts to make your auction more effective.
With these benefits in mind, holding a charity auction should be a no-brainer for your nonprofit. Also, don’t forget that charity auctions also really shine in their main purpose: fundraising. If you’re looking to get more gifts for your organization, employ new fundraising tools, and engage your donors like never before, then look to a charity auction as a fantastic solution.
Joshua Meyer brings more than 14 years of fundraising, volunteer management, and marketing experience to his current role as the director of marketing for OneCause. Currently, as a member of the OneCause sales and marketing team, Josh manages all of the firm’s marketing efforts. He has a passion for helping to create positive change and loves that his current role allows him to help nonprofits engage new donors and achieve their fundraising goals.