We all know that the Fall fundraising season just came to a close and everyone is in holiday mode now. All I can say is DO NOT wait to start planning, procuring and cultivating your donor list until the last 2 months prior to your next benefit auction event! Here are three simple things you can do in the “off-season” to start planning for your next charity auction event:
1. Cultivate your donor list – Start making those important phone calls and contacts to your donors that generously gave at your last event. You don’t have to start asking for more at this point, just thank them for their donation and start to develop a relationship with them. Don’t just call them when your next event is approaching and ask for money or items; this looks like you only care about them when you need something! Really try to get to know them and take some notes as you talk to them to remind you for future calls.
2. Hire your professional fundraising auctioneer and consultant – Good auctioneers book up extremely quickly, many times 8 months to a year in advance! DO NOT WAIT TO BOOK THEM OR YOU MIGHT NOT GET TO WORK WITH YOUR FAVORITE AUCTIONEER! I recommend booking your benefit auctioneer immediately following your last event if you were happy with the service they provided.
3. Start to procure for items – It’s never too early to start procuring items for your next event. In fact, you have a great opportunity to ask for items or help getting items for your next event as you stay in touch with your donors and build those relationships (not necessarily the first phone call thanking them for their participation).
There are obviously many things you should be prepping for in regards to your next fundraising auction event, but these are three simple things that you absolutely should be doing well in advance to ease the panic when your event is right around the corner.
Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services