There is some work involved in organizing and maintaining a successful online auction fundraiser, but once your group has the basics down, you’ll find that online auction fundraisers virtually run themselves, and are easily repeated.
How to Get Started with an Online Auction Fundraiser
The basic things your group will need to host a fee-based or free online auction fundraiser are
• A web-based auction company partner
• An auction website
• A small group of volunteers
Although theoretically your group could just post items for sale on a public online auction site like eBay, you’ll find much more profitability and longevity if you partner with an auction website that either specializes in fundraising auctions or has a segment of their company that does.
A good online auction fundraising service will provide you with all the tools you need to get your fundraising auction up and running. They will provide a group website and templates that can be easily customized by group volunteers, and they will handle all transactions securely through their site. (Click here for more info about what features to look for.)
Once you have chosen the platform for your online auction fundraiser, your group could assign teams for the following jobs:
1. One team will handle customizing the website – entering information about who your group is, your cause, how proceeds from the online auction fundraiser will be spent. Once items have been donated, this team could also handle uploading photos and setting auction prices and specifications.
2. Another team will manage the donation of goods. Look to group members, cause supporters, area businesses, and interested supporters for in-kind donations of items to be auctioned. Include everything large and small, common and rare. This increases the appeal of the overall fundraising auction.
The next step is to promote the fundraiser as much as possible. This is done in much the same way as promotion for any other type of fundraiser. Advertise and send appeals out to all group members, the community, and known supporters. Post flyers, use social media, send out a press release, write it up in your newsletter, send home a notice, post a memo – whatever you would do to let your group know that your fundraiser is ongoing.
Of course, you should also look at the options you have for informing supporters via email, and talk with your fundraising auction website support to see what else you can do online to support your auction. Promoting your online auction fundraiser could be assigned to a third team.
The basics of running an online auction fundraiser are fairly simple and straight-forward. The key to your success will be in great organization, great outreach, and a great partnership with a reputable online auction fundraising site. With these things in place, add a few interesting auction items, and you’ve got all it takes to have a raging success of an online fundraising auction!