I am lucky to live between Boston and Vermont. I am especially lucky that when I am in Vermont, away from the fray, I am able to look out over my farm and my garden and reflect . It is a practice that I highly recommend, whatever your view.
In fundraising, as in life, it is incredibly important to take the time to reflect on what has happened, to peel things back and take a hard look at what has worked and what has not. While there are still lots of galas taking place in May and June, March and April are the busiest months of the year in the auction fundraising world. At BiddingForGood, we have had the two most successful months on record in terms of dollars raised and number of bidders participating in auctions and events.
That’s all well and good. And we are the first to recommend that hard-working auction committee folks take the time to celebrate their victories, congratulate themselves and their colleagues on a job well done and generally de-compress after the intensity and pressure of mounting a successful event. While we hope that all of our customers have had successful outcomes, that is not always the case. There are any number of factors that can make or break your event. The size and quality of the auction catalog can make a huge difference. The weather, the calendar of competing events in your community, and the general state of the world can all have a bearing on how you did.
There are some things that you cannot affect or change. But there are certainly some things that you can rethink. We recommend that you take a hard look at every aspect of your event from the venue, to the entertainment, the quality of the auction catalog, the layout of the room and even your promotion plan. Did you sell as many tickets as you had planned? Did one aspect of your event work harder than others? Did your paddle up this year deliver especially well? If you had an auctioneer or master of ceremonies, did they command the attention of the room and your attendees? What would you do differently next time? If you are passing the reins to someone else for the next event, the greatest gift you can give them is to capture the learning’s and the information from this season’s event. BiddingForGood provides an end of auction report to every customer that captures all of the data around their auction from winning bidders, to tickets sold, to sponsors and donors and value of the items in your catalog. The list of reports is long and comprehensive. But we are often surprised at how few people really look at the reports. There is gold in them thar reports and we don’t want you to miss it.
So after you’ve popped the champagne and put your feet up, roll up your sleeves again and dig into what actually happened. Be honest with yourself and your team about what really worked and what didn’t. And then commit to make it better the next time around. If you are a customer of BiddingForGood, we plan to be right there with you, doing everything we can to learn and evolve and do things better.
Here’s to your fundraising success!