Eight Quick Tips on How to Manage a Fundraising Campaign

There is no question that organizing a fundraising event can present challenges. Organizing a successful, full-scale fundraising campaign seems even more daunting. However, if you need to quickly learn how to fundraise for your group, or even how to plan a fundraising event, these tips can help.

1. Work Backwards from your Goal

When you decide to start a fundraising campaign, it’s important to define your goals.

Unlike a single fundraising event, a fundraising campaign must build and sustain momentum over several weeks, months or even years with close attention paid to continuity and sharing information and results with both the public and your supporters.

You can have a narrow goal, like raising money towards a specific goal, but most fundraising campaigns are multi-purpose. Aside from raising money, fundraising campaigns can be helpful in educating the public, raising awareness to gain support for a cause, or boosting community spirit.

To begin, write down your fundraising goals. You will find it easier to share them when recruiting your fundraiser committee members and in preparing informational material.

If you have the luxury of a large budget or you are willing to share a significant portion of the money you raise, you can hire a reputable charity fundraising company to lend advice or manage the entire campaign. But if you work hard to fundraise for your cause, don’t spend those fundraised dollars when you don’t have to.

2. Choose your Committee Members Carefully

Once you’ve established your fundraising objectives, it’s time to recruit your fundraiser committee members.

Chances are you will need a diverse group of individuals each with a skill set that will help you achieve your fundraising goals, and with the desire to share your ambition and work together.

For a successful fundraising campaign, you should choose to include these types of fundraising committee members:

  • A financial person to help manage the raised funds or charitable donations, and keep track of money spent
  • A communications person or publicist to help market the event and create public support (bring the bidders)
  • A great organizer to keep everyone focused on the fundraising goals
  • A team player who manages and motivates volunteers

If you are working as a third-party fundraiser to fundraise for non-profit organizations, schools, hospitals, or other groups, meet with them about your plans and align your message with theirs.  In most cases, they will share the ground rules you need to represent their cause and provide a liaison person and the resources to help ensure your success.

3. Volunteers – Everybody Knows Somebody Who Knows Somebody

Despite the insight and expertise of committee members, almost everyone agrees that the success of any fundraising venture is because of dedicated, hardworking volunteers.  Next, recruit some fundraiser volunteers!

Your first source should be your committee members.  If they have a history of helping in the community or started their involvement as fundraiser volunteers themselves, then they have a good idea of how to find potential volunteers.

If you are working with your community or as a third-party fundraiser, then once you have defined your goals, you could run local ads or ask the organization you are representing to assist in recruiting help.

When you have agreed on responsibilities for each fundraising committee member, then determine their needs and together assign volunteers.

4. There is Never Enough Time

Done properly, fundraising campaigns require a lot of time and organization to run smoothly and meet the fundraising goals. To be successful a fundraising campaign requires several events, time, effort, and coordination.

One way to manage multi-events is to assign specific event management responsibilities to fundraiser committee members. As each fundraising event is completed, reassign members of that group to those fundraising events still in the planning stages.

By starting and learning from the initial events, the experience gained can be invaluable in planning the next successful fundraising event. The early events build momentum as you move further into your campaign toward the finale, which could be a major event such as a gala, to celebrate the success of your fundraising campaign.

5. Brand Your Fundraising Campaign

Never underestimate the power of branding. A strong promotional brand helps draw supporters to your cause and give your campaign workers a rallying point. Promote your fundraiser brand in all your support materials, across social media channels, and on your dedicated website and donations page.

6. Decide on Types of Fundraising Events

Once you and your committee begin planning individual fundraising events and venues, you must consider the length of time your fundraising campaign will be running, the season (weather is important for outside events), and the workload of your committee and volunteer groups.

When you brainstorm fundraising ideas, use your imagination. In the past decade, technology has dramatically changed many traditional fundraising standbys. Individual donations can now be made on a dedicated donation website page or at live fundraising events through any one of several text-to-give options using smartphones.

7. Silent Charity Auctions

Silent auctions – an all-time favourite – have also undergone a major tech makeover in the past decade. Part of their popularity is their ability to work within almost any charity fundraising event:

  • Large galas
  • Small local events
  • Golf tournaments and many more

No longer are we dependent on silent auction bid sheets; technology has rekindled the popularity of silent auctions by offering a variety of auction platforms where invited guests can participate using shared tablets, computers, or smartphones. Unfortunately, the cost of these services has been out of reach for smaller non-profits and small local groups, such as schools, churches, and teams.

Early versions of this type were costly because they required technicians to build auctions and manage events. Using these platforms increased participation and bidding, but while raising more money, a good portion was lost to the added expense of consultants and technicians.

The widespread popularity of smartphones and the rise of technology led to mobile fundraising platforms that have eliminated the need for consultants and technicians and placed the programs in the hands of the fundraisers.

Our product, MobilBid, features easy-to-use software to build the auction, and a fun bidding experience that guests access using their smartphones. Along with its ease of use and flexibility, MobilBid was designed for fundraising events both large and small. And unlike many similar products with complicated pricing based on several factors, MobilBidpricing is based solely on performance.

8. The Importance of Celebrating Victories

It’s important to celebrate your victories along the way to keep your team motivated and moving together toward your overall fundraising goals. Be sure to post your results on your website and social media to keep your volunteers and supporters updated on your progress.

At the same time, it’s a good idea to discuss what your members have learned from the event you are celebrating to improve performance at the next fundraising event.

From your unique fundraising ideas to the success of your fundraising campaign, never lose sight of your fundraising goals and the people who helped you reach them.

Need a Great Fundraising Idea?

Fundraising Ideas

Try mobile bidding at your next silent auction.

If you haven’t heard, mobile bidding for silent auctions is now one of the hottest fundraising trends in North America.

Mobile bidding at your next silent auction will increase your fundraising dollars, relieve stress, and make your event a huge success with guests and volunteers.

Why choose mobile bidding?

Mobile bidding has moved beyond the need for a team of technicians to set up and manage events, and upped the silent auction game with sleek, full-featured fundraising platforms that are affordable, effective, and easy to use. Non-profits of any size can now build and manage their own charity silent auctions and guests are able to use their own smartphones to participate.

What’s the secret?

No secret. Mobile bidding auctions can be expensive, from building an auction site to requiring technical support and the extensive optional add-on list. But at MobilBid, we have combined cutting-edge, intuitive software with today’s mobile technology to design an advanced mobile bidding auction platform that delivers ease of use and great results at a fraction of the usual cost.

So, what are the advantages of MobilBid compared to a standard paper-based auction at a charity silent auction event?

Where do we start?

  1. It’s simple – mobile bidding puts your silent auction items at your guests’ fingertips, using their own smartphones. MobilBid offers a pre-registration or quick sign-up with a text message to a special phone number, which invites guests to join in to review items and categories, and then bid using their own phones. No apps to download; no QR codes to decipher.
  2. Mobile bidding encourages guests to bid from anywhere – no more rushing back and forth to check auction bid sheets – re-bid alerts are answered with a one-click response to keep them in the game.
  3. Mobile bidding encourages competition (friendly, we hope!) and this leads to more bidding and more funds raised.
  4. MobilBid offers bidders the option to enter a maximum bid and let the system bid for them until the limit is reached when they will receive another alert.
  5. Mobile bidding even lets you invite folks not in attendance to participate.

If you are still unsure if mobile bidding is the solution for your silent auction, check out what our clients have to say.

Closing the deal

So, bidding on auction items is easy, and more people means more bids. The major challenge in any charity auction event is closing.  How does mobile bidding streamline the closing process?

Closing protocol varies from system to system; some mobile bidding programs still use a conventional close, by tabulating bids manually and then printing invoices for the winners.

MobilBid offers mobile payment – that’s just as easy as mobile bidding.  The system keeps a running total for each bidder. The moment the auction closes, detailed invoices are sent to winners with a prompt that lets them pay instantly from their phones.

Payment triggers a receipt directly to a guest’s phone, used to pick up the auction items. Guests can also pay by cash, cheque, or other merchant payment systems.

An optional feature requests credit card info before guests place their first bid. When the silent auction closes – within seconds – the system processes winners’ cards and sends detailed receipts are used to pick up their items.

Instant auction bids – instant payments – instant receipts. How much does this mobile bidding tech cost the fundraising group?

Pricing is important. We offer performance pricing based on how well our clients and our mobile bidding platform perform.  We call it transparent pricing because unlike some others, there are no hidden fees or charges.

We don’t charge for an open account, ongoing or training fees, and no user fees of any sort until the mobile bidding platform is used in an auction. Then, we charge a reasonable performance fee as a percentage on raised funds. We also offer a cap on our fee, because we respect the needs of the non-profits we serve.  Heres the scoop on pricing.

Last but not least, we understand the importance of analytics, so we capture guest contact information and bidding stats by product and category for future planning. This data increases accuracy and ends manually collecting and recording data.  Custom reports can be arranged.

The Importance of Charity Auctions

Charity Event

There are reportedly more than 250,000 charity auctions held yearly in North America. This number includes live auctions – run by an auctioneer or MC – silent auctions many managed by professional auction houses that may also provide both auction items and personnel. As well as online auctions accessed through the Internet.

In many cases, large fundraising events such as galas combine live auctions with silent auctions and even online auctions. These auctions potentially raise more than $20 billion annually in North America.

So Which Type of Charity Auction is Best for Your Cause?

Charity Auctions are a great way for non-profits to raise money. Their contribution to fundraisers’ coffers can’t be denied. Auctions can be fun, entertaining, and create an exciting atmosphere to help raise money for a worthwhile cause.

Once you decide to plan a charity auction, your format should not just fit your fundraising goals, but should also reflect the theme of your event, and be within your budget.  So, your next decision is whether your auction is a live auction with an auctioneer, a silent auction, an online auction, or perhaps a combination.

The Pros and Cons of Each Auction Format

Live Auctions

The allure of a live auction, led by a professional auctioneer, is hard to resist. A room full of guests all focused on the auctioneer, driven by the excitement and competition of live bidding – a nod of the head, a simple hand gesture, or raising a paddle.
The key to the success of a live auction is the skill of the auctioneer and the quality of the auction items. Live auctions usually feature more expensive items – vacations, life experiences, art, jewellery, and luxury items. In many cases, these articles raise as much or more than their market value.

If you are considering a live auction as the main event of your fundraiser, here are some considerations:

  • A good auctioneer and support team can be expensive, as well as the cost of acquiring high-end items.
  • You may have to spend a lot of money before the gavel is dropped. But live auctions do raise a lot of money even though they may not fit every occasion. Many events combine a live auction with a silent auction to provide a wider range of items and the opportunity for each guest to bid at their comfort level.

Online Charity Auctions

An online auction is a “website” auction accessed through the Internet by a computer, a tablet, or any web-enabled device. Items are listed with a description and image, on dedicated websites like Charity Auctions Today, Bidding for Good, and other similar donation websites. Fundraisers can also build their own online auction sites as part of their regular website, or as a standalone link. With online auctions, bidders can bid anytime, anywhere.

There are many companies offering online auctions who provide a turn-key package – supplying the expertise, custom bidding sites, the items, and all the services to hold an auction. Typically, these online bidding sites are live for periods from one week up to a month, or even longer. When the event times out, the winning bidders pay and receive their items.

Online auctions of this type are popular, but not the best way to raise money. By hiring a reputable firm, you can have the entire event managed without fundraising volunteers or committees.

While you may enjoy this level of convenience, what you miss is the social interaction and excitement of a live event that in most cases delivers better results. And while most online auction companies are reputable, stories persist about those companies who simply want to use their clients’ entities to raise money, then turn over a small portion of the returns to the cause.

Silent Auctions

Of all the auction formats, the silent auction has benefited most through the universal acceptance of smartphones and mobile technology.

Before the use of mobile technology, silent auctions were time-consuming and required many volunteers to manage:

  1. Items were displayed with guests crowded around bid sheets, surveying the items and writing down bids.
  2. Bidders continually found their way back to the silent auction table to check whether they had been outbid, and then placed another bid to stay in the running.
  3. When the bidding closed, volunteers gathered the bid sheets, deciphered the bidding and the billing, and then announced the winners and manually produced invoices.
  4. Winners lined up to pay and receive their items.

Bid sheet style silent auctions offer unique challenges and yet their popularity persists. Technology, however, is making silent auctions easier to manage, as mobile bidding and instant updates make the bidding happen quickly and feverishly.

What makes new silent auction bidding platforms attractive to savvy fundraisers is the convenience of managing their own auctions from setup to close and saving the expense of consultants and technicians.​

Within the last decade, several companies began to develop platforms that introduced new convenience to the silent auction process, allowing guests to access auctions, review items, and then bid – initially from shared tablets.

This advance increased silent auction bidding substantially and relieved some of the confusion of jostling to access a bid sheet by allowing bidders to respond to outbids from their tablets.

But these early systems had not yet solved the biggest challenge – the dreaded close.

Today, advanced mobile bidding platforms have moved beyond shared tablets. Bidders have the convenience of signing into a charity silent auction by texting a special number, where they can review items, bid, and answer re-bid alerts from their phones.

A few programs have solved chaotic closings by issuing detailed invoices seconds after the event ends, giving winners the option of paying from their phones. Payment triggers a receipt used to retrieve their items.

An optional feature requests credit card info upfront processes all winners’ cards immediately at close, and issues receipts for product pickup.

MobilBid, as a full-featured, scalable product, contains all of these features. Our advanced software options let you design and build an auction that not only reflects your style and brand but also allows you to build an auction to suit your needs. Cached bidding analytics and guest contact information helps fundraisers plan future events.

Whether your auction is live or silent, using mobile bidding, it’s important to choose a style and format to suit your needs.

Silent Charity Auctions: Fundraising Goes Mobile

Try mobile bidding at your next silent auction

So, you want to have a silent charity auction, but you aren’t sure where to start? You’ve been to a silent auction event or two, with paper bid sheets and guests clumping together, all trying to outbid their neighbour.

Or perhaps you’ve attended a silent auction, where a team of technicians has overseen an auction that featured mobile bidding on shared tablets or smartphones?

Well, now there is a third option that is rapidly gaining popularity. New mobile bidding platforms with advanced features and technology let you manage your own auction from start to finish at a fraction of the usual cost. And your guests use their personal smartphones to participate.

Which of these silent option ideas will you choose?

The popularity of Silent Charity Auctions

In the mid-20th century, silent charity auctions became the norm for fundraising events from large formal black-tie galas to small town charities, with parent groups raising money for schools or sports teams – and everything in between.

Modern mobile bidding innovations lead to increased guest participation, more bidding, and better- much better- results.​

Let’s face it – silent auctions made sense. To raise funds, all a fundraising group really needed was a cause, a crowd, and a display of popular auction items with paper bid sheets and pencils. This “paper system” remained the silent charity auction way for decades.

Silent Charity Auctions Come of Age

The age of technology and the universal use of computers and tablets dramatically transformed traditional silent charity auctions. Early on, charity fundraisers and non-profits suddenly had the option of electronic bidding platforms.

Initially, auctions were built by the system suppliers who also supplied technical teams to manage the events. Guests usually participated by sharing tablets to bid on auction items. Generally, closings and billings were still manual and time-consuming.

So, even though these early silent charity auction programs were easier to manage, and had the potential to be more successful, much of the raised funds were lost to consulting and management fees.

Fortunately for fundraisers, this older model of mobile bidding systems has been replaced by an advanced mobile platform, which combines the desirable features of mobile bidding with the convenience of self-administration.

Enter the Smartphone

Mobile technology makes it easier for fundraisers to design and build their own auctions. The popularity of smartphones lets guests participate, bid, and even pay, using their own phones.

New mobile bidding platforms dramatically reduce the administration required, enhance the guest experience, make less work for volunteers, and lead to better –much better – results.

The MobilBid Difference

Our company has been designing innovative online giving products for North American schools and non-profits for almost two decades. After a close study of the mobile silent charity auction offerings available, we felt we could provide a better, full-featured mobile bidding product at a cost within reach of almost all fundraisers.

With the help of several professional fundraisers and a few prominent non-profits, we decided to design and build our own product.

MobilBid offers:

  • Advanced features with easy to use software
  • Scalability for use at events large and small
  • Self-administered to eliminate the expense of technicians
  • An exciting guest bidding experience
  • Priced within the reach of any fundraiser looking to use mobile bidding.

While MobilBid was designed for use at live events, some clients have found the unique mobile features make it an excellent choice for online auctions.​

Research indicates that the three major challenges of silent charity auctions are guest registration, engagement, and checkout.

Registration

It’s no secret that convincing guests to participate in conventional paper-based silent charity auctions can be a challenge. Sure, most people are willing to review items, maybe even place an opening bid, but to track bidding and check for outbids requires donors to constantly revisit the silent auction items display to review paper bid sheets. This process is disruptive and can be chaotic, particularly in those few minutes before closing.

MobilBid offers three registration options:

  • With attendee contact information, organizers can email guests and pre-register them for the auction. Opening the auction in the preview mode lets guests review items and build their preferred lists for bidding on the day of the event.
  • At the event, placing posters or cards displaying the basic rules and the special registration phone number encourages guests to participate by simply texting the phone number on their mobile phone. The text triggers an immediate response inviting them to register for the auction. There are no complicated apps to download or QR codes to interpret.
  • A third option allows volunteers to register guests as they arrive.

Engagement

An important success factor of any silent charity auction is keeping guests engaged and bidding. MobilBid instantly sends outbid alerts to let guests know they have been outbid. Guests simply respond with a keystroke. This encourages participation, friendly competition, and increased bidding.

MobilBid offers unlimited text messaging with each event used to update guests and highlight items and features. The leaderboard feature using monitors or large screens tracks the bidding and is a great way to recognize volunteers and sponsors.

MobilBid captures guest contact information and cached bidding and performance analytics to help plan future events.​

Checkout

Any fundraiser or volunteer will tell you the major challenge of any silent charity auction is checkout. At paper-based silent charity auctions, when the auction ends, volunteers spring into action picking up bid sheets, deciphering the hand-written bidding, and then determining winners and preparing information for printed invoices. Some large events require hours to close.

The MobilBid platform:

  • Automatically tracks results by the bidder, so the moment the auction closes, the system begins sending detailed invoices to the winners.
  • Notices include a prompt allowing mobile payment.
  • Payment issues a receipt used to retrieve the won items. This automatic process not only saves time, but it also eliminates mistakes made by manual tabulation bidding information.

Bidders can also choose to lineup and pay with cash, cheque, or credit card.

An optional feature requests credit card information when guests place their first bid. Then at the close, the system immediately processes all the cards held by winning bidders and issues detailed receipts used to pick up the winning items.

Raise More Money

Mobile silent charity auctions simply raise more money. The popularity of self-administered auction platforms will continue to grow as more fundraisers discover that these easy-to-use systems offer all the benefits of mobile bidding at a fraction of the normal cost.