Does the thought of organizing ANOTHER silent auction keep you up at night? Make you feel fatigued?
It should. They have LOUSY return on investment. Do the math. Add up the hours required to finding and retrieving items, pricing, writing and framing descriptions, displaying, assembling auction book (while items are coming in), and disturbing guests for bidding. Now add in the days you spent coordinating the checkout and gaggle of volunteers. Don’t forget to include the fact that a wonderful evening ends by requiring guests to stand in line.
Looking for Great Fundraising Ideas?
Try these at your event or gala this year, and you’ll be happier with returns:
- hold a live raffle every 30 minutes — your most obnoxious friend will make it F-U-N
- set up a marketplace of Haitian goods
- have a table to sign up guests to visit Haiti with your team to see your work in action; this creates long-term donors who become emotionally and physically connected
First, make sure holding a nonprofit raffle is doable in your state. Here is a great article that details specifics. Silent auctions have certain legal requirements too.
Purchase a roll of raffle tickets under $5 bucks at Walmart; sell tickets during the cocktail portion of your evening — pairs of middle school children with bright shiny faces are perfect ticket sales reps (hold a contest — most tickets sold earns that pair a special treat).
Identify items; solicit donation or purchase (you’ll make money even if you purchase wholesale). Display items & allow people to purchase tickets from the table (for example, one for $20, 3 for $50)
Good list of items to raffle — start raffling smaller items, work towards a crescendo over the evening:
- leather purse from Haiti Design Co-op
- metal art from Singing Rooster
- gift card to local restaurant or store
- big screen TV (Best Buy has super discounted, open box tvs)
- travel (people with a timeshare love to give those away)
Next, decide when / how you’ll raffle. Raffle 3 items back to back every 30-minutes during the later half of the cocktail hour? Raffle all items during dessert?
Marketplace of Haitian Goods:
There’s no amount of check cashing that’s going to change Haiti long-term. Haitians need jobs, access to markets, to sell crops and other goods (but mostly crops).
Your table of Haitian goods will inform consumers the importance buying habits: change your cup, change a nation. Great items for your Haitian marketplace:
- clay necklaces and coffee mugs from Papillion
- coffee and chocolate bars from Singing Rooster
- canvas totes or baskets from 2nd Story
- scarfs and hats from Haiti Made
Set up a table to sign up guests to visit Haiti with your team to see your work in action; this creates long-term supporters who become emotionally and physically connected.
Have a video and or photos of your work along with take-home literature. Then work hard with those new recruits to develop with your Haitian partners ways to begin or continue self-sustaining measures.