5 pillars of the benefit auction

June 26, 2015       The NonProfit Times      

Benefit auctions can be effective fundraisers, but in her book “A Higher Bid” Kathy Kingston emphasizes the importance of seeing a benefit auction not as a one-time chance to make money but as something that can build lasting relationships between organizations and donors, as well as bringing in a lot of money in a short time.

Kingston calls these strategic benefit auctions, a method to raise more money and more deeply engage donors. For that, Kingston recommends five core principles, or pillars, of strategic benefit auctions. They are:

  • Find out what matters most to the organization’s supporters. Design an event around the core idea: People don’t give to needy organizations. They give to lofty causes that make a difference.
  • Invite supporters in. Special events are an extremely good way of identifying and recruiting new donors.
  • Inspire supporters to fall in love with the organization. Communicate the impact of supporters’ gifts at benefit auctions.
  • Give them reasons to stay in love with the organization forever. Leverage the benefit auction to build long-term relationships and engage those wonderful supporters on a year-round basis, before, during and after the benefit auction event.
  • Invest in what counts; ignore the rest. Spend valuable time and resources on what raises money and retains donors: the fund-a-need appeal, sponsorships and donor engagement and cultivation.