Let’s cut to the chase here: What is going to pull in the most money for your next auction or fundraiser?
At BidCoz, we’ve helped clients run many successful online auctions, live auctions and fundraising events. We looked at our top 50 highest priced items sold through BidCoz and found that, without a doubt, the items that pulled in the most money for our clients were trips, experiences, and
Number one, these go for the most because they start out at the highest value. Plus, they have that magical factor of luxury with some practicality and fun mixed in to drive up the interest and the price. Bidders think, “We’re probably going on vacation anyway, right? This way we can go on vacation and donate to this organization at the same time.”
There is also the group mentality – in a good sense – added in for auctions. When experiences are auctioned off at a live event or even online, often groups of people pool their resources and bid together – such as a private wine tasting with a vineyard owner or a dinner for 12 in your home, cooked by a local chef. Vacation homes can also be a great way for groups to come together to bid on the item and then share a vacation experience together. The fun factor rises on those items when groups get involved. And when the fun factor rises, so do the bids.
These big trips and vacation homes generally sell best at a live event, using an auctioneer, rather than mobile bidding. The reason for this is because there is the “people seeing you bid” factor. However, this could also be accomplished through mobile bidding using the BidCoz Leaderboard feature, which would display the bidders on a projector or monitor. This allows everyone to see who is bidding and provides the publicity for the bidders.
Fund-a-Need is also a big money raiser for auctions and events. A Fund-a-Need can be organized live via a Paddle Raise, which BidCoz software provides a component for via mobile or manually entered donations. Event supporters and attendees like to give the big bucks to something very specific like computers for the science lab, or kitchen repairs for Ronald McDonald House, or new wheelchairs for a children’s home.
In a Paddle Raise, event organizers or the auctioneer announces something such as, “Who will give $5,000 to help us build new kennels for the Animal League shelter?” Then, “Who will give $3,000 to help?” etc. Multiple people can raise their paddles for each donation level. Another top seller we see in auctions or at events are gift cards. Gift cards for stores or restaurants generally sell for full price or close because the bidder knows they will be going there anyway. They figure
they’d rather give the nonprofit their money than the store or restaurant directly. Same thinking with the vacation homes and trips, but on a smaller scale.
Another great way to raise money is to simply “sell” things using the fixed priced items option. Wine pulls, chips at a casino party, tickets to an event, etc. always help bring money into your overall event fundraising goal.
What we’ve seen that does not sell well in auctions or events are personal items like furniture, jewelry, and clothing. However, memorabilia type items, especially signed sports items, can bring big bucks if you have the right buyer and/or audience for the items. Just something to think about when asking for donated items. Know your audience…what they like and what they probably won’t. Don’t waste your time asking for items that no one will want.
Having a great mix of options for bidders and mixing in some fun can help make your auction or fundraiser a success.