Promote, Promote, Promote and then promote some more!
Promoting the auction in advance is strategic
Early promotions has a two-fold purpose:
- Increase procurement
- Increase reach for auction attendees
Having a website dedicated to the fundraiser help establish credibility of the event and the organization. Reach out through multiple channels multiple times. E-Philanthropy is completely mainstream. Caring and sharing go together so use the social streams to encourage engagement and sharing. Start branding the auction NOW for greater recognition short and long term.
Although fundraising goes on all year round, there’s nothing like a blowout fundraising event to get nonprofit supporters excited about your cause. Your most reliable donors enjoy coming together to learn about your recent successes, support your cause and meet other like-minded people. Don't just rely on those supporters who you know will show up every time. Boost Attendance. As your nonprofit grows and takes on more ambitious projects, you need to draw more people (and larger donations) to your events every time.
Boost attendance with enticing event only activities. Host the perfect event and encourage attendance and gain excitement with these themed events combined activities:
- Teachers in Jail
- Themed Youth Group Party
- Noisy Sunday
- Ugly Christmas sweater party
- Decades party (70s, 80s, 90s)
- Neon party
- Hawaiian theme or luau
- Walkathons and fun runs
Promote and assist the procurement efforts and provide save the date and & relevant event details. Promote a save-the-date in communication channels that reach your audience, consider newsletters hard copy and digital, flyers for schools, facebook, twitter etc. ASK everyone on these channels for donations. Provide simple instructions how to donate to the auction, include key contact information on the procurement letter.
Early Promotion with an incentive can increase attendance and auction preview. Event tickets to the fundraising auction event itself is part of the promotion process. A multi-tier admission pricing encourages early sales and bidder pre-registration. As soon as the date for the auction is secured create a website for the auction. Promote the fundraising auction with lots of lead time up to the event date. The committee will do all the necessary activities prior to the actual event, then figuratively ‘flip-the-switch’ to auction pre-sale.
Include on the auction website:
- mission of the charity and fundraiser
- how to donate auction items
Calculate the actual overhead expenses and discount accordingly.
Example with a $100 face value ticket price:
|Time Prior to Event||Ticket Price|
|at the door||$100|
QUICK TIP: Use Auctria to sell admission to the event and as a launch point to sell tickets & pre-register bidders Create event tickets as items
Promotional Message Essentials
Use each and every communication channel that the potential bidder or donor audience can be reached. Consider how the group regularly communicates formally and informally.
- hard copy flyers, include a QR code
- weekly or monthly newsletter, include a QR code
- digital newsletters
- automated telephone calling system
- Facebook for non profits
- Facebook micro-targeting and advertising, depending on the marketing budget
- bulletin board on property
- bulletin boards in local businesses that promote local events (think Starbucks, Panera, local lunch shop, community centers)
- community e-bulletin boards, blogs, emails
- newspapers allow public, local submissions to event sections that can be submitted for print and online listings, use Help A Reporter Out to promote the event & cause
- local magazines encourage public submissions to local fundraising events
Email newsletters should already be a part of your engagement strategy is already an important first step for your organization, if it's not don't worry- the auction is a great time to start. The magic key is getting the email opened.
Start with these 5 key strategies:
- Use catchy subject lines
- Link to your donation platforms
- Include social media buttons
- Feature a calendar of upcoming events
- Recognize members or donors
Explore more on how to can maximize the use of your email newsletters to make this happen for your organization.
More than just the basics:
- Charity or group name with a recognizable logo
- date, time and details of the fundraising event
- website to access all the details
- DO include pictures of last year’s events, or how past donations helped the cause
- Use graphics to garner attention
- Answer the question: what’s in it for me as a donor or bidder?
- “call to action” such as Register as a bidder now, Purchase your event ticket today, Support the cause with a donation right now
Use a QR Code
QR code is a matrix (square) bar-code that when scanned takes the user directly to the auction website. QR code is read by a camera on a smartphone or mobile device that is equipped with a reader. QR code generators are free and easy to find with a simple Google search. Create a QR code for your auction website and include the code on printed materials, emails to your audience
Here is an example of a QR code that was created directing users to the Auctria DEMO auction website
Using Video for Facebook is a Must Do
Facebook videos are a MUST do to promote the auction fundraiser. Luckily Facebook has made this super simple. Ever notice how many videos you see on your Facebook thread? This is not a coincidence. FB algorithms are favoring videos and this can help gain attention for a fundraising auction. In advance have 3-10 photos chosen that you want to use, This can be photos of last year's auction event, current flyer, or screenshots of the auction website. Got more than 10 to share? Make a second or third video. Follow along for instructions on how to use Facebook to create and upload video.
Timing of Posts
Space out the timing of your posts so as not to bombard your followers. Vary the day of the week as well as time of day. Facebook allows posts to be saved as Draft or Scheduled. Take the time to create a few and schedule the posts leading up to the big auction day.
Recent changes to Snapchat has given innovative companies the opportunity to catch a new wave. Though Snapchat has been around for several years, it now has more active users than Twitter. This has marketers looking for creative ways to leverage this up and coming technology. Auction fundraiser teams are always looking for newer, more creative ways to promote and build their brand- this is an easy one. Snapchat custom geo-filters are not a new feature for Snapchat, but the ability for companies or individuals to customize and broadcast is. The technology has developed in a way to allow geographically broadcasting of custom photo filters to an area as small as 100 square feet for a predetermined date and time.
Professional Social Media Expert
Is your organization wasting time and effort trying to get your message out through social media channels? Often the challenge is knowing which social sites are best for non-profit organizations and how often you should be pushing content. Barton Wood – President at Firefly Creative, Inc., and Atlanta based marketing firm, says: “We’re constantly asked by our clients, is there a need for a social presence if we already have a website?” The response is a resounding “YES”. Sometimes it’s hard to justify the time and effort needed to create content and respond to online posts, but more and more people are using the web to validate, rate and review organizations through social sites.
How to get millennial donors? Social media is the best place to start. Many nonprofits create a message for their donation campaigns on social media the same way they would an ad for their organization. They say things like, “Support our organization…” or “You can help us by…” The problem is these types of messages ask millennials to do something with little context — the same way advertisements do. Unfortunately, millennials hate ads. In fact, only 1% of millennials say they would trust an organization based on a compelling advertisement. Millennial donors want the full story- so give it them in text, photo and video!