Once you’ve completed your charity auction, whether it was silent, live, or online, you may think the hard work is over. The event went off without a hitch and you raised money and awareness for your cause.
Before you move on to your next fundraising campaign or event, however, it’s important to continue building on your relationships with your event attendees and showing them how they can make their impact go even further.
Here are the top 3 strategies you can use to boost your donation revenue following your auction:
Leverage Matching Gifts
Focus on Outreach
Continue Engaging with Your Supporters
Continuing to interact with your auction guests even after the fact can be incredibly beneficial for your organization. Let’s get started!
1. Leverage Matching Gifts
After you’ve spent so much time planning and executing your auction, wouldn’t it be great to actually double the donations made at your event?
Whenever a charitable contribution is made at your fundraiser, you can double the impact of these donations through matching gifts.
What are matching gifts?
Matching gifts are a type of corporate giving program in which companies match donations their employees make to nonprofits.
Through matching gifts, you can essentially earn twice the amount donated with very little effort needed from your team. Companies usually match at a 1:1 ratio, but some will match at a 2:1 or even 3:1 ratio!
It seems like such a simple concept; however, many organizations overlook matching gifts. This can be due to a lack of resources, time, or staff to devote to securing matching gifts. It can also be the result of your donors’ lack of awareness that their employers even offer matching gift programs.
How can you find information about matching gift programs?
One of the most effective ways to promote matching gifts is through the use of a matching gift database. A matching gift database holds information about thousands of companies’ matching gift programs, including guidelines and specific instructions on how to submit a match request.
Through the use of a **company name search tool **placed directly on your donation page, confirmation page, or anywhere else on your website, your auction attendees can access the database to check their eligibility for a match. All they have to do is enter their company name into the search tool. If they’re eligible, the tool will immediately populate the instructions needed to make their request.
2. Focus on Outreach
Of course, using a matching gift database is only the first step toward securing these doubled donations. It’s also essential to market matching gifts directly to your auction attendees.
Be sure to leverage a variety of communication channels to ensure you reach as many attendees and supporters as possible. Here are a few keys avenues you can take:
The very first thing you want to do following your event is to thank your donors. After all, they showed up and supported your cause! Once your event has concluded, follow up with your attendees as soon as possible to thank them for supporting your organization. Personalize this communication with each guest’s preferred name, and include information about their specific donation.
Be genuine, but don’t ask for a second donation, as that can come off poorly in the eyes of your supporters.
Instead, include a link to matching gift information on your website so donors can check their eligibility for a match by their employer. If your organization has a regular email newsletter you send out, devote a specific section of it to talking about matching gifts and linking to more information, as well.
If you have a large following on a particular social media site, use it to your advantage! Promoting matching gifts to your donors on social media after an auction is a great way to engage them even after your auctioneer has put down the gavel.
You likely used social media to promote your auction in the first place. If your donors follow you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you can use those platforms to keep in touch with them and nudge them toward matching gift programs.
While direct mail is a more traditional form of communication, it can be a great way to remind your auction attendees that they might be able to double their donations to your nonprofit. If your organization chooses to send out tangible acknowledgments to your auction attendees, you can use these pieces of direct mail to promote matching gifts to your bidders.
Send out postcards and letters that offer different ways (such as via phone, email, or your website) to learn more about matching gifts.
Using different communication methods to follow up with donors after an auction and promote matching gifts to them at the same time will help you engage with donors and heighten your chance of receiving another gift from their employer.
- Continue Engaging with Your Supporters
Of course, once you’ve held your event and followed up with your supporters, it’s still as important as ever to keep engaging with them. They support your cause for a reason, and it’s essential to cultivate your relationship with them so they continue to value your nonprofit and your mission.
**Ask your supporters to become more involved with your organization. That way, when your next event comes around, they will be ready and excited to participate again! **
To take this one step further, you could:
- Encourage bidders to consider volunteering with your nonprofit. They might even want to help you run an event later in the year. And always remember to thank everyone, including your volunteers!
- Ask donors to think about donating items for next year’s auction. Requesting auction items can be difficult, but if you can get a jumpstart on next year’s auction, you’ll be in a better position.
- Invite bidders to come to another event. Auction attendees who had a good time at your event would likely enjoy going to another type of fundraising event.
As you continue building on these relationships with your supporters, you also increase your chances of forming strong relationships with potential major donors. A major donor is someone who makes a gift that significantly impacts an organization, and a major gift is the largest gift a nonprofit receives.
In order to identify potential major donors, it’s important to leverage prospect research. According to Double the Donation’s guide to prospect research, this type of research helps organizations gather data about their donors and prospects based on past giving, wealth markers, and more, so nonprofits can determine a donor’s ability and affinity to donate.
Imagine receiving a major gift from a donor who came to your auction event and decided to continue staying involved. Now, imagine if that major gift were matched by that donor’s employer!
Major donors are just one of the many reasons to continue engaging with your supporters. When you give them a reason to stay involved and invite them to continue engaging with your organization, you’ll cultivate the most important relationships yet. Make sure they feel appreciated and know their donations are making a difference. That’s one of the reasons you ran an auction in the first place!
Essentially, don’t forget about your supporters after they’ve bid on your auction items or donated during the event. Make sure you offer other ways for them to stay involved with your nonprofit long after the event has ended.
Planning and executing a charity auction can be an intense process, and working to boost your revenue and follow up with supporters shouldn’t stress out your staff unnecessarily. Follow these strategies to enhance donor engagement even after the last bid has been placed.
If you’re looking for even more information on running your next event, check out Double the Donation’s guide to charity auctions!
Special thanks to Adam for sharing his expert advice in this article.
Adam Weinger is the President of Double the Donation, the leading provider of matching gift tools to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions. Adam created Double the Donation in order to help nonprofits increase their annual revenue through corporate matching gift and volunteer grant programs. Connect with Adam via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or on LinkedIn.