This post is the second in a series of posts based on the “Best Practices for School Auctions” whitepaper from the Greater Giving Fundraising Excellence Series. Each new post covers the unique challenges school auction planners face, and how to overcome those challenges. Read additional articles: School Auctions Series
Do you wish there was a way to streamline all the work that goes into a school auction? One of the most important aspects of any big project is communication.
Make it easy on yourself and create an event page on your website that serves as a central hub for all things related to your school auction. This way everyone knows where to go for information, register for your event and even donate to your cause.
Create one page as the main point of entry. Make sure the web address is simple and easy to remember, such as yourorganization.org/auction. From there, create a set of subsidiary pages to meet the information needs of each of your constituents—guests, donors, sponsors and staff/volunteers. You can ask a volunteer to take on this project: perhaps a parent who works in the information technology industry or a technically gifted student with a parent or teacher to supervise. In either case, find someone with the necessary skills and commitment to create and maintain an engaging web presence.
This public page describes your event and displays the top-level information:
- Auction information—Specify the date, time and location of your school auction.
- Highlights—Describe your theme, auctioneer, large-ticket items, whatever will entice more people to participate in your event.
- Messaging —Keep your audience interested by sharing news and tidbits. Include a link to a downloadable version (PDF) of the newsletter you send home with the students.
- Sponsor logos—Charge a premium for logo placement, as you would for a website ad.
- Links—Include links to sub-level pages for more specific information. Also include a link to the internal pages (see below) for staff and volunteers.
These pages are also public and contain additional information and ways to interact with your organization.
- Guest registration—Help your guests save time and register for the event online.
- Procurement—Provide an online form so people can donate items to your auction.
- Donations—Provide an easy way for your supporters to donate directly to your cause.
- Fund-a-Cause—Provide information about your special project and the impact you can have if you meet your Fund-a-Cause goal.
- Pre-sale catalog—Attract more people to your auction by giving them a preview of what they can win.
- Online auction—Invite everyone to join in the fun, even those who can’t attend your event.
After the event is over, change up your main event page to help generate enthusiasm for next year.
- Thank you—Create a colorful banner to thank everyone who made your event a success.
- Next year’s event—Announce the date and venue of next year’s event while people are still buzzing from this year’s success.
- Photos—Share photos from the event, including winning bidders, raffle winners and pledge sponsors.
Internal (Private) Pages
Just as it’s important to communicate with the public, it’s also vital to communicate with your team and all the people working to make your auction a success. Create a set of internal or private pages (requiring a password) for volunteers, parents, teachers and administrators.
- Committee assignments and roles—Make sure everyone knows who is doing what and how to contact them.
- Procurement tools—Put all the materials your procurement team needs at their fingertips:
- Procurement request letter
- Procurement form
- Donor request letter
- Sponsorship letter
- Sponsorship agreement
- Thank you letters
What’s Your Experience?
What do you include in your auction web pages? Have you found an approach that’s worked well for you? Are there particular layouts or arrangements that work better than others? Please share your insights in the comments below. We’d love to hear what you’re learning.