The Social Observer

The Social Media Marketing Blog by SNHU Students

Charity Auction – 5 Steps to Plan

So you want to have a Charity  Auction to raise money, improve visibility, engage donors or just say thanks.  It is important to first understand your goals in this venture, which can be multiple:

  • Possible Goals:
    • Expand supporters
    • Raise cash-How much?
    • Increase cause awareness
    • Learn more about supporters and followers
    • Have fun and say thanks

Once goals are set it will be time to consider develping teams:

  • Put Teams into Action
    • Donations – what kind, who to ask
    • Sponsorships – Event Gold, Silver, Table…
    • Invitations – who will come
    • Event –  live or online, maybe both
    • Event Advertising – social networks, posters, local news
    • Ticket Sales – Table, Individuals
    • Event Setup – This is your Event Advertise your Cause!
    • Event Staff (Registration, Sellers, Bid Runners, Check-out)

Many will jump right into Action mode with teams flying about and little consideration for planning a unified campaign or using the social networks that the organization and its energetic volunteers have. So let’s step back, take a breath, and consider the goals first – why are we having an auction and how can we get the most out of this event?  Once goals are in place you can work on the how and development of teams to execute the plan.

Step 1: Set Goals & Objective for the Event

The goals will set the direction and make it clearer where focus is necessary. Try to think about both short and longer term goals, such as expanding the donor base and improving donor engagement.

Step 2: Set up a Rough Budget

Income can come from sources such as tickets, items (a silent auction, on online auction, a live auction), Sponsors, a raffle, a direct asks for donations or selling cause related items.  Consider what types of income streams you want and how the event will be organized, trying not to confuse donors. Do not forget expenses such as online commissions, hall rental, food, setup and if the auction is large enough a professional auctioneer will increase sales and donations.

Step 3: Advertising & Social Media Campaign

Every charity has some connections and an auction can be a great way to expand your followers. Start with what you have, addresses, emails, social media connections and feet on the street, to layout a campaign. Remember you do have connections, which gives you advertising clout to offer businesses in exchange for a donation. Select some team members who are social influencers and are comfortable enough with your cause to share it with their friends and followers. The campaign should have phases and a detailed calendar of events for email, Facebook, Twitter and other social channels your team has developed. The phases of a campaign should include:

  • Event & Cause Awareness – Save the Date
  • Donation& Sponsor Solicitation
  • Ticket Sales & Donation (for those who cannot come)
  • Thanks – Share Result & Impact for Cause

For more ideas on campaigns smartinsights has more tips and we will explore campaign development in more detail in another post.

Step 4: Teams – Divide and Conquer!

Set Up Teams, there is a lot to do; this is not a one man operation! An auction coordinator will need to track progress and manage the overall event, acting as host at the event.

Step 5: Execute – Keep it Fun!

A Charity Auction should be a fun and social event, even online. Be open about your cause, share stories about impact, and be open about how money raised will be used.  Remember to say thanks and share just how funds have impacted – this sharing can last months after the event. Sharing after the event will help to build engagement with your cause making it easier for next year!

A Charity Auction is a great way to raise funds but making your auction an annual event can build your donor foundation and provide an excellent opportunity to grow sponsorships annually. Remember to share all the great things you do with those funds to keep your supporters engaged year round in you great cause!

Category: Social Media Marketing 101