Charitable giving has undergone numerous necessitated changes over the past few years. Innovation is becoming increasingly more important for their success as the climate for fundraising has become more competitive for nonprofits as they face an over-saturated market and an economy with less disposable income.
If you have experience supporting a nonprofit, you’ve probably attended a gala fundraiser or two. Galas are a great way for nonprofits to showcase their cause and renew inspiration in the mission of the organization. Galas provide an opportunity to bring in new donors, and they allow current donors to enjoy the fun, social side of philanthropy. The key is guest experience, which ultimately turns those guests into reliable supporters.
Call it a trend or a growing awareness but many nonprofits’ are incorporating auction technology into their charitable events to outshine their competition and retain their donors. Here’s how it works:
No More Lines
Guest experience begins and ends at the door. The last thing you want after working tirelessly for months on end is to have frustrating lines at registration and check out, leaving a less than stellar impression on your guests. By using technology at your event, guest name badges are preprinted with their bidder number, table information, and a barcode. Check in and check out is as easy as scanning a barcode, swiping a credit card and you’re on your way.
Enhanced Silent Auctions and Engaged Donors
Venues aren’t always the most accommodating spaces for silent auctions. A small room filled with a hundred or more auction items, bids handwritten on a sheet of paper located near the item that you and every other guest are trying to get to. Guests will typically cruise the silent auction displays upon arrival, but once they’ve seen it, they don’t go back. This means money is left on the table. The most common feedback we hear is “we wish we would have known we were outbid” or “it was too much trouble to get back to the table.”
By far, the biggest advantage with auction technology is how easy it is to bid. Wireless bidsheet tablets are placed in front of all of the auction items, so the current high bid is visible and the touch screen makes it easy to place or raise bids. Just enter your bidder number and touch the amount you would like to bid, confirm and you’re done. Guests can also register their smartphones, bid on handheld devices, or at kiosk stations placed throughout the event space so they can browse, bid, and monitor bids while grabbing a cocktail and mingling with friends. Guests using smartphones will also get alerts when they have been outbid.
Increased Participation and Revenue
It’s common sense. A greater number of bids on an item drives the price higher, which means more money for your charity. Because auction technology is so accessible, it allows guests to be more active participants as well as fostering a sense of friendly competition.
The Fund-A-Need or Special Appeal portion of the program is very effective for generating significant revenue within minutes. The energy created in the room is vital for the success of the Fund-A-Need. Traditionally, the auctioneer creates this energy, but we’ve seen increased success by incorporating a Donation Tracker and Donation Tablets.
The Donation Tracker is used on stage providing guests with real-time tracking of donations and recognizes guests for their contributions. Donation Tablets are used at the tables and are passed around by guests who can donate electronically through the device. This encourages participation from people who wouldn't normally hold up their bidder number, as well as competitive patrons trying to outdo one another.
Instant Feedback and Eliminates Inaccuracies
With digitally recorded bids, you can instantly get a sense for how well your silent auction is doing, and make adjustments to items that aren’t getting bids. This process also eliminates human error and the recording of incorrect bid amounts or bidder identities.
Because you look like a Boss
Plain and simple: technology is fun, sleek, and sexy. It’s impressive to your guests, and provides an environment that mirrors the instant gratification most people have become accustomed to in their everyday lives. However, bringing technology to your event can be an investment, especially when you’re running on a tight budget and every penny counts. If you don’t think your nonprofit can afford technology at your fundraising event, we have ideas to make it happen. Our technology has many screen displays to feature sponsors or advertisers; soliciting corporate underwriting prior to the event is a great way to cut down on your costs.
The bottom line is that fundraising galas take enormous effort to plan and prepare for. Bringing technology to an event helps to make all that effort worth it by providing guests with a flawless, high-quality experience. A mission that is effectively communicated and a clear set of goals will drive donors to give, and the technology will allow them to do so with ease and satisfaction.