Part two in a two-part series

In part one of this blog, we highlighted the value propositions in having an event planning company on your side when you plan a fundraising event. We enumerated a list of benefits a nonprofit organization can derive by hiring a professional event planning company experienced in organizing nonprofit events. Many fundraisers often have an auction component to them. Auctions have many benefits:

  1. They liven up an event;

  2. They create a buzz among attendees;

  3. They are invaluable tools in the organization’s outreach program(s);

  4. They are valuable fundraising tools/source in and of themselves; and

  5. They often improve the event attendance.

While invaluable in their appeal, auctions often add to the complexities of a fundraising event—thus making it even more burdensome for a nonprofit organization with limited internal resources. Among these challenges are:

  1. The need for an up-to-date and pertinent solicitation list;

  2. Creative item description to “entice” bidding among attendees;

  3. In the case of traditional silent auctions, physical handling of donated items during the period before and at the event;

  4. A proper venue with the required capabilities appropriate and conducive for an auction setup;

  5. In the case of mobile bidding, the required infrastructure (an attractive and well-functioning website, availability of reliable Wi-Fi in the event venue, a merchant account, knowledgeable staff with tablets in hand to assist potential bidders, etc.);

  6. In the case of live auctions, the need for an energetic and dynamic auctioneer; and

  7. Setup and teardown of the auction area—and the need for qualified staff therefor.

These challenges are at time overwhelming for a nonprofit with meager resources—and particularly so when an auction is being planned in conjunction with a fundraising gala. In our previous blog, we listed the benefits of hiring an event planning company to plan a fundraising event. The nonprofit organization stands to gain considerably if that same event planning company can also manage the auction component of the fundraising gala. Among the benefits are:

  1. Economies of synergy;

  2. Cross fertilization of resources and staff;

  3. Integrated efforts including regular briefing meetings to cover the event logistics as well as the auction component;

  4. Enhanced accountability; and

  5. Potential cost savings

 Having established the benefits of an auction in conjunction with a fundraising event, here is a list of pertinent questions for the nonprofit organization to ask if contemplating to add an auction to its fundraising event:

  1. Experience: Ascertain the event planning company’s competence in the area of auctions;

  2. Solicitation list(s): Verify the company’s access to value-adding solicitation lists that could be critical in the success of your planned auction;

  3. The role of the board of directors: The nonprofit’s board of directors can—and must—play a pivotal role in the success of the fundraising event including auction item/donation solicitation;

  4. Staff, expertise and physical capability to manage the actual auction event; and

  5. The flair for this important exercise.

Armed with the above know-how, a nonprofit organization is well positioned to enhance their fundraising efforts by adding an auction component to enliven their gala or any other function they may be contemplating. The expertise and skillsets an event planning company is able to bring to the table will inevitably prove invaluable. 

Find out why Your Great Eventwith over 20 years’ experience in helping nonprofits plan and execute auctions in conjunction with their fundraising goals,is your go-to event planning company for your next fundraiser.