This procurement party post was taken from a discussion I recently had with our great partner Ian Lauth with Winspire News while we were planning for our upcoming free webinar.
What is a Procurement Party?
When you boil it down, a procurement party is just a fun way to brainstorm auction item ideas for your fundraising gala. It’s an opportunity for everyone in your committee to get together and kick things off on a fun note.
Make it a party – Provide fun finger foods or a group meal for everyone to enjoy. Depending on the style of the committee you have, providing beer or wine can be another way for everyone to enjoy and collaborate.
Have fun – Create an exciting way to share ideas like using post it notes for package ideas, or projecting images of items that would be included in the package.
Make it festive – Choose a location that is accessible to invitees, but also comfortable and casual. Your board room or conference space might not be ideal. See if a committee member will host at their house, business, or a local restaurant.
Planning Auction Packages—Know Your Guests
Start the session by discussing your usual auction guests. Here are some questions your committee will want to discuss:
- What is the overall demographic of the audience?
- What is the age range and generally how much can they afford?
- What are your guests’ interests?
A discussion of these questions can help you identify trends in groups and perhaps a group of individuals attending your auction that haven’t had packages that appeal to them directly.
Review auction packages you sold the previous year, discuss what sold well and what price point packages sold for. Another valuable number to review from your previous year’s auction sales is the percent of value the package sold for. That means the amount (in percent) over fair market value the package sold for. Identify trends in your auction like categories of packages that did very well and had a lot of bid activity. These categories can include restaurants, the arts, auction travel packages, unique experiences, and specialty wine.
Another way to discover what your donors really want to see in the auction is to send them a short survey. There are plenty of great online survey tools (our personal favorite is Survey Monkey) available you can use to directly email your donors to learn their desires in auction packages. Your donors will appreciate providing feedback and will be more likely to bid higher because they invested time to come up with packages.
It’s most likely that the members of your committee attend multiple auctions during the year and have tons of experience in hot items for your group to target. Give everyone about 15 minutes to brainstorm auction item ideas, no matter how outrageous they might seem. This procurement party is their chance to dream big. One great way to get the ball rolling for this brainstorm time is to suggest each member writes down their personal bucket list of experiences/travel destinations.
Once each person has their list, compile them and sort them into categories like:
- Local experiences
- Domestic travel
- International travel
- Sports & Event Tickets
As each committee member is sharing, write them down on a large whiteboard, poster board, or on individual sticky-note (which are easy to move from one category to another). Make sure this process is collaborative and positive. There are no bad ideas- no matter how outlandish they might seem!
Once you’ve come up with all these great package ideas, your committee needs to brainstorm the connections they have to make these packages reality. Have everyone list out everyone they know-family, friends, coworkers, neighbors, people from local businesses they frequent. Then begin to match up individual connections to auction package items. This process is bound to take some time, and you might not immediately have an answer for every item. Continue to pursue items and while making asks for item donations, those donors might have connections they are willing to also share with you.
Identify who in the group will be soliciting for which auction packages- this helps set up your volunteers for success in the community. The last thing you want is to accidentally have two different people soliciting the same high-level donor for the same item.
When the procurement party is wrapping up, be sure to arm your volunteers with detailed procurement forms to track donations. One great tip is to have carbon copy forms so both your organization and the item donor have all the agreed upon details of their donation, and one copy can be used as a tax receipt for donation.
Tune in for More Information
Interested in finding out more about procuring buzzworthy auction packages for your next auction? Join us on Thursday February 11th at 11:00 AM PST, for a free webinar all about building great auction packages into your next fundraiser. For more information, click here.
Want to learn more about procuring unique, no-risk travel packages for your next auction? Visit http://greatergiving.experiencecharity.com/ to see what kinds of great packages you could add!