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Auction Night Timeline

5 years 11 months ago - 5 years 11 months ago #172544 by AmFund501c3
Replied by AmFund501c3 on topic Auction Night Timeline
Our nonprofit partners with over 250 nonprofit organizations each year to help them raise funds and we have definitely found that there is a specific backbone timeline to a successful fundraising event. Also, here are a few things over the last 19 years that we have learned to ensure that you keep your captive fundraising audience at your special event.

General Fundraising Event Timeline
  • Cocktail Hour
    Meal and start of Program
    Live Auction (if applicable)
    Open Ask

Now that seems far too simplistic, add to that a few concepts to maximize your fundraising. Keep your silent auction to a maximium 1hr-2hrs to build urgency. Don't forget, no one on Ebay bids until the last minute... let your donors know when that last minute will be with announcements and don't give them too long to "think about it", "think about it", and then "forget it".

Close your silent auction before your live auction. Sell your Raffle tickets during cocktail hour as well.

Don't overlap fundraising concepts, they then become competing concepts and dilute the overall fundraising potential.

Never announce any big exciting grants, donations, or matches until your fundraising is complete... don't give your donors a premature out.

The magical fundraising witching hour is 9pm. Have all of your fundraising efforts wrapped up by then, otherwise you'll hear wallets slamming shut.

Hold your live auction before your open ask, build the excitement with the live auction then change the evening's tone from exciting to more somber letting people know that there is more work to be done with your open ask.

Hold dancing at the end of the evening. You certainly don't want to tire out your donors ahead of time!

Hope this helps!
6 years 5 months ago #172136 by xanshark
Replied by xanshark on topic Auction Night Timeline
I found a pretty good list of resources here:

There is a pdf download of extra info, but I didn't check it out. It might be helpful
11 years 11 months ago #160918 by Rose H
Replied by Rose H on topic Re:Auction Night Timeline
Hi Janine,

It does seem to make sense to stagger the end point of different raffles and the silent auction. That way, there isn't a mad rush. Plus, if you have lots of silent auction items, you can close it in two different stages. That way, you could get more bidding. If people miss the first cut off, they'll perhaps go for the second silent auction closing.

Hope that helps,

Rose C.
11 years 11 months ago #160916 by Janine
Replied by Janine on topic Re:Auction Night Timeline
Our event isn't a large scale one, but it's my first year as chair of it, so I'd like some advice. The basket raffle/silent auction happens at school on the same night as open house. The open house happens from 6-7pm, so families go to their classes at some point during that time to see what their child has done during the year.
So we're thinking of starting to sell raffle tickets at 5pm. We'll have 30 or so baskets to raffle, plus 20 or so donations (usually tickets to museums and such) that will also be raffled. We won't have many silent auction items, maybe 10. Our school has a lot of low income families, so we like to have mostly raffle to give them a chance to win something without necessarily paying a lot.
When should we close the raffles? Last year they closed at 6:30, which seems way too early. I'm thinking that we should close one section at 6:45, then another at 6:55, then the silent auction at 7pm? People won't be expecting to stay very late.
Any suggestions would be welcome. Our event is taking place on May 17th.
12 years 5 months ago #158961 by Roger.Devine
Hi Nicole,

Square won't store the card numbers for you at check-in; it will only process the cards at check-out. Send me an email (roger at schoolauction dot net) and we can talk more about how your school can set things up so you can swipe at check-in, and hold the card numbers for express check-out.

The timeline worked as planned; we had a lovely event.

Signup parties go under a lot of different names - easel parties, pay-to-plays, etc. They are fixed-price items; the donor agrees to host some fun, themed party, and guests at your event sign up to attend it. They pay a fixed price for a "slot" - each slot allows one person to attend. I have a list of signup party ideas that I'm willing to share with you; I can't post it here, but email me and I will send it along.

12 years 5 months ago #158960 by Nicole
Replied by Nicole on topic Re:Auction Night Timeline

How did the timeline work for you? I'm especially interested in the credit card swipe. Last year we used Square to process payments so I'm trying to figure out if I can have everyone sign up for square ahead of time and see if that hurries check out along.

Also, what's a signup party board?
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