A Guide to Preparing for Auction and Event Fundraisers

Published on 16 Nov 2022 by Auctria

Fundraisers are an effective way to generate positive social impact. They allow organizations to raise awareness for their cause and donate resources to beneficiaries. Fundraisers also have a positive outlook, as the Giving USA Foundation states that in 2021, Americans continued to give more generously to charity events, with this trend likely to carry over in the final half of 2022.

These positive benefits, however, do not erase the fact that those behind the scenes are likely to suffer a great deal of stress. In addition to all the meticulous planning and limitation in resources, social workers can also be weighed down by the pressure and significance of the causes they’re working towards. To maximize preparation and stay on top, here are some things to remember when preparing for auctions and event fundraisers.

Mentally preparing for the stresses of fundraising

Fundraisers can bring about many work-related pressures for those working behind the scenes. Those who have social work experience on community projects will understand the commonly encountered difficulties, such as limited financial and human resources, long working hours, and even operating in sensitive locations. This is why those creating the event need to prioritize self-care and mental preparation before and during the preparation period. This involves staying focused on your goals and beliefs, being proactive about rest, nurturing healthy relationships beyond work, and setting proper boundaries for your job. This lets you sustain better mental health and work quality.

Conceptualization and goal-setting

Your goals will shape your plans. Before anything, you’ll need to ask questions like, how will this help your beneficiaries? Is this event in line with your vision and mission? Will this event positively contribute to your cause?

Reflecting on these can help you decide on quantifiable targets like what your monetary goals are, how many guests you want to come, the number of donors, and the total donation size you want to achieve. You can also look into more modern success metrics like social media engagement, which can significantly raise awareness for your advocacies.

Deciding on the type of event

Whether you’ll decide on an auction, or any other event type, for your fundraiser is dependent on your goals. Some questions you can consider are who your target demographic is, and how your donors prefer to be involved. Auction and event fundraisers come in many sizes and shapes, from online auctions to full in-person galas with hybrids falling in between.

Galas and auctions can be more formal and may suit some donors’ preferences. But you can also get creative with other events like concerts, art exhibits, talent contests, and fun runs. Consider that each of these formats has varying returns on investment (ROI), depending on organization size. As an example, fun runs are easy to plan and have a high ROI for any organization size. Event types also vary in terms of how you foster interactions among donors. For instance, concerts and art exhibits can showcase guests’ talents, while talent contests can stoke friendly competition.

Planning out logistics and assignments

Planning the logistics involves hashing out the details of your social work event, assigning tasks, and determining how to acquire your resources. Set a date and time when people are most likely to attend. For instance, you can plan an auction near the holidays when people are more inclined to be charitable.

Other factors you’ll want to consider and assign point persons for include:

  • Venue
  • Catering
  • Solicitations
  • Volunteer systems
  • Sign up processes
  • Item procurement and check-out system (for auction fundraisers)
  • Seat charts
  • Marketing and publicity strategies

Plan out the tasks that need to be done, who’s in charge, and when you’ll need them to be done. With all of these details needing to be attended to, you'll need to stay organized with clear communication and make provisions for errors or delays.

Fundraisers necessitate meticulous planning and may cause a great deal of stress. However, this doesn’t eclipse the value of this work. By engaging with the community, focusing on your goals, and paying attention to detail, you can execute a fundraising event that can lead to an immense positive social impact.