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5 rules for obtaining auction and raffle items

by The NonProfit Times - May 14, 2013

One of the more popular types of special events is the auction or raffle. Not only do they have the potential to bring in big money for the nonprofit, they are also very engaging and fun for the audience.

The same can’t be said about actually acquiring the items up for bid.

Buying items for auction can be a bit of a gamble. If you spend too much money on items and the winning bids don’t cover that cost, your nonprofit could be out hundreds or thousands of dollars.

That’s why it is essential all nonprofit follow certain rules before obtaining auction or raffle items. In his book “Money for the Cause,” Rudolph A. Rosen listed five such rules that will help ensure your auction lives up to its potential:

  • Obtain each item at the lowest price possible. Preferably, items will be donated at zero cost to the host organization.
  • Obtain items of the right type, quality, value and profile. Know the bidders, what they want, and what they can spend.
  • Obtain donations with the intent of establishing a long-term relationship with the donor. It is easier to retain a donor from year to year than to find new ones every year.
  • Follow the rules. The host organization should develop and follow a written acquisition plan and policies.
  • Get it in writing – period. Items and services donated for an event should be clearly described, in detail and in writing, on specifically designed forms that are signed by the donor.


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