I cherished my Iditarod volunteer experiences when I lived in Alaska and still follow this extraordinary 1,049 mile dog sled race each March.
Picture this. I actually shoveled snow back onto the street so the next dog sled team had a white surface for the ceremonial start on Anchorage's Fourth Avenue. We scooped with pride for 8 straight hours in 8 degree weather within reach of each team. I love the spirit of the Last Great Race; it’s history and the awesome care of these athlete dogs.
Would you like your volunteers to gush about you? Please read my article for ideas to enhance your auction volunteers’ experience.
P.S. Watch for our next Tele-seminar coming soon.
Enhance Your Auction Volunteers Experience
Inspired Volunteers Set the
Raise More Money
What makes a superb volunteer experience?
For me volunteering at the Iditarod was one of my favorite and fun volunteer jobs ever. Why? What was important to me? Making solid friends, good food, up-close access to famous mushers and their stunning dogs, being part of one of the most unique events in the world. I did not care about the weather. What made it special from an event standpoint? The volunteer training was superb, extremely well organized, a volunteer captain called me and kept in touch all year long, I had the opportunity to purchase an exclusive commemorative volunteer t-shirt (a very big deal) and the staff and board continually thanked me personally. And, I was invited back each year.
And what about you? Volunteers are THE heart of a benefit auction. Do you know why each person is committed to you as a volunteer? Would you consider calling each of them and asking their input on the auction and their experience? Are they connected and appreciated? Do you keep in touch with them year round? Do you place them in a job that is meaningful to them?
Are you connecting them to other events and programs at your non profit?
Teamwork is essential for successful fundraising auctions.
Recruit active able leaders as auction committee co-chairs
Great auction co-chairs are a must! Select them for their leadership qualities and their circle of influence. Consider recruiting co-chairs who represent different spheres of influence and industries. This broadens the composition of committees, diversifies and grows donor and guest lists. Great co-chairs set a positive tone, delegate well and keep everything on track.
Recruit a large team of committed volunteers
Auctions are one of the most volunteer-intensive fundraisers. You’ll need 20 to 50 volunteers, depending on the size of the event: six to 12 key decision-makers in the auction steering committee; three or more in each sub-committee, and dozens of day-of-auction volunteers.
Write clearly-defined committee and volunteer tasks
Volunteers are the heart, soul and backbone of benefit auctions. They need written job descriptions of all tasks. Identify exactly what each job requires and how much time is needed. Be specific so that your volunteers can select the best task for themselves.
A high-functioning, enthusiastic team is vital for auction success.
Plan the meeting schedule for the entire year at the first meeting
Insist that everyone place the entire year’s meeting schedule on their calendar at the first meeting. The secret to success is to involve as many committed volunteers, board members and staff ASAP and give them clear, written communications.
Make it easy for volunteers to know what is expected of them
Develop a Volunteer Auction Packet (VAP) with all the auction information. Include: auction event fact sheet; master-planning checklist with key action dates; goals, budget, volunteer job descriptions, brochures, lots of item solicitation forms, letters from your president, timelines, and all related material. Distribute and follow up often with new information or changes.
Give lots of recognition, thanks, and food!
Keep up the enthusiasm throughout the many months of auction planning. Support each volunteer: write thank you notes; call each personally to tell them how much you appreciate their efforts; provide refreshments at all meetings and auction night. Solicit sponsors to cover volunteer meals. Make sure they are well fed with nutritious food since most will be working through at one to two meals on auction day! List each volunteer in the catalog. Hold special prize drawings and have fun.
Please contact me personally to set up a phone consultation to optimize your auction profit 603-926-1919 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Bring my energy & extensive experience to inspire your board, volunteers, staff, auction committee and your auction guests.
"Kathy transforms wishful thinking into success, is exceedingly generous with her time and connections in the process, and in the end the donors, volunteers and staff are proud of what they achieved to advance their mission. Kathy's integrity, professionalism, and energy make her exceptional and indispensable."
-James M. Schaffer, Chief Development Officer
Click here for more testimonials
Insights and Sometimes Rants
Light it Right
Great lighting is critical to fundraising auction success.
Illuminate your silent and live auction items brightly. Sometimes that means bringing in extra lighting for these areas. Ensure that your guests can read the silent auction items and bid forms. Many of your guests wear reading glasses and need that extra illumination.
Light the real stars of the auction - your treasured auction guests. Turn up the house lights full during the live auction! Dim dinner-style lighting can lose thousands of dollars and put supporters to sleep. During the live auction bidders need to read your auction catalog too. Never spotlight your auctioneer; it is impossible to see those waving bid cards.
Remember to instruct your event planner, lighting tech and auction venue manager about these special benefit auction lighting tips so they can be part of your successful fundraising team.
WATCH Kathy Kingston In A NH Chronicle TV Interview
Kathy is featured in a NH Chronicle TV interview! Click this link to watch her interview online.
Kathy Kingston In the Cover Story of Auctioneer Magazine
Kathy is featured in the November Cover Story of Auctioneer Magazine, called "The Boom in Benefit Auctions" (see page 34 for her picture)! Click this link to download and read the entire article (pdf)!
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.