Tips & Tricks
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How to Plan a Successful Fundraising Event

Learn more about the ideal fundraising planning timeline, getting attendees for your event, procuring items, and setting up bidding for your fundraiser.

Whether you’re planning your first fundraising event, your fifth, or your twentieth, managing all the details can be overwhelming. Thankfully, there’s lots of tools out there to make that process easier! Keep reading to learn 3 easy steps to take the stress out of your event planning!

Step 1: Sort out your timeline and get your checklist together.

An organized auction is a successful auction! Investing extra time in your planning and preparation will help your event go off without a hitch and ensure your participant’s enjoyment. If you have an event like a gala, silent auction, or live auction, follow this auction planning timeline from Auctria. If your auction is online only, check out this online auction planning timeline. We can’t know every detail of what your auction needs but we hope these guidelines will help you start on the right foot towards a successful auction with careful planning and preparation.

Step 2: Find your sponsors and start filling seats.

You can’t run an auction without participants! To attract bidders, you need to make your event irresistible. Choosing a reasonable ticket price, inviting interesting keynote speakers, and advertising your event on social media can all help fill seats at your event; however, one of the most reliable ways to ensure you sell tickets and raise money is by choosing items for participants to bid on that they’ll be interested in! Pick your donor businesses, retailers and service providers carefully - if you have good sponsors, your participants will be much more excited and willing to bid on items during the auction.

If you’re unsure about how to reach out to potential donors, you should check out this procurement letters template! Navigating sending procurement letters and requesting donations can be intimidating, but we want to take the anxiety out of the process for you. If you’re looking for locally-based requests, then you can take a face-to-face approach. Reach out to retailers and vendors that you’ve worked with before - they’ll be more likely to help out since you already have a relationship with them.

If you’re reaching out to corporate sponsors, you’ll need to be more formal. Make sure to give these requests more lead time than you would for local requests. To increase your chances of a successful request, make sure to check out our article above to learn how to write a successful procurement letter!

(P.S. TheShareWay can make this process even easier! They’ll help you find local, regional, and national companies that are ready to donate to your event. Ditch the cold-calling - check out TheShareWay instead!)

Step 3: Get ready for the big event with the right tools.

So you’ve made your plans, your team is organized, you’ve sent your procurement letters and collected the items for bidding - now it’s time for the final touches!

Are you planning a silent auction? Check out these Silent Auction Bid Sheets! We know that bid sheets are the most cumbersome part of running a silent auction - and when bidders can’t place fast bids, you lose out on income.

Another tool you might consider investing in is auction software. Auction software can easily streamline your auction process so that all the little details don’t slip through the cracks. Software can help you manage your auction items, from tickets to raffle prizes, and allows your entire team access to everything they need to run the event. Keep everyone up to date on the latest organizational changes or item updates so that everyone can flex on the fly, keeping the event running smoothly no matter what happens the day of!

If you’re really looking to level up your event, check out Auctria’s proven guidelines for Mobile Bidding! Mobile bidding allows your attendees to bid faster and more frequently so that you can raise more money for your cause. It might not be the right fit for every event, but it can be a very successful approach to streamlining your event! Our guide will help you decide if mobile bidding is the right choice for you and your event.

Finally, consider adding on additional monetizers including merchandise, raffles, and sponsorship sales. Every dollar counts when you’re putting on a successful fundraiser and there’s lots of ways, big and small, to increase your event’s revenue!

Remember, it’s okay to start small! Event fundraisers grow each year; all you have to do is get the ball rolling. Every dollar you raise is another dollar that goes towards the cause you care about. With each event, you’ll continue to streamline your process and raise more money so you can make a bigger difference for the causes you’re passionate about. We hope these tips and resources help you kickstart your journey!

Special thanks to Laurie Hochman from Auctria for the expert advice.

Auctria is a powerful engine to organize and run your event and auction fundraiser. From in person events to online and from the first donation to the final collection, Auctria helps you stay on top of the details so you can focus on maximizing your fundraising. Over 45,000 event fundraisers have used Auctria to raise over $500M.

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