Auction Listings Are Vital to the Success of Fundraising Auctions

Fundraising Auction Tip: You should always provide potential bidders with a printed Auction Listing of both your Live and Silent Auction items at any Fundraising Auction. A printed Auction Listing is vital for several reasons:

An Auction Listing informs bidders of the order of sale, and what is coming up next. If you keep your bidders guessing, they will simply not bid.

If bidders are not 100% certain of what they are bidding on, they will not bid. A printed Auction Listing should answer any and all questions about what is being sold in order to encourage bidders to bid as much as possible.

Bidders often need time to plan their bidding strategies, especially on multiple and/or larger value items. A printed Auction Listing helps them to do that.

Couples often need time to consult with each other about what they are willing to spend on something. A printed Auction Listing helps them to do that.

Potential bidders need to know the specifics, the benefits, and the restrictions on any item they are going to bid on, especially on travel and/or other higher value items. A printed Auction Listing should answer all of their questions, in writing.

After bidders see that they have lost an item to another bidder, a printed Auction Listing makes it easier for them to re-strategize on what else they can bid on.
Printed Auction Listings generally come in 3 forms:

Printed in the Event Program or Auction Catalog.

Printed on loose sheets of paper and hand-inserted into the Event Program or Auction Catalog.

Printed on loose sheets of paper and hand-delivered to all attendees, or left on each dinner table in the room.
Auction Listings cost practically nothing to produce and they can make the difference between the success and failure of a Live and Silent Auction. You should never conduct a Fundraising Auction without one.

A Case Study

Let me share a real-life experience with you. Once I was hired to conduct a Fundraising Auction for a nationally renowned organization. The event was held in a major hotel, in one of the country’s largest cities, with several hundred “black tie” participants attending. It was an extremely professional event, with the music, singing, lighting, speeches, and awards all perfectly timed and choreographed. Everything was done to perfection… exception the Fundraising Auction.

Although I had signed an agreement to serve as their Auctioneer nearly one year in advance of the event, no one bothered to contact me for any advice or help. Approximately one week prior to the Auction date, I contacted the group to see if they had replaced me with another Auctioneer. But they said that I was still their man.

Upon arriving at the event I asked for a copy of the Auction Listing. I was told that there were none. I’m not sure whether they felt that the Auction Listing wasn’t necessary, or whether someone forgot to have them printed. This was never made clear. When I asked what I was to use at the podium, I was told to copy the list of Live Auction items from a committee member’s computer. It took me about 30 minutes to copy three pages of hand-written notes in order to prepare for my role as their Auctioneer.

I knew that they had created a PowerPoint program showing the various Live Auction items. When I asked whether the PowerPoint slide order corresponded to the order of sale I had copied from the committee member’s computer, I was met with a blank stare. The committee member left to check the slide order, and returned to let me know that the slide order did not correspond my notes, and he provided me with the correct slide order… hand-written on a paper napkin. This forced me to re-arrange my three pages of hand-written notes before taking the podium.

There was a Live Auction Table with descriptions of the Live Auction items that were to be sold, but the table was not clearly marked, and it received significantly less attention than the Silent Auction Tables, which were clearly identified. Since the Live Auction Table was located adjacent to the “Raffle Table”, it appeared that most people thought it was part of the raffle and therefore paid very little attention to it.

According to the event program (which did not include an Auction Listing), I knew approximately when I was to begin the Live Auction. At the designated time the Master of Ceremonies announced the start of the Live Auction to the several hundred people in attendance, and introduced me as Auctioneer. As I approached the podium I realized that photographs of award winners were still being taken… directly in front of the podium where I was to stand… which required me to stand aside for several minutes until the photographers were done. Can we say “awkward moment”?

As the photographers cleared, I approached the podium and began my Live Auction introduction. Approximately one minute into my introduction, the “Raffle Committee” approached the podium and stopped my Live Auction Introduction in order to pull the 8 or 9 Raffle Winners. These drawings lasted about 5 minutes. Upon it’s conclusion I was allowed to resume the start of the Live Auction.

When standing at the podium two intense and extremely bright spotlights were pointed directly at the podium. The lights were so bright that I literally could not see the center 1/3 of the room. I could see the tables on the right, and on the left, but was totally blinded when looking straight ahead. It took perhaps five minutes before the spotlights were turned off.

While at the podium and describing Lot #1, I had to ask someone to start the Lot #1 PowerPoint Slide… because apparently no one was assigned that job.

So with only the Auctioneer’s verbal description, and a PowerPoint slide, it appeared that few people in the room had any idea about what we were selling… or when we were selling it… until it was announced by the Auctioneer. As a result, bidding was extremely light and the final results fell several thousands of dollars short of where they should have been
The learning experience is this:

The Live Auction is where you place your better items, and where the real money should be made at any Fundraising Auction. Let bidders know as far in advance as possible what you will be selling, and the order of sale, so they can get excited about the Auction, and plan their bidding strategy accordingly.

Auction Listings are absolutely vital to the success of both Live & Silent Auctions. In my opinion, revenues at this Auction fell thousands of dollars short of where they should have been, because no Auction Listing was provided to the guests.

If bidders are not perfectly clear on what is being sold, including both the item’s specifics, benefits, and restrictions, they will not bid.

When you have a committee of volunteers, especially volunteers having full time jobs and/or very busy schedules, the services of a professional Fundraising Auctioneer can help to keep the committee on track.

And once you retain the services of a professional Fundraising Auctioneer… use the services that you are paying for.

Save Time and Money With Your Marketing Calendar

Why use a marketing calendar?

Most likely you would have heard or read the phrase ‘marketing is everything’ and as a determined business owner you have prepared your marketing plan. Now that you have your marketing plan in hand, how do you make sure it is implemented at the right time and with sufficient attention on your part?

Keep in mind that the most important tool for your success and business development discipline is your own marketing calendar! Using a marketing calendar will crystalize your focus and attention to what needs to be performed and when it needs to be done. Running with your marketing calendar will prevent a common marketing lapse that results in the ‘feast and famine’ syndrome of many a small business.

You have limited resources and your marketing calendar is the tool that will keep you on track and within your budget! It will allow you as the small business owner to organise, categorise and prioritise your marketing efforts to give you that foundation for success!

What do you include in your marketing calendar?

The first thing you must do in preparing your marketing calendar is to select and use a proper calendar application. I highly recommend you use Google Calendar or either Microsoft’s Outlook or Apple’s Calendar applications. It is possible to use an Excel spreadsheet but it will just make life more difficult for you in managing your own calendar.

With your selected calendar you must now input all public holidays including regional and local holidays where you operate as you will have to consider these days in your scheduling. Before you enter any marketing dates make sure you block out the dates that you are planning to take a break for your vacation time. Yes, that too is very important for your own well-being!

Using your established marketing plan and communication mix list down the various marketing campaigns, programs and tasks that you need to schedule on a weekly basis for the next 12 months. Some of these programs will be recurring so space these recurring tasks out over the next 12 months. Enter all your campaigns and programs into your calendar with sufficient time for preparation & testing, implementation and very importantly a review or a post-mortem for each of your marketing campaigns and programs. This is a crucial step as measuring and tracking the response for your campaigns is a key factor in learning from the experience and fine-tuning your next iteration to achieve better marketing results.

Now review your calendar and adjust for seasonal activities that you need to consider in timing with your marketing campaigns. For the consumer space these are prime retail seasons like Christmas, Easter, Valentines and Halloween (like it or not it is growing as prime retail season). Include school holidays as well. Any seasonal conditions that affect your business must be considered. The potential impact is that you either move forward or push back the dates to take advantage or avoid those dates depending on your business environment and target markets.

If you are including print or broadcast advertisements make sure you consider the deadlines for the submission of artwork and materials for these publications or broadcasters.

Make sure to include both traditional and digital marketing programs appropriate to your operations. The following list is not meant to be exhaustive only general examples that might be applicable for your business:

Marketing events like roadshow, seminars and workshops
Direct postal mail, letter box drop distribution
Marketing and sales collateral (i.e. brochures, flyers, video)
Digital push programs like email promotions, eNewsletters and SMS campaigns
New product or service launch
Engagement and updating your web, blog and social media channels
Networking sessions
Search engine marketing (i.e. organic optimisation or paid per click advertising)
Mass media broadcast advertising (i.e. print, radio or television)
Periodic updating your marketing plan
Others that may be applicable to your business and target markets…
The next step is to check if there are any gaps in your calendar. If you have the capacity and resources this should be an opportunity to add an addition marketing campaign to your calendar. If not, it will allow you to rebalance activities so that you are not swamped by multiple marketing campaigns that may be bunched up during a particular period in your calendar.

Following these steps will ensure that you have a well-structured and thought out marketing calendar.

The last step in your marketing calendar is to designate responsibility for the scheduled tasks and activities. The assignment of names per tasks is necessary for accountability and responsibility to complete the task within the timeframes specified. Tasks can be assigned to the business owner, internal staff and external contractors that might be contributing to a specific program or campaign.

How do you manage your marketing calendar?

You do this with discipline and strong time management as your commitment to grow your own business. Plan to have a fixed block of time every week dedicated to your marketing activities. I allocate Monday of every week for my marketing work. You can help your own efforts by using the calendar’s functions to assign tasks with alerts or reminders for these tasks.

What is important is to find the system that is comfortable and works for you and your business. Perhaps you are extremely productive morning person and your marketing would benefit if you time your efforts during the morning part of the day. You have your environment, culture and resources to consider as you find the day and time of the week that works best for your vital marketing work.

Active task management per your marketing calendar will keep you on track and allow you to control unnecessary expenses outside your planned budget.

Your marketing calendar is your foundation for success

Remember marketing is always about business development. Your conscientious efforts in working your marketing calendar for your business is essential to grow your business revenue while at the same time saving you time and money.

Internet Home Based Business – Taking Little Steps Towards Success

Starting an internet home based business would have never been so easy if we think of a situation just a decade back. These days, millions of people use internet on a daily basis for finding solutions to their problems. Some searches are to find solutions for debt problems, some for mortgage problems, and others like employment problems, healthcare issues, travel solutions etc.Nowadays there are lots of business opportunities in the market and you can choose the one that suits you the best. What matters the most is how well you perform and take your business ahead.People tend to get carried away with the tall claims made by the big Guru when it comes to business promotion but it is important to act wisely and follow something which is practical and feasible. Only then you will be able to generate profitability in your business.Success is a Journey, Not a DestinationA wise person had rightly said that success is a journey and you will need to follow it all through your life. You will succeed only if you take little but careful steps. What does it mean by taking small steps in the journey towards success?It means continual learning and applying those lessons in your home based business. That is the fastest way to achieve success. It doesn’t mean that it is an easy process and that you will get the results overnight.Doing Simple ThingsIn order to achieve success in your home based business, it is important to be organized and do things systematically. Even if you are doing 5 posts on different forums daily, it can yield extremely good results if you do it on a regular basis. Spending an hour or two each day reading personal development books can help you to develop enterprenial skills.You may also submit 2 articles each day to directories and promote your business. Your little bit of efforts on regular basis will build a very strong platform for your business. The never stopping attitude and your strong commitment can keep bearing that flag of financial freedom.There is a surplus of useful small steps that can help you take action and it won’t even cost much of your time and money. In fact some of these methods to promote your internet home based business do not even cost money at all.Article writing, sending newsletters, submitting blogs in forums or social media sites etc on a daily basis requires no money but it can attract a lot of visitors to your business website.Once you have established your business, calling up your clients and updating them with more information can help you to build a strong relationship with them. Personally attending to their problems and getting their feedback on a regular basis can help you to understand their expectations from you.Make a list of 5 things you want to do tomorrow. Each day, make a list and work on it. When you organize your work, you will find ample of time to do other things. Identify your niche market and concentrate on building the marketing techniques to become successful in your internet home based business.