Notes to Self on Running Charitable Auction

  • Paypal was a nightmare to set up, allow time and multiple people to work on this.
  • Compressed is best to conserved your own energy and enthusiasm and also of the bidders. This was shorter but in someways still too long.
  • This is in tension with the fact that everyone want to bid immediately when they see stuff and also wants to donate items even when they are learning about auction at the last moment
  • Line up data entry volunteers or paid help, people solely responsible for keeping track of donations and uploading them into website.
  • You never know what will appeal to others. Accept the wacky as long as on theme and trust it will find its fan base.
  • People are motivated by the personal, make it ALL personal
  • Promote matching from the start BUT don’t make matches too big, use twice retail as a good bench mark for a successful possible match target. Suggest big matchers sponsor instead.
  • Recruit sponsors, but set a minimum for sponsorship and make clear to differentiate levels (bronze, silver, gold are boring but the I now see why fundraisers use these!)
  • Research and PAY for a better site. Time = money. A clunky site costs time.
  • People like to the donate items during auction. Let this happen but have data entry support lined up to handle it.
  • Social media alliances are key. Get people to volunteer as designated re-tweeters. Formalizing this will validate it as work.
  • Never under estimate who will complain about what. Keep to a NO DRAMA policy, but pre establish what will be grounds for removing posted items.
  • Mail Merge is your best friend. That and spreadsheets. Make sure donation form has fields that can be directly uploaded to action site.
  • The raffle worked great earning 4/5s as much as auction itself. Some legal issues should be talked through and we also need to cognizant in future of religious prohibitions in some communities.
  • Go Live works but use Youtube not FB. FB requires an account.
  • Don’t forget to set minimum bid increment
  • Don’t set buy it now too low.
  • Closing time matters!
  • If working in a team have a pre scheduled set of check in meetings on the calendar.
  • The pool of bidders and donors has huge overlap. A core group uses the momentum of the event to encourage themselves to engage further and extend giving. Much of it is about community.
  • Too much work and too much risk of becoming ritualized if run annually. Should be random-ish and at least 14 plus months since last similar event.

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