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An Auction Plan For Great Fundraising - at a short amount of time

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Social Issues
Raising a large amount of money in a relatively short amount of time can be easily accomplished with an auction. With a good plan, plenty of reliable volunteers and a great chairperson, your fundraising goals quickly become a reality. And by the way, a great cause doesn't hurt either!

First, you should decide exactly how much you intend to raise. This will help you determine where and how to hold your auction. If you're in the 20,000 range, you probably will want to go with a full dinner party type auction. If this is your first time attempting an auction, you will be better served concentrating your efforts on the actual auction without having to plan a dinner party too! Once you're successful with that, move on to a bigger and better auction.

Once you decide what type of auction to hold, you need to determine where you'll have your auction. Should you rent the big ballroom at the local hotel or will the school or church activity room do? If you plan on having a fancy event, make sure to shop around for the best deal - many hotels will give you a better price if you're raising money for a charity.

Along with your setting, you might want to pick a theme for the event. This isn't necessary, but can make it more fun and help you bring in more money - which is the main reason to have a fundraiser! You might want to consider having some sort of entertainment either before or after your actual auction too to add value if you plan on charging admission to help your bottom line (which you should do).

Hiring a professional auctioneer is a must. This one piece of advice will make reading this article worth your time! It may seem like a good idea to save the 100-200 you'll spend on a professional, but generally, they're worth every penny! The best way to find an auctioneer is to get a recommendation from someone who's seen them work a room. That's what will make the difference in your bottom line - if they can get the crowd excited and motivated to bid.

Another decision you'll need to make is whether you'll do a live or silent auction or both. It really depends upon the type of people you'll have at your event and the kinds of items you'll be auctioning off as to which is better for your situation. Sometimes it's hard to tell which will bring in more money - you'll need to make an educated guess based upon your experience and knowledge of the type of people who'll be at your event.

The volunteers you have soliciting items to auction off are very important too. Some people are extremely hesitant to ask for donations. It's best to find something else for them to do - don't worry, you'll have plenty of other things for them to help with! You'll find that even with only a couple of really well connected sales types you'll end up with more valuable items to auction than with a dozen volunteers who only bring in a couple of items. Your best bet is to find out if any of your volunteers have any sales experience - or you might want to consider recruiting anyone you know who is great at sales.

A couple of other musts: you must set a minimum value on the items your volunteers collect. If the stuff is only worth a buck or two, it won't be very profitable for your auction. The best items will be of high value (obviously). Most businesses will be able to donate items worth much more than their cost like jewelers and travel agents.