Success Secrets of an Auctioneer – One Bid Board

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Restaurant certificates are the foundation of every successful fundraising auction and nonprofit auctions are a great advertising opportunity for creating visibility and brand identity.

What is the One Bid Board?
The One Bid Board is a physical display featuring restaurant certificates at face value. Bidders compete for the right to be the first to win. The dining certificate remains on display and bidders continue to view restaurants name, logo and location for the duration of the auction.

What are the benefits for a restaurant?
• Restaurant logo and location is visible all 300 minutes of the event
• Sales are immediate and in full view of the buying audience
• Multiple bidders can view donation and bid simultaneously
• Display is upright & moves with the audience

What are the benefits for the organization?
• Board preparation is quick and easy and portable
• Reconciliation is simple
• Only one volunteer needed to prepare and manage board
• Board can be created well in advance of the auction
• Lightweight & collapsible for easy transportation

One Bid Board certificate advantages:
• Easy to administer
• Broad audience appeal
• Redemption rate 60%
• Cost effective
• Has lasting impact
• Creates new customers
• Creates immediate sales
• Hours of advertising
• Multiple bidders can write in bid number and win simultaneously
• Simple volunteer and clerking procedure
• Advance preparation quick and easy
• Uses upright portable display, easy transport, move about the venue

How does it work?
The One Bid Board is positioned in front of auction guests during the silent auction. A volunteer hosts the board informing bidders of the restaurants on the board and recording bid numbers. The auctioneer calls out the featured restaurants and announces each one as it sells. The board is moved to where the action is until all restaurants have sold. If restaurants are still available post auction, position the board near the check-out area for further viewing and sales.

How Often Should You Thank Recurring Donors?

thank-you-road-sign

People often ask, is it important to thank a recurring donor every month?  The answer depends on how they gave in the first place.

When the Recurring Donation Comes Through Offline Methods.

When someone becomes a recurring donor offline, say through direct mail, telemarketing, face to face, TV, or any other ‘offline’ medium, Ialways recommend sending an immediate snail mail thank you letter for joining but then after that NOT to send .donors monthly thank you letters.

It costs money to send a thank you via snail mail which defeats the purpose of having someone join as a recurring donor. However, you should send a tax receipt in January of all their gifts, so they have it for their records and, of course, you should always thank the donors in your annual appeals, recognizing them as special.

Online Recurring Donor Receipts: Make them Personal and Special

For online credit card recurring donors, where a monthly thank you email is typically generated automatically, I recommend something slightly different.

Definitely send a snail mail letter to thank the donor for joining the recurring giving program andsend the tax receipt via snail mail (and email) in January.

But you’ll also have to make an extra effort to alternate the monthly thank you receipts. You’re certainly not treating these donors special if you keep sending the same standard thank you month after month. These donors are making a considerable ongoing contribution to your organization so you should treat them special.

While I like PayPal and Network for Good a lot for their ease of use in having donors join a recurring giving program, their email receipts are not great. In the “off the shelf” versions of these services your org can’t change the messages, although customization is available in Network for Good’s Donate Now option.   Just take a look at these automatically generated receipts:

PayPal

You sent an automatic payment

Hello e waasdorp,

You sent an automatice payment to Marstons Mills Public Library, Inc. Here are the details:

Amount: $5.00

To: Marston Mills Public Library, Inc

For:

Customer service URL: http://www.xxxxx

Customer service email: smartn@xxxxxx.org

Customer service phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx

Automatic payment details:

And here’s a Network For Good example

From: donations@networkforgood.org

Date: May 21, 2014 at 6:23:51 AM MST
To: xxxx

Subject: Thank you for your donation!

The following donation(s) were scheduled to be processed today per instructions from pledge(s) you’ve made in the past.

Nonprofit Organization: NAME
Frequency: Monthly

On behalf of your favorite charity(ies), we thank you for your generous support! By making an automated donation online through Network for Good, you have chosen one of the most efficient and cost effective ways to give to charity.

Your contribution is tax-deductible to the extent allowed by law. You may save or print this receipt for your records and the information will be conveniently stored in your donation history for you to access at any time.  This email certifies that you have made this donation as a charitable contribution and you are not receiving any goods or services in return.  This receipt may be useful to you when completing your tax return.

Your credit card will be billed as Network for Good instead of the names of the organizations receiving the funds because your donation is to the Network for Good Donor Advised Fund (tax ID 68-0480736), which will re-grant your donation to the charity/ies you designated.  All donations are final and may not be refunded. Your donation has been processed as follows:

Name: xxx

Address: xxxx
City: xxxx
State/Province: xx
Zip/Postal Code: xxx

E-mail: xxx
Phone: xxx

Total Donation Amount: $10.50

Method of Payment: Visa
Name on Credit Card: xx

Credit Card Last 4 Digits: xxxx
Date: Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Time: 9:23 AM EDT
Reference Number: xxxxxxxxxxx

These have been abbreviated here, but they both continue in this dry legalistic way. And this  ‘standard approach’ does not apply to just PayPal or Network for Good receipts. We can certainly explain why these two are just not able to make it any more personal because it’s not the organization issuing them, they’re just the ‘middle man’ if you will. The sad news is that I have seen even several large organizations with other credit card processing systems where the email receipts are not very good either when they could be much better.

Do the above email receipts seem special to you? Do they tell the donor about the impact their gift is making? Absolutely not. A receipt is not a thank you.

How to Make a Better Impression

But, there is a simple solution that does not take that much time or extra resources, and it WILL make a world of difference to the recurring donor you’re trying to keep and in the future upgrade to higher levels.

If all is well, you should have already coded these recurring donors in your email list as a special segment. If not, start doing this as soon as possible! You’ll benefit from it in the short and long run!

Here is a simple recommendation to address the issue of recurring donor receipts that does not take that much time:

1. Create a special variation of your email newsletter to include a thank you to your recurring donor

I trust that you’re sending out an email newsletter or message to your donors at least once a month. If so, I recommend creating a slight variation of the email introduction that simply says:

Thank you for being such a great member of the Circle of Friends (fill in name of your monthly giving group). You make a difference to the many people (animals) etc. we serve (fill in specifics)… Thanks to you we’re able to have the funds to…    (fill in specifics).

Then go into the rest of your email blast announcing upcoming events and activities… or better yet tell the story about one of your clients. Do not repeat the amount and date of their gift in this email but focus on the fact that they are such a loyal donor to your organization and they’re truly SPECIAL! You should be able to do this in the first few lines of your email newsletter.

This way, it gives the recurring donor that ‘special feeling.’  It’s not a lot of extra work on your part and it’s also less important at what time of the month you send that email. And believe it or not, you can occasionally even include an ask for money in some of those email blasts (but do fit it in with your overall communication strategy! If you’re already in the mail heavily, you may just use those email blasts as reminders.

The long and short of it is, you just told the recurring donor how special they are to your organization and the difference their ongoing gifts make. And, if you get feedback and testimonials from your recurring donors, don’t be afraid to use them. People love hearing from other donors confirming that they made the right decision (joining your recurring giving program)!

2. Send at least four special email thank yous at a minimum

If you are not yet sending a regular email newsletter now, I highly recommend you do at least four special email blast thank you emails to your recurring donors annually. They don’t have to be very long or elaborate, just personal and really appreciative. Many organizations tend to change up their typical snail mail thank you letters once a quarter, depending upon their annual fund schedule, so just make a simple email variation, work in the reference to being a recurring donor et voila!

I’m all for keeping things simple and manageable, so try to use what you already have in place and make small tweaks to accommodate the recurring donors. It is important to treat this special group special. You’ll continue to benefit from these recurring donors, month after month, for many years to come!

And, if you have questions or special email thank you notes to share, please feel free to email them to erica@adirectsolution.com.

Original article by Erica Waasdorp. She is the author of the hot new book, Monthly Giving: The Sleeping Giant. 

Getting Media Coverage

media_int

When non-profit organizations aren’t out changing the world, they’re appealing to supporters and the public for donations. Fundraising is a constant challenge for non-profit organizations and it’s not because people don’t want to give the money –it’s because people don’t always know that there’s a need. That changes by getting media coverage.

 

Fundraising efforts include direct mailings, advertising, and marketing campaigns. Each of these is costly and there’s no way to guarantee return on investment. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to gain exposure and elicit donations without having to dip into the coffers? You can –they’re called “editorial placements” or as we in media relations like to say “free advertising”.

Newspapers and magazines live and die by their content. If people don’t want to read what they’re printing, they’re in trouble. Being able to offer a print publication (or even a broadcast network) with a story that will entertain, educate, or inspires its readers is a challenge, but well worth it if it’s printed.

Which of the following newspaper placements do you think will garner more public response: an ad placed in the “weekender”or “volunteer opportunity”sections describing your organization and asking for donations; or a touching feature story about how the organization is making a difference in the community?

The feature story will almost undoubtedly send more people to an organization’s Web site than an ad, and the funny this is that the feature story cost the organization nothing to secure.

Why does the public respond more strongly to a feature than an ad?

Because appearing in the media provides instant legitimization. People tend to trust the organizations or people they see in the paper or on TV.

If you run a non-profit animal shelter that is featured on the weekend nightly news’adopt-a-pet segment, chances are the public will think of you first when looking to adopt a pet as opposed to if you simply placed an ad in the Sunday paper every week.

So how do you obtain “free advertising?”By reaching out to the media every chance you get. Smaller organizations that utilize community support can offer personal feature stories on certain overachieving volunteers.

The media loves a good “feel good”story: how one volunteer has made such a difference, how a beneficiary of the organization’s services is thriving now, and so on.

How did your organization start? Did someone sell their business to establish a women’s shelter? Does a local mother care for homeless animals on her farm?

Publicity ideas

Here are some ideas to help inspire you to develop a story for your organization or cause.

 

Every person has a story. Discover the stories behind the people in your organization and make the media aware of them. By “story,”I mean a simple, conversational story –the type you might tell a friend.

Pitching a story to the media doesn’t mean you have to write it and offer it in its entirety. When you pitch a story, you simply let your media contact know about it. They’ll decide if it’s a fit and pursue it further.

To get an idea of the kinds of stories the paper and local networks like, spend a few weeks tuning in or scanning the pages. It will be obvious the kinds of things they’re looking for.

Pay close attention to the journalists and reporters who write on topics related to yours. These are the people you are going to want to contact with your story.

Local outlets want local stories, and this can represent multiple opportunities for media coverage. For instance, if the person your story focuses on lives in a town other than where your organization is based, you can pitch the story to both locales.

Let the world know what’s happening. Hosting or sponsoring an event can garner more attention than a two-line announcement in the calendar section.

What is the story surrounding your event? If you’re launching a clothing drive for professional attire to help women get jobs, highlight a success story, such as a woman associated with your organization who overcame hardships and landed a great job that changed her life.

If you’re hosting a casual fun-day dog show for kids to benefit a local animal shelter, find a pet owner who plans to enter his or her adopted shelter dog.

Even your fundraising events can be promoted through editorial placements. You don’t have to have a high-profile MC or a gala to make the news. If this is an annual event, how do you expect to surpass last year’s donations? How were the funds used? If they built a library or added a wing to a senior center, what’s the story behind that?

Announce Everything

Organizations in large cities face direct competition for donations and media coverage. To help improve your chances of media attention, do everything you can to stay in the news (or at least in the minds of the news writers in your area).

 

Is there a staffing change or new hire (a positive one)? Announce it. If you’ve added a service to your organization, announce it. In sales and marketing, a consumer needs to hear about a product seven times before he or she will buy it, on average.

The same is true for donations to non-profits. The more often the public sees your organization in print or hears about it on the radio or on television, the more likely they will be to consider donating. Keep that in mind the next time you’ve got news to share!

Media relations is about building relationships and having an idea of what the public wants. It’s not as complicated as it may seem, after all, you are the public.

What do you want to read? What would be interesting to you? Talk to your co-workers and friends and find out their opinions.

Identify the media people in your area who cover the types of things you and your organization do and begin to build a relationship. Before you know it, you may have them calling you for a story.

Create the perfect environment for giving

Creating a perfect environment for giving can be a carefully balanced dance that is perfected over time. The most important tip is to ALWAYS HAVE AN END RESULT. Figure out what the goal is and aim for that. Otherwise, you may be all over the place doing the tango back and forth. Here are some tips on creating this perfect environment for giving:

1. VISUAL

Adding a PowerPoint to your Live Auction will not only showcase your live items,but it is also visually appealing. People are attracted to large images and have a very short concentration span. Tease them with a visually appealing image and let them taste what you are auctioning. Use images to generate excitement and dollars! What more could you ask for than Lakers tickets with a picture of Kobe Bryant. They may never meet Kobe, but the thought of possibly meeting him is there.

  • Powerpoint Tips:
    • Place one item per slide
    • Put the item Number on the slide
    • Place the Title on the slide
    • Add a Graphic (1 or 2)
    • Who donated it (example What class/teacher)
    • Bullet point description of the item
    • Following these steps will create interest to sell the item. Most of all it will keep your guests focused and bid!

2.  MISSION PROMOTION

Remind your guests why they are there. It is easy to get lost in conversation, food, drinks and networking. Tell a story through pictures and quotes. Keep your audience focused on the mission and the big picture of how they are benefiting a cause.

3. WALLPAPER IT UP!

Your guests want to have fun, this is a night away to mingle and give back! So, have fun with it. Be creative! Mix your slides up using the tips below and you have what we call Auction Wallpaper.  This can be rotating in the background on your tv’s to remind your audience about why they are there.

  • Compile 100-200 pictures to show your great cause
  • Have them on a 3-5 second loop
  • Add quotes form past guests and sponsors
  • Add Sponsors Logos
  • Include Auction items
  • Display the Sponsors Logos
  • Add any other Facts about the Charity

REMEMBER:

1. Have a goal!

2. Remind your guests of the mission you are promoting

3. Be creative!

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Auction Time! First Christian School 14th Gala

We had such a great time at the First Christian School’s 14th Gala, 2014. Auction items were abundant from wine to WELCOME signs.. a really fun evening was had by all. Thank you for including us in your event and congratulations on the success of the event.

Click here to check out video of the evenings auction – AUCTION TIME!

Donation Party 2014

We had such a fantastic evening full of wine, food and good company. Thank you to everyone who joined us and for your support. Guests were treated to a tasting from the following wineries:

Frank Family

  • Frank Family Reserve Chardonnay

DumOL Wines

  • DumOL Clair Chardonnay –  This was one of our favorites – it can be very hard to find this wine outside of the winery, however we did – Lucky us! This winery is a  great location to host a donation party.

Bremer Family Winery

Bremer is a wonderful family winery with lots of places to explore. Located on the slopes of Howell Mountain in the Napa Valley.

welcome

  • Bremer Chardonnay
  • Bremer Clarit

Hunnicutt

  • Hunnicutt Cabernet sauvignon

ZD Wines

  • ZD Wines Chardonnay

During the evening  guests also tasted Premium Olive Oils and Balsamic Vinegars from Pairings located in Roseville. Ending the evening with a delicious dessert was a huge hit. Click here for the Carrot Cake with Ginger Mascarpone Frosting Recipe by Ina Garten’sDELICIOUS!!

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Thank you to Ivy Negal – A  Stella and Dot stylist (Jewelry) set up a pop-up shop so our guests can explore beautiful jewelry throughout the evening. Ivy also donated fabulous bobbles and we were able to earn points to buy Stella and Dot gems for donation.

This event was a success and a really great way to gather items for our upcoming auction. Each guest was asked to support the Active Auctioneers Foundation and bring a bottle of wine for donation towards the next event – January 10, 2015. SAVE THE DATE!

Golden Ticket Raffle

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Whats a Golden Ticket Raffle?

Golden Ticket Raffles offer a limited number of higher price raffle tickets to win a high value prize, typically a choice of any live auction item.

Examples:

  • Selling 100 tickets at $100 can be surprisingly easy for a buyer’s choice prize and can increase participation when significant numbers of attendees feel “priced out” of the live auction portion of the event.
  • The cost of the ticket: if half of your guests purchase a ticket, the revenue should equal or exceed the Fair Market Value of any of your live auction items, or at least most of them.
  • At your auction, the live auction item with the highest FMV is a weeklong trip to Hawaii, at $12000. You are expecting 300 guests. $12000 divided by 150 tickets is $80/tickets. This is the minimum price you should charge for a Golden Ticket!

During your event your Auctioneer will announce that anyone present could win any of the live auction items for a fraction of its Fair Market Value, by buying a Golden Ticket.

You should have someone well dressed and charismatic walk through the crowd with a roll of 2 part tickets and a clipboard. As tickets are sold, two pieces of information are collected

1.    Their bidder number

2.    Which live auction item they wish to win!

The first piece of information is written on a sales tracking sheet of paper on the clipboard, and on the ticket, which the seller keeps for the drawing.

The buyer is handed the other part, and wished good luck.

The ticket seller keeps the portions of the sold tickets with the bid and item numbers written on then until it is time to draw the winner, and takes the sheet with bidder numbers to the people entering sales into your database, at periodic intervals throughout the Golden Ticket sales window. The seller will now collect a fresh sheet and continue to sell.

You and your auctioneer will determine the best time and method for drawing the winner’s name. Make sure that you have closed sales 10-15 minutes before the live auction begins, to give your data entry people time to get the tickets sales entered and there is adequate time to designate what live item has been “Sold” 

 © 2014 Beahm Auction Group. All rights reserved.

Fundraising Auction Quality Sound & Lighting Systems

Maximize your Revenue!

By Beahm Auction Group

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For Benefit Auctions, “Auction Quality” sound and lighting serves in the best interest to maximize revenue and adds to the quality of guest experience. Any use of the venue’s built-in house sound system is not acceptable for afundraising auction. In some cases DJ or band sound may be fine depending on your room setup. It is critical for each guest to hear and become engaged in fundraising throughout every phase of your event. Here are some important factors to design the optimum sound and lighting system to raise the most money and excitement at a benefit auction.

Written Proposal – Get a written sound and lighting proposal with equipment specifications, placement of speakers on the floor plan/s. Make sure all the costs are included, including equipment, labor for set up, event, and break down. Appoint a key committee member to be the liaison with the sound company to insure that they DO set up the EXACT sound system that you approved for the night of the auction!!! Schedule early, good sound companies are booked sometimes a year in advance.

Sound – MOST IMPORTANT FACTOR: Absolutely, every guest must be able to hear clearly at BOTH silent and live auctions over the loud talking and clanking of dishes that occurs at a benefit auction. The best design for sound involves placing high quality speakers on stands surrounding the entire audience–that is speakers all the way around the auction venue. Include at least 1 to 2 stage monitors on the stage, depending on the stage size. Make sure the stage monitor settings are the same as the speakers that surround the room. The sound engineer must make sure there are no “dead sound zones” in either the silent or live auction venue. Remember, there is always a higher level of concentrated noise in the silent auction area, requiring ample speakers. If there are some areas of “transition” like hallways/foyer/extra tent, it is a good idea to have some speaker on stands in that location so that all guests can know can hear announcements. It’s essential to focus on the transition from silent to live. If there is not proper sound and excitement, your guests will get “stuck” loosing valuable time and energy. It’s critical to stay on your timeline so that you have a quick and smooth transition to dinner, program and live auction.

Professional Sound Company – It is vital to select a sound company that will support your needs to focus on a great sound system that will be designed specifically for you. The sound company needs to know that your guests will talk A LOT and there will be food service and dishes clanking and that is ok with you and ok with the auctioneer; it is normal for this type of event. The sound system needs to be designed with talking audience and noise as a given. You will need technical operator to be in attendance the entire time in both silent and live areas, this is critical. They need to be ready for a sound check 1.5 hours prior to doors opening…that means ready, not just finishing up the wiring etc.

Hand-held Cordless Microphones – You need hand-held cordless microphones-high quality for:

1. Auctioneer

2. General speakers

3. Fund a Need speaker

4. Backup microphone

5. If you have Professional Auctioneer Bid Spotters, each needs a hand-held mic too.

BAND/MUSIC/DJ – If you are using a band, DJ and music to accompany the live auction, do a run through rehearsal with the band leader/DJ with sound and lights at least one hour prior to doors opening. The band will have some sound requirements, so make sure to coordinate these needs and communicate it so that it can be written into the sound and lighting specs.

Pre-Event Sound Check

It’s imperative to also do a complete sound check for all the persons who will be using a microphone. Remember once all the levels are set according to the specific auctioneer’s requirement – please ask the sound technician NOT to change the levels. Each sound system is different and it’s imperative to practice and get the sound correct BEFORE guests arrive – it will really make a difference in your fundraising!

LIGHTING

Indoor Venues

Bring house lights UP and as full as possible for the Heads and Tails, Live Auction and Fund a Need. NEVER any spotlights on auctioneer, period. It is impossible to see the guests and bidding activity. Make sure you have strong lighting at the Silent Auction and Live Auction displays. You can light the stage with down lights or lights from the side. Definitely install a dimmer switch so that lights can be turned full for live auction and adjusted for other phases of the evening.

Outdoor Tents – It’s imperative to have lighting levels that guests can read the silent auction bid forms and descriptions and their auction catalogs. Remember that many guests need reading glasses and can not see well in low light. Place 3-4 flood lights on tent poles directed up to create great ambient light. Make sure you have strong lighting at the Silent Auction and Live Auction displays. You can light the stage with down lights or lights from the side. Definitely install a dimmer switch so that lights can be turned full for live auction and adjusted for other phases of the evening.

Pre-Event Lighting Rehearsal – It’s imperative to also do a lighting rehearsal to practice the lighting transitions – since the lighting levels change during different phases of the event, everyone will be prepared and you will maximize fundraising and guest engagement and enjoyment.

© 2014 Beahm Auction Group. All rights reserved.

Five Tips for Getting Items Year Round

success

When a group doesn’t do a good job of managing procurement, volunteers feel out of control.  To ease the inevitable aggravation, start procuring quality items year round, using these tips.

1. After the charity auction, take time to write a wrap-up letter to donors with an additional thank you and auction results.  It will help plant the seed for next year’s ask.

2. Build your contact list by following your community’s business section for new businesses opening.  Flag those contacts in your database so you can customize a letter to them related to their first year in business.

3. Year round, have regular – if not as frequent – teleconferences with your committee to discuss procurement.  Discussion of past or upcoming school /nonprofit events can be a time to brainstorm on who will be there and what they said.  “Julie is going on vacation to Mexico,” you might learn, “We should ask them if they’ll ask the hotel for a donation.”

4. To keep it fresh, consider focusing on a different theme every month.  Travel now … food next.

5. Subscribe to at least one magazine or blog that targets your audience – or a developing section of your audience -so you can be more educated about their interests.  For example, if you intend to target an audience of 30-something men, make sure to read about electronics and technology.  You’ll key in on several items to add to your ask list that will be attractive to those guests.