it's officially Auction Season! Last
week I had the honor of raising over
$100,000 for Plimoth Plantation - the
premier living history museum of 17th
Century American life of both Colonial
and Wampanoag Indians and home of the
might not know that Plimoth Plantation
is also a leader in raising awareness
of historic animal preservation. Don't
worry, the goat was not up for auction.
Poppers the Arapawa goat, Jonny Larason
and Shelley Otis (4-legged and 2-legged
interpreters) helped me raise those vital
funds for the rare breed animals who
live in the 1627 colonial village.
a superb way to showcase their mission
right at the auction!
you looking for new ideas to brand your
mission and raise more "doe?" I'll
show you how at my upcoming seminars
in Brookline on October
7th and/or 8th.
is limited, so register
to increase auction excitement and profit!
of you have asked me how to navigate
your auction in this economy. Read my
next article and you'll discover how
to chart your course.
Compass Points for Auction Success in any
can't direct the wind, but we can
adjust the sails." This
mariner's maxim reminds us to continually
adapt in the face of unpredictable conditions.
this challenging economy, NOW more
than ever, it's vital to utilize proven
best practices, new technology and fresh
ideas to maximize fundraising auction
the good news! Non-profit organizations
are achieving auction
success today by charting
their course on things that they CAN control to
reverse the trends that many benefit auctions
are experiencing due to this tough economy.
These predictable yet controllable factors
include: lower attendance; auction items
not achieving full or over value; use of
volunteer auctioneers; cautious spending
by guests; inadequate planning, lower sponsor
participation, reticent bidding and sluggish
events that do not maximize each and every
it done? Luckily, most fundraising auctions
have many, many areas that are not yet
optimized for maximum results. In
other words, by working smarter, you
can keep your auction proceeds strong.
Learn how to navigate economic challenges
and to raise more auction profit, please
join me at my fall auction seminars! October
7 & 8
in Brookline, Massachusetts.
Set your course now in each of these
four critical directions for success.
on your Mission
The most important aspect of a
fundraising auction is to make sure that
of your guests understand exactly where the money is
going and how much
their efforts in bidding will go to support
your wonderful cause. "People do not give to needy organizations,
they give to lofty causes that can make a difference," said
Sharon Danosky, Fundraising Consultant, Danosky & Associates.
First and foremost: Brand
your mission. With a captive
audience for the entire evening ensure
that everyone understands exactly how
you benefit your clients and your community.
Here is the key. Be explicit about
your cause in every auction
communication and promotion: mailings,
newsletters, save the date card, invitation,
communication, catalog and even auction
forms. On auction night, place banners
and photos that showcase your programs
and services all around the auction venue
and stage. Place informative table tents
on the dinner tables and in between each
silent auction item. Showcase HOW you
are making a difference and HOW your
supporters are part of the solution.
Deepen Relationships - Cultivate!
In addition to raising money,
Benefit Auctions provide an extraordinary
platform for Friend Raising too!
Remember, people give to people for
causes they care about.
So make it easy for your supporters to
bid higher! Your non profit auction provides
a momentous opportunity to deepen
relationships with guests, sponsors,
members, board of directors, trustees,
prospective donors and yes, volunteers
too! Here are a few cultivation ideas
for your next auction. Several weeks prior
to your auction, hold a pre-auction reception
where you and your board can personally
meet major donors, sponsors
and prospective VIP guests and highlight
your cause and preview key auction items. During
silent auction, ask your board and auction
committee members to personally greet five
guests they do not know and welcome them
to your auction. Empower your supporters with
a personal connection; reach out to make
sure they understand how their contribution
will benefit your clients and your community.
Approach your benefit auction as a cultivation
event and you will ensure that your
auction will be a catalyst for future giving,
such as annual appeal, major gifts and
planned giving and capital campaigns. By
deepening relationships with auction supporters,
you invite investment and involvement
far beyond auction night.
I'll personally coach you on how
to embed cultivation techniques into
your auction and how to Master the Ask" and
much more at my interactive Seminars on October 7 and/or 8 in Brookline, Massachusetts.
And do not stop asking; be unabashedly
explicit about raising money and where
you need the funds! In many cases the economy
has had incredibly challenging effects
on your clients. NOW is
the time to communicate how much your donor's
investment will positively impact your
It's because of this tough economy
that it's crucial to tell donors
that you need their support now
more than ever. Be specific
and explain how your organization is
making a difference and how the donor
is part of the solution. Make sure
every single donor in your database knows
what you are doing and why their involvement
is so critical to your continued
success. As a very wise person once said:
If you don't ask, the answer is always
4. Embrace Best Practices
This is no time for your
auction to be an amateur event. By bringing
benefit auction practices such as: focusing
on audience development to increase the
level of guests who have
the means and
influence to bid higher to support
your cause; soliciting premium items that
your guests really want; designing
your auction with momentum and exciting
timing; and using the latest in
on-line auctions and benefit auction technology you
stack the deck in your favor. Now, more
than ever, a professional auctioneer who
specializes in benefit auctions will maximize
your fundraising efforts and create an
entertaining, successful evening that takes
the risk out of fundraising.
A presidential campaign not too many years
ago used the phrase "It's the
economy, stupid," to keep their staff
focused on one issue that really
mattered to voters. However for benefit
auctions, it's all about
YOUR GREAT CAUSE!
chart your course and deeply explore
each of these four strategic directions.
By branding your mission, deepening personal
connections with your auction guests, explicitly
asking for investment in your cause, and
using auction best practices, you can have
a record breaking fundraising auction in
proof is in the results. After working
with Kathy, two of our groups NEARLY TRIPLED
their fundraising revenue!"
Wilson, Executive Director
Arts & Business
Council of Greater Boston
Click here for more testimonials
Insights and Sometimes Rants
Trip Over Pennies to Pick Up Thousand
one knows better than you than non-profit
does not mean NO profit. In benefit auctions,
it's necessary to spend money to make
money. So, run your auction like a small
business, and invest in your success!
it out on paper first. Write out an event
budget where you forecast detailed revenue
and expense items meticulously.
the right price for admission. You know,
auction pricing is a big decision. Make
sure to cover all expenses in your ticket
price before you have any sponsors or
in-kind donations! Determine your true
cost-per-person and don't charge less.
Tickets are a profit center, so add additional
revenue into the cost of each auction
reservation! This way all of your bills
are covered before you open the doors.
Don't rob profit from ticket revenue
to cover expenses. Increase profit beyond
tickets/reservation revenue with sponsors,
underwriters, program book ad sales,
PLUS OF COURSE Silent & Live Auction,
do I do with all the auction items
once they are sold?
- Dyanna Smith, Development Coordinator,
New Hampshire Lakes Association
question, Dyanna! Here's how to design
a smooth auction item pick up. Select
from two methods: leave items on ORIGINAL
TABLES or move items to a
PICK UP AREA. The easier
method is to leave the silent items on
the original tables. Be
sure to leave a COPY OF THE BID
SHEET with winning bid number
next to item so people know who won.
Post SECURITY volunteers
to verify paid receipt prior to item
removal. For the PICK UP
CORRAL: designate a separate
large area for sold items. Pack
up items and mark winning bid number
on the outside of the box or bag. Bring
to your pick up area. Re-organize sold
items in “winning bid number order.” Bidders
must pay, THEN claim
items in pick up corral.
want to answer YOUR question! Send me
an email (with subject line QUESTION
to firstname.lastname@example.org) and ask
your burning question now!
helps nonprofits survive during tough times
By Jeremiah Turner, Business Editor Foster's
Daily Democrat (Maine)
is no psychic, but after 22 years as
a professional auctioneer she knows a
thing or two about people, their money
and the psychology of prompting them
to open their wallets at auction. Luckily
for society, she has used her skills
to help nonprofits prompt the most money
out of followers. This giving has helped
fund causes as diverse as an orphanage
in Ethiopia, to Laconia's Main Street."
Read full article here
We are award-winning auctioneers, providing cutting-edge consulting and innovative training for both non-profits and auctioneers. A national leader in fundraising auctions, Kingston Auction Company has raised millions of dollars for non-profit organizations throughout New England and across the country for over 22 years. The company founder and president is Kathy Kingston, CAI, BAS. Come to us to make your next benefit fundraising auction a record-breaker.
Our affiliations include...
National Auctioneers Association promotes professionalism of auctioneers and auctions through education and technology.
Certified Auctioneers Institute is the most prestigious designation awarded in the industry - only three percent of auctioneers nationwide hold the CAI designation.
Benefit Auctioneer Specialist designation provides auctioneers with unique skills and strategies to conduct, plan and market fundraising auctions.