Want to start a friendly bidding war among your guests?

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Signed music or sports memorabilia, including autographed footballs, baseball shirts or other equipment from your region’s favorite team, is guaranteed to attract top bidders, raising 370%-630% of their FMV. Also popular are tickets to local sporting events. You’ll always find a couple of fans willing to bid high to support their team, particularly star players.

Fine dining restaurants, such as steak houses or celebrity establishments appeared numerous times making 330%-460% of their FMV. Happily, restaurant certificates are generally easy to come by, as restaurant owners enjoy the promotion they receive by being included in a charity auction.

Following the dining theme above, luxury kitchenware like a high-end knife collection or the latest coffee maker, inspire those looking to find a practical deal for their home.

Fashion is always a good category to include in any auction. High-end items from designer favorites like Tory Burch, Diane von Furstenburg, Michael Kors or Ralph Lauren, do very well, especially during our Fall events as we move into the holiday season. Handbags, shopping certificates and accessories are among the most highly sought fashion items.

Travel; whether a pair of airline tickets or a weekend stay at a Disney resort always generates excitement, with our top item this year, a weekend in New York City selling for 460% of the item’s FMV. Guests are just as happy to bid on a domestic trip over an international one, as there is less paperwork and organization involved, so concentrate your volunteer’s search efforts at home.

Unique experience packages. VIP seating box access at a concert, an opportunity to drive your dream car, or a private tour of the Coca Cola factory, are some examples of experiences we’ve seen do really well this year. For something truly special reach out to well-connected board members or spend time brainstorming with your volunteer committee to see what unique relationships they may have. Be sure to promote these big impact items before the event (our online pre-bidding package makes this easy) and encourage your auction volunteers to point them out to guests.

General rule; anything that is unique, one of a kind, or limited will do very well at your event. Initially, a donation from a high-end fashion house or a weekend stay at a luxury hotel may seem impossible to achieve, but check back with our blog soon for advice on the best way to achieve these items for your next auction.

 

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Life begins at the end of your comfort zone

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Your event is just around the corner, you are at a standstill. You still need Sponsors, Volunteers and to hire that DJ. Stop. Take a breathe. This uncomfortable feeling you have, the uneasiness and restlessness, its part of the job. That is why YOU were chosen out of all the other applicants to do it. The rush of 6 months prior to your event can be overwhelming, exhausting and every day seems to go by faster than the day before. Here are some tips to  keep things in order, stay healthy and accomplish your goals.

START SMALL

Instead of having one main goal – a successful event. Create small goals for yourself including daily goals. For example:

TODAY:

– check emails

– follow up with 10 potential sponsors

– reserve chairs

EAT WELL

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Stress can cause sickness and exhaustion. Keep your body healthy by making time for yourself. You may feel like you do not have time, but you do. Taking 30 minutes – 1 hour a day  for a walk, workout, yoga or reading a book will reenergize your body and create productivity. Besides, wouldn’t you rather take 30 minutes each day and be well or a week off work because you are sick, which will set you back and be more stressful?

SLEEP

You may find it hard to sleep at night with all the worries in your head. However, maintaining a normal sleep pattern 6 – 8 hours a night will absolutely keep your blood pressure down, help you to focus and maintain and proper work day. Don’t worry too much at night, there is always tomorrow! Just leave it at work and enjoy your pillow. Some tips to help you sleep – nighty night tea; lavender pillow spray or a warm bath. Enjoy!

Copyright 2014 Beahm Auction Group

 

 

 

How Often Should You Thank Recurring Donors?

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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. 

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.