I once did an auction for someone in less than a month. From concept, to procurement, to picking location, to EVERYTHING – in less than a month. Luckily, it was VERY successful. We were lucky. I do not recommend doing it that way AT ALL, in fact 12 months out is probably the average amount of time people spend on planning their big fundraiser. Over the next month or so, I am going to put together a YEAR-OUT timeline that will detail some of the things that need to get done in that time frame. It is a broad list, and everything may not apply to you and your event, or organization. This first one 10-12 MONTHS out.
- Hire a professional auctioneer. And make sure you set up an initial consultation, so you can go over concepts, and get to know the person you have hired.
- Pick a date and venue – Some venues are booked 2 years out! Also start thinking about possible themes for your event, and revenue enhancers you may want to include at your event.
- Select an auction chairperson – The person who will be able to answer questions and most importantly make decisions.
- Establish a budget – Make sure it is reasonable and your spending is in line with what your group and guests can afford.
- Think about an admission price to your event. Remember it is a fundraiser, so set the price at a point to where the seats will be filled. Selling out is a good problem to have – unless the price was TOO low.
- Establish fundraising goals – Make sure it is reasonable and your goals are in line with what your group and guests will be willing to donate.
- Develop a marketing plan. How are you going to get the RIGHT people in the seats? You also need to explore your donor base to see who in the past has spent money at your event.
- Pick committee members. People who will get things done, under your direction. They understand the mission, and understand the point of the fundraiser.
- PROCURE, PROCURE, PROCURE