Getting Started with Nonprofit Auctions

Ask Me Anything: Nonprofit Auctions

How can you make your nonprofit auction a great experience for your donors?

Nonprofit auctions are a fundraising classic. But what kind of auction should you host–virtual, in-person, or hybrid? How do you ensure your auction prizes will interest people? How can you use your auction to connect people with your cause?

This week on The Responsive Weekly, Scott Roseveare of ZGIVE joined us for an “Ask Me Anything” session on nonprofit auctions.

The Quick Summary

Watch the Full Recording Here

Top Takeaways

  • Choose your auction time carefully. Scott recommends avoiding summer, but finds the fall (September through the first half of November) and spring (March through June) to be good times, along with holiday auctions in the first two weeks of December.
  • Consider a theme for your auction. Mother’s Day, holidays, and awareness months are all strong possibilities.
  •  No time or desire to collect in-kind donations for your virtual auction? Consider using a consignment service to avoid managing inventory, with no payment upfront.
  • Use technology to run and market your auction. Remind bidders to participate during the event via email and text.
  • Wondering how to price an auction item? Scott recommends starting bids at an amount that will be profitable, rather than a reserve. He suggests setting initial bids at about a third to a half of the retail value, with bid increments that are about 10% of the value. If you’re giving a “buy it now” option, set it at double the retail value.
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