6 Sustainable Ways to Bring More Money into Your Auctions

November 15, 2023

Sustainable fundraising is all about developing key, core practices within your organization that can be applied to several different events and initiatives so your team isn’t constantly feeling burned out and at capacity. 

For many nonprofits, auctions can often feel taxing—without the right tools or practices in place, they can become burdensome—making it anything but sustainable for both your team and organization. 

In this blog, we’ll cover some of the best ways to bring in more donations to your auctions—practices that you can use over and over again, without having to reinvent the wheel.

  1. Secure sponsorships

Most nonprofit professionals know that finding sponsors is a foolproof way to bring in solid contributions, offsetting the cost of running events. But there are some lesser-known benefits that can help your nonprofit skyrocket into success:

  • In-kind donations: Ask sponsors for in-kind donations in your procurement letter, such as catering, venue space, or promotional materials, reducing your event costs and increasing the overall funds raised.
  • Increased visibility: Ask sponsors to promote your event on social media or via email so you can attract a broader audience, increasing ticket sales and participation. 
  • Networking opportunities: Sponsors often have their own networks—ask them to invite their clients or partners to attend the event, expanding your potential donor base.

1. Sell tickets and tables

While selling tickets might seem like an obvious way to bring more money in the door, there are a few creative ways that nonprofits cna make the most out of the practice:

  • Bundles or packages: Offer different ticket tiers or packages to cater to a broader range of budgets.
  • Table sales: Offer tables or group packages to encourage larger groups to attend. These tables are often sold at a premium, contributing to increased revenue.
  • Early bird pricing: Implement early bird pricing or discounts to incentivize attendees to purchase tickets well in advance, providing an upfront financial boost.

2. Hold raffles

Raffles are a great way to bring in a little excitement—and a whole lot more money— into your organization:

  • Attracting non-bidders: Raffles can engage event attendees who may not participate in the main auction, broadening your fundraising reach.
  • Lower barrier to entry: Raffles typically have lower ticket prices compared to bidding on auction items. This lower cost makes participation more accessible to a broader range of attendees, increasing the number of participants.
  • Boosting average spend: Attendees who might not be willing to bid aggressively on higher-priced auction items are more likely to buy multiple raffle tickets. This can lead to a higher average spend per attendee, which directly impacts your fundraising total.

3. Diversify your auction items

Diversifying your auction items can make your event more attractive and profitable. A diverse set of auction items can:

  • Attract a wider audience: A variety of items in different categories (e.g., art, travel, experiences) appeals to a broader audience, increasing the likelihood of competitive bidding.
  • Encourage higher bids: Unique and sought-after items can spark bidding wars, resulting in higher final sale prices.
  • Cater to different budgets: Not all attendees may have the financial means to bid on high-end items. Diverse items can include a range of price points, making it accessible for more people to participate and place bids. 

Learn how Church of the Rock raised millions by auctioning off pies →

4. Invest in pre-auction promotion

By leveraging social media, email marketing, and even collaborating with influencers to promote an event, nonprofits can potentially bring in much more money to their auction by:

  • Maximizing attendee participation: The more people you can attract to the auction, the greater the potential for competitive bidding and higher revenue.
  • Securing early commitments: Promoting your auction in advance enables you to secure early commitments, which creates a solid foundation for your revenue goals.
  • Encouraging bidders to plan and budget: When attendees have a clear understanding of the auction items and event details ahead of time, they are more likely to allocate funds specifically for bidding, leading to higher spending.
  • Building event credibility: Attendees and potential bidders are more likely to trust and engage with an event that is well-publicized, resulting in higher attendance and more competitive bidding.
  • Setting fundraising expectations: When attendees understand the financial goals and the potential impact of their contributions, they are more likely to participate actively and contribute generously.

5. Choose the right auction platform

Without the right software or tools, your nonprofit could be missing out on some major revenue opportunities. With a platform like Auctria, nonprofits, their staff, and volunteers can save time by taking advantage of:

  • Online auctions: By holding a virtual auction, nonprofits can expand their reach and take advantage of auction boosters like Max (proxy) Bid and Bid Extension.
  • Mobile bidding: The easier it is to bid on items, the better. With platforms like Auctria, nonprofits can use mobile bidding so supporters can participate right from their phones.
  • Blank and custom bid sheets: By taking advantage of software that offers blank and custom bid sheets, nonprofits can ensure that their supporters can bid quickly, without feeling confused.

Maximize event and auction income with Auctria 

Whatever kind of event you’re planning—silent auction, live auction, or online auction—Auctria has the tools you need to pull off a successful, revenue-driving event.

From mobile budding tools to custom bid sheets, Auctria platform is designed to help your nonprofit maximize your event and auction income, so you spend more time on what matters most. 

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