Three Commandments of Soliciting Auction Items
There are some general rules to help in your soliciting auction items process:
Less is more. Your committee only has so much bandwidth to solicit, procure, and organize donations. Start saving time during procurement, and end up with shorter checkout lines at your event, by pursuing fewer, higher-quality items.
Focus on unique items that can’t be purchased elsewhere. With fewer items, we want more bang for the buck. Seek out items like:
- One-of-a-kind items like art made by students, or a dinner prepared by a famous chef.
- Exclusive experiences that can’t be purchased elsewhere—a concert that’s sold out, or one game on a sponsor’s box seat season ticket. These kinds of items are great fodder for auctioneers to get excited about, too.
- Event-specific experiences that guests can participate in, such as a dessert dash, a balloon pop, or even a goat auction (pg. 6).
Know your audience. How much money do they have to spend? What specific interests can you cultivate? Use this knowledge of your crowd to solicit items that have an emotional hook, like sponsoring a rescue dog for an animal shelter. These types of items are ideal because they cost little to nothing to offer, but can perform very well with specific audiences.
Now that you’ve thought about what to solicit, how many items is the “right” number to include in your auction? Ask yourself these questions as you start procurement, and the answer is just a matter of arithmetic.