Keeping the Auction Fundraiser Local
The Flamingo Fling is the signature fundraiser for the Chapin Woman’s Club located in Chapin South Carolina. The rural town has many unmet needs with pockets of poverty around the area however the Chapin Woman’s club is determined to fill the gap. With the local enthusiasm of the Chapin Woman’s Club and the generosity of local lakeside residents many local grants and needs have been fulfilled for 45 years. The Flamingo Fling auction team is a dedicated group that fundraises each year to help make grant wishes come true. Their Flamingo Fling auction team leaders, Kay, Katie and Suzanne took some time to share their auction process and achievements.
The Flamingo Fling is a party with a purpose. The event sells out every year and is capped off just over 200 seats based on the venue. Not only do they sell out they have a waiting list to fill any cancellations. When asked why not move the event to a larger venue, the answer from the auction committee in unison declares “No way! We are a local group and we will support our local venues and vendors in every way.” This is their message that is loud and clear in every facet of their philanthropy efforts.
With over 40 sponsorships The Flamingo Fling invites local businesses to support the local cause. Because the Fling attracts locals this is a perfect match for advertising for local business. There are four levels of sponsorships: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Friend of The Fling. Sponsorship pricing ranges from $2500 to $150 giving all the local businesses an opportunity to support the Chapin Woman’s Club at a price point for any budget. This wide selection of support levels is a proven method as shown by the diverse list of sponsors: car dealership, wine store, energy & utilities, medical & dental offices, general building contractors, roofers, automotive services and golf cart services. Once again the Chapin Woman’s club attributes their sponsorship success to being true to the local community. Sponsors know that by donating to The Flamingo Fling their association with the event is translated into continued goodwill.
Local Auction Items
What types of items do well at The Flamingo Fling? The team shared that the vast majority of the auction items are donated by local shops, artisans, and service providers. Let this sampling of auction items inspire you to look, think and ask local:
- Original artwork by local artisans
- Fishing trip in local waters
- South Carolina flag that was flown over the State House
- Handcrafted Hanging Iron and Glass Bird Feeder/Bath
- Locally donated or crafted apparel, purses, tote bags, shawl
- Hand made beautifully decorated flamingo woman boots
- Handmade bags
- Local authored and signed books
- Trolly tour
- Metal work home decor, Clemson
The Flamingo Fling doesn’t let the sports fan feel unappreciated either. Sticking with the local theme they seek out donations from the local universities. Here is a sampling:
- University of South Carolina, Gamecocks Coach autographed football
- University of South Carolina, Gamecocks Coach autographed basketball
- Clemson commemorative football autographed by Head Coach, Dabo Swinney
- Clemson autographed helmet autographed by Head Coach, Dabo Swinney
Gift baskets are composed with local or handmade ingredients:
- Decorative dining, plates, wine glasses
- Picnic basket items
Local Grant Awards
So where does the money go that was donated through The Flamingo Flingt? Well, it stays local of course! The Chapin Woman’s Club opens their grant application window and any person or group that meets their criteria may apply. They support: Arts, Conservation, Education, Home Life (tutoring, self-education, lifelong learning, supporting libraries in lifelong learning, ESOL), International Outreach, Public Issues (citizenship and/or safety), and/or Special Projects. In the past few years they have been able to say yes to over two-thirds of the applicants. Specifically they have funded:
wounded warrior fishing derby day for over 200 participants
- Supplies for women’s shelter
- Public library American Girl doll inventory for borrowing
- Local food pantry
- Local habitat
- Academic scholarship
Power User Tips
The Chapin Woman’s club is dedicated in their mission philanthropic support their local community and find the greatest enjoyment comes when awarding the grant applicants with their checks. Each and every grant approved is done so with very serious consideration to how it will improve the Chapin community.
The Chapin Woman's Flamingo Fling auction team shares that with Auctria they are able to spend more time focusing on the people rather than the process.
Here are their power user tips for using Auctria:
- Web site our members loved being able to direct interested parties to a website for tickets rather than having to sell them
- Online ticket sales we had greater control over sales for our venue with limited seating. We knew exactly when to announce we were sold out
- Donated item inventory this year we created training materials and cheat sheets so that the effort could be shared by more members. Our goal is to teach at least half of our members to use some aspect of the system so knowledge does not reside within only one person.
- Text bidding this was a huge success. We trained all members during one of our meetings and designated some as “text bidding coaches” who were available to ticket holders during the night of the event. We believe text bidding helped increase the amount paid for all items.
- Automated checkout with registered credit cards it was like magic to see the dollars rolling in during checkout. Our guests loved the easier checkout and item claim process that resulted. I loved the easier aspect and not having to update every item with a winning bid prior to checkout.
- Program production this process was much easier as a result of using the download functionality.
A special thank you to Katie, Kay and Suzanne for sharing their auction story.
The Chapin Woman's Club is organized for the purpose of bringing together and equipping women to promote civic progress in the town, state, and nation; with specific emphasis on the needs of our community. The Chapin Woman's Club is affiliated with the General Federation of Women's Club (GFWC). The GFWC is a unifying force, bringing together local women's clubs, with members dedicated to strengthening their communities and enhancing the lives of others through volunteer service. With 100,000 members in affiliated clubs in every state and more than a dozen countries, GFWC members are community leaders who work locally to create global change by supporting the arts, preserving natural resources, advancing education, promoting healthy lifestyles, encouraging civic involvement, and working toward world peace and understanding.