Does your nonprofit use FundlyPro? Do you want to potentially receive twice as many donations during your crowdfunding campaign?
If so, keep reading! FundlyPro has integrated with Double the Donation, the leading matching gift software provider.
This integration enables nonprofits to promote matching gifts to their supporters after a donation has been made.
Let’s run through what the process will look like for your donors.
First, a donor will arrive on your FundlyPro donation page.
Once they click on “Donate Now,” the FundlyPro donation page will appear. Donors will input their personal and credit card information.
Once the donor clicks “Make Your Donation,” they will see a confirmation page. This is where the donor will be able to use Double the Donation’s matching gift search tool.
In this example, our donor works at Bank of America. When they start typing in their employer’s name, they will see matching gift information that is specific to that company.
Donors can learn more about their company’s matching gift program including information about:
- Contact information
- Minimum and maximum match amounts
- Match ratios
- Employee eligibility
- Nonprofit eligibility
- Submission processes
- And more!
FundlyPro’s integration with Double the Donation makes it easier for your donors to research their employer’s matching gift program and complete the necessary steps to submit match requests.
This means that your nonprofit could potentially raise twice as much during your crowdfunding campaign’s duration!
If you haven’t set up a FundlyPro account yet, you can do so here.
For more information about Double the Donation’s services, click here.
There are many fundraising events that your nonprofit could host, but if you’re looking for the perfect event to ramp up your fundraising and better engage your donors, look no further than the silent auction.
Silent auctions can be some of the most successful fundraising events around.
Why, you might ask? Well…
- There’s a built-in incentive. The opportunity to walk home with a coveted auction item is a strong motivator for people to attend and to donate!
- There’s the ideal engagement opportunity. Not only is bidding a fun and interactive activity that’s excellent for capturing your guests’ attention, but your organization will also have plenty of time to mingle with attendees. Think of all the valuable information you could glean to help your future fundraising!
The benefits don’t stop there, but as you can see, hosting a silent auction can bring both your fundraising and donor stewardship to the next level.
The problems lies in the fact that silent auctions are complex events, making them relatively difficult to plan over other fundraisers.
Don’t worry too much, though. All it takes to run a successful silent auction is some careful preparation!
Our How-To Guide will take you step by step through the planning process, including:
- Setting a goal and budget.
- Recruiting a team.
- Booking a venue.
- Procuring auction items.
- Advertising your items and event.
- Hosting the event.
- Following up properly.
1. Set a goal and budget.
Planning your silent auction will be much simpler if your organization has a clear idea of what you’re working towards and which resources you have at your disposal to help you get there.
In other words, the first step to planning will be setting a goal and a budget.
Start by setting a clear and achievable fundraising goal. You should be setting two types of goals:
- A financial goal. Obviously, the main purpose of your event is to raise funds! Consider your campaign goals, the scope of your event, and the financial capacity of your constituents to support your cause when setting a fiscal goal.
- A stewardship goal. Chances are, your organization is hoping to establish new donor relationships and build on existing ones through hosting your event. While it may not be as clearly defined, set a stewardship goal so your staff will have a structure in place for cultivating donors.
Once you have your goals in mind, it’s time to get down to setting a budget. Of course, you’ll want to factor in your goals to ensure that where you set your budget will bring you a healthy return on your event.
Your budget will depend largely on the needs of your organization and which materials you might be able to receive as donations, but here are some expenses you might need to factor in:
- Software: Auction, event planning, and/or mobile bidding.
- A venue.
- Auction items.
- Supplies (tables, decorations, etc.).
- Staff hours.
Try to anticipate all possible expenses, and make sure you leave yourself a little wiggle room in case you run into any unforeseen costs.
The takeaway: By establishing a goal and budget, your organization will have set parameters in place that will help you make sure your event is profitable.
Bonus: Need some help with your event planning? Check out Booster’s Essential Event Checklist.
2. Recruit a team.
Because silent auctions are complex in nature and planning will be a little more involved than with other fundraising events, you’ll need a large, dedicated team on your side to make sure that everything gets done.
Alongside your staff, you’ll likely need plenty of volunteers for your silent auction planning and execution to run smoothly.
Staff or volunteer, here are some of the key teams and individuals you’ll need to recruit:
- Auction chair(s). The auction chair (or chairs) will be the boss. Along with recruiting and managing your team, they’ll keep up all event-related documents and have final say over all event decision-making.
- Procurement chair and team. The procurement chair and their team will be tasked with one of the most important duties: soliciting auction items. They’ll request donations, as well as track and package items, arrange pickup and delivery, and set up the display on the night of the event.
- Check-in and check-out team. The check-in/check-out team will take care of all duties related to setting up the event space, registering guests, and facilitating check-out and item distribution.
- Ticket chair. The ticket chair will be responsible for selling as many tickets to your event as possible. They’ll manage both in-person ticket sales and those made through your online event site.
- Emcee. The emcee will host the silent auction and program. They should be energetic and entertaining and actively engage your attendees by making announcements throughout the auction.
- Auction monitors. Auction monitors will help the emcee facilitate the auction. They’ll walk around the room to answer bidders’ questions, enforce the rules, and encourage more bid activity.
These are just the team members essential to all silent auctions, but your organization might need people to fill more roles depending on the scope and format of your event.
In any case, make sure that you’ll have enough hands to cover all of your bases!
The takeaway: Thoroughly staff your event to ensure that you’ll have enough people dedicated to all aspects of your silent auction planning and execution.
3. Book a venue.
Now that you’ve prepared internally for planning your auction, it’s time to start pinning down the details!
Around 8-12 months before the event, your team should book a venue. Booking early should give you ample options to choose from and time to work out any kinks that may arise.
There are many types of spaces that make suitable silent auction venues; all that matters is that you’ll have plenty of open space for arranging your items and that your space fits with your organization and the ambience of the event.
For example, if you were hosting a gala, a museum might be the most appropriate event space. If, on the other hand, you were hosting a family-friendly back-to-school night, your school cafeteria or gym would probably work just fine.
Another thing to keep in mind while booking a venue is the availability of your guests.
The dates you can choose will be somewhat limited by the price and openness of the event space, but if possible, aim for a weekend or a weeknight, when guests who work full time will be able to attend. Additionally, avoid holidays and summer months when people are traveling and are more likely to be tied up with social events.
The takeaway: By booking a venue early, you should have plenty of options, so you can pick the venue and time that best fits your organization and constituents.
4. Procure auction items.
Without items to auction off, your organization would have no way to raise money at your event!
As such, procuring auction items is easily one of the most important parts of planning your silent auction.
Send your team out as early as possible to begin requesting in-kind donations. Have them start with professional and personal connections, then branch out to other local businesses or venues.
When procuring auction items, your team should be keeping an eye out for the most competitive items. These items will be:
- Appealing to your guests. Your guests aren’t going to bid on any of your items if they don’t want them! Obviously, to see the most bid activity, you’ll want to choose items that appeal to your guests’ interests and demographics.
- Appropriately priced. The items you choose should also fit into your attendees’ general income level. Guests aren’t going to bid on items that fall way above their price range.
- Rare or unique. When the items that you offer aren’t widely available (or even better, aren’t available anywhere else!), they’re sure to spark bidding wars among your guests!
It can be helpful to send your team out with a list of item ideas, so they’ll know what to look out for as they’re procuring items.
If you need a few ideas, make sure to check out BidPal’s list of 115 auction items!
The takeaway: Requesting auction items as in-kind donations couldn’t be more important to the success of your event. Choose which items you procure wisely!
5. Advertise your items and event.
If you want people to attend your auction, you’ll have to get the word out!
However, promoting your silent auction will be a little different than promotion for your other fundraising events. To see the most success, you’ll need to advertise both your auction items and the event itself.
Why, you might ask? Remember how we mentioned earlier that auction items provide great incentive for people to attend and bid at your event?
Promoting your auction items in advance should result in a bigger turnout, since people won’t want to miss out on the chance to win the amazing items your team has procured!
The best way to promote both your items and the event is by putting up an online event site.
These sites are generated through auction software and allow you to list all of the important information about your items and auction, such as:
- Basic details about the event (date, time, location, etc.).
- A description of your organization and silent auction (including where you’re allocating the proceeds).
- Corporate sponsor advertising.
- The name and number of each auction item.
- A short description of each item (including restrictions).
- The starting bid, minimum raise, and market value amounts.
- The name of the item’s donor.
- Images of each item (where applicable).
Putting up an online event site is more cost-effective, expedient, and environmentally-friendly than compiling a physical auction catalog. Plus, it will give you additional functionality—such as opening up online bidding, accepting standard donations, and pre-registering guests’ credit cards for mobile bidding—that will help streamline your event and make it more profitable.
Once you’re done setting up your site, just remember to share the link on your organization’s website and in all communications about your silent auction to start hyping up your event!
The takeaway: Advertising both your silent auction and your auction items will result in a bigger turnout at your event, and thus, ensure more revenue is generated to fund your mission.
6. Host the event.
The long-awaited day of your silent auction has arrived, and your team is ready to start showing guests a night they’ll never forget.
However, your planning isn’t quite done yet. You’ll want to have all of the necessary team members at the venue well in advance of when the auction starts to set up the event space.
While certainly not an exhaustive list, here are some of the main tasks you’ll need to take care of:
- Set up registration and check-out areas.
- Arrange display tables in a way that promotes good traffic flow.
- Group your auction items into categories and place them on tables (remember: stick to one row per table!).
- Print out table tents detailing the name, description, number, starting bid, minimum raise, and market value for each item, and place them next to their respective items.
- Put signs around the room to help bidders navigate your display.
- Double check the sound system.
- Get your software set up, and make sure your cellular signal is strong and secure so guests can access mobile bidding.
Once it’s time for your guests to start arriving, get all of your volunteers in place and get ready to start hosting!
Your event will probably unfold a little something like this:
- Arrival. As guests come in, your check-in/check-out team will pre-register their credit cards (if attendees haven’t done so on your online event site already) and get them set up with mobile bidding by showing them how to use the software.
- Bidding. Once it’s time for the auction to start, open up the bidding! Guests can browse items—either by consulting their phones or wandering around your display—and place bids directly from their phones. Silent auction bidding usually lasts for around two hours.
- Program. Now that most of your guests have arrived, have your emcee catch their attention to give a short program. The program should welcome guests, give them a brief description of your organization and why you’re hosting the event, and highlight some big ticket sellers up for auction.
- Close items. Your mobile bidding app will shut down bidding on all items and determine winners once it’s time for the auction to close.
- Check-out and item distribution. If you’re using mobile bidding, winning guests will automatically be charged, so there’s no need to worry about check-out. All that’s required from your team will be to verify payments and get the winners their items!
Congratulations! You and your team have made it to the end of a successful silent auction. You’ll still need to clean up the event space, but don’t forget to take some time to pop open the bubbly and celebrate a job well done!
The takeaway: The day of your silent auction, you and your team should be at the event space early to take care of setup. Make sure that all necessary tools and hands are in place so that your auction runs as smoothly as possible.
7. Follow up properly.
Although your event is over, there’s still one important step left.
To reap the fruits of all of your hard work, it’s important to follow up properly. The proper follow-up will include three important components:
- Send out thank-yous. Within 48-hours of your event, you should send out thorough thank-yous to everyone who was involved. Keep in mind that you shouldn’t only be thanking event attendees, but also all other pivotal contributors, such as volunteers, item donors, and corporate sponsors.
- Record new item and donor data. Make sure that you track the winner’s name and winning bid amount for each item, as well as any new donor data you’ve received. If you’re using auction software, item and bidder information should automatically be recorded. However, you’ll probably still need to export any new donor data you’ve received into your CRM.
- Track your goals. To ensure your auction was a success and to improve your planning for next year, you’ll need to track your goals. Use your auction or event planning software to run reports, which will give you insights into which areas of your auction were successful and which might need some improvement.
Let’s back up for a minute and discuss why the proper follow up is so important.
Thanking your donors goes beyond common courtesy. Making them feel appreciated for their contributions will be key to cementing more valuable, long term relationships.
These relationships will help you procure more items and see a bigger turnout next year, as well as improve your fundraising all around.
Additionally, it’s crucial to take the time to reflect internally on your event. Tracking your goals is the only way that your organization can evaluate your success and hone your tactics so you can see even more success when hosting an auction in the future.
In simpler terms, following up has long term consequences on your fundraising. Don’t neglect this important step!
The takeaway: The proper follow up after your silent auction will set you up for future success and include sending out thank-yous, recording new data from your event, and tracking your goals.
Bonus: Check out Fundly’s article on writing the perfect donor acknowledgement letter.
The only way to run a silent auction is to get out there and do it for yourself!
However, we hope that our How-To Guide will help you get well on your way to planning the most successful event possible.
For more information on silent auctions, make sure to check out BidPal’s website!
What is a CRM you ask?
A CRM is a customer relationship management system, or for nonprofits, a constituent relationship management system.
Asked and answered. Get it now? Probably not.
Maybe you know about CRMs in terms of the corporate world, but don’t understand how they translate to the nonprofit sector.
Maybe you are entirely new to the whole concept and have no sense of what CRMs do.
Either way, worry not. You are in the right place!
From providing a working definition to detailing who uses CRMs, the aim here is to supply you with a solid foundation of knowledge on these systems, so you can be well-equipped to determine if a CRM is needed in your near fundraising future.
Definition of a Nonprofit CRM
Let’s backtrack a moment and discuss the breakdown of CRM initials that I mentioned earlier.
The ‘R’ and the ‘M’ always stand for relationship management.
The ‘C’ is where things will vary. In the commercial sector the ‘C’ represents customer because the company using the CRM is tracking data for people it provides goods and services for.
Nonprofits don’t provide goods and services, but rather garner support (from volunteers, donors, board members, etc.) in order to serve a cause or execute a philanthropic mission. Due to this, the ‘C’ in nonprofit CRMs stands for constituents. Any supporter or receiver of the nonprofit’s service is considered a constituent in a CRM system.
Let’s take a closer look at what a CRM actually is and does.
CRMs can be thought of as one of two options:
- a software
- a system
Option A: CRM as a software
When people say CRM software, they’re describing a singular, central software entity that stores, manages, and reports on all organizational data.
Does it sound too good to be true? That’s because it is.
A smaller organization may be able to get away with using one type of software with no outside tools, but that is not realistic for a larger nonprofit.
The correlation is simple. As a nonprofit grows, so too do its CRM needs.
Which brings us to…
Option B: CRM as a system
This option takes the software and builds on it, adding on and increasing functionality.
Think about it this way. A single person buys a 2-bedroom home. This is plenty of space for her, she has a bedroom and a home-office. Two years later, she gets married. The space starts to feel smaller. Three years pass and she’s just had twins. The family has outgrown the space.
Instead of moving, since the house’s lot is big enough, the family has an addition built. Without having to handle a big move, the family’s house has evolved to their needs.
A CRM system can adapt and evolve to an organization’s needs, whereas a software is stuck in 2-bedroom house territory.
The system is a combination of numerous software that coordinates together to manage nonprofit data and fulfill organizational needs. A CRM system will include the baseline software as well as integrations and various other support tools.
The phrase ‘nonprofit data’ might seem vague, so let’s delve further into that while we discuss CRM function.
How does a CRM function in an organization?
A nonprofit CRM system should hold data on all constituents, including:
- board members
- business affiliates
- service recipients
- event attendees
The details you acquire on each of these constituent types is going to vary depending on circumstance and depth of any existing interactions.
Generally speaking, a nonprofit donor database should have the following details stored and tracked:
- basic personal information on constituents (name, phone number, email, address)
- volunteer hours
- constituent communications notes
- records on constituent past involvement with the organization
A nonprofit CRM will not only hold all of that data, but it puts it to good use.
Database capabilities are not standard across the industry, but many provide communication portals, donation tracking, event management, and much more.
It is important to remember that not all CRMs allow for unlimited team access, some only offer a set number of seats. If you’re looking at a constituent management system that does not offer unlimited seats, you’ll have to determine how many employees need access and make sure that number at a minimum is met.
What organizations use a constituent relationship management system?
Briefly put, most organizations use one.
Even those organizations that don’t have a CRM explicitly, have to have some sort of data tracking system in place, like an excel sheet.
When nonprofits outgrow the excel sheet, they make the switch to CRMs.
Constituent relationship management software is used by nonprofits of varying sizes and types, such as:
- Educational institutions — K-12 schools, community colleges, universities
- Healthcare organizations — hospitals, clinics, hospices
- Faith-based groups — churches, mosques, synagogues
- Arts, culture, and humanities organizations — theaters, museums, performance groups
- Greek organizations — sororities and fraternities
Essentially, if you have a pool of donors, volunteers, and general supporters that you need to keep track of and effectively coordinate communications with, it is crucial to have a good nonprofit CRM in place.
Commonly Used CRM terms
The terms constituent, software, and system have already been discussed at length, but there are a few more phrases that commonly arise in conversations surrounding CRMs that you should know.
- Donor Database — This is a blanket term that refers to a central location where all pertinent donor information is stored. A donor database can be anything from an excel sheet to a high-quality CRM.
- Campaign Creation — A CRM can help run a fundraising campaign from start to finish. It can start by sending out the emails and then conclude by automating the acknowledgments.
- Report Generation — Transparency is a nonprofit necessity. A CRM will efficiently create accurate reports for nonprofits to show donors, board members, the government, etc.
The second and third terms are part of CRMs’ overall capabilities.
Nonprofit employees are perpetually busy, with responsibilities spread far and wide. Funding, time, and energy are all diminishing resources. A well-run nonprofit CRM is a game-changing tool. It can carry much of your staff’s busy work and then some, so that your team is freed up to carry out your organization’s mission.
Let’s be honest, asking people for money is difficult. Really, really difficult.
What’s even worse? Asking grumpy people for money.
Donors are much more receptive to asks when they are in good moods. Whodathunkit?
So take advantage of the happiest season of the year — summer!
Summer is a great time to engage with donors. The sun is shining, the weather is good, and daylight lasts forever.
It is a season that beckons people outside, so heed the call.
Use these suggestions to capitalize on the summer season and get your community outside and donating!
#1 HOST A BLOCK PARTY
A block party is a one-stop shop for summer fun. The endless summer nights provide the perfect backdrop for a community gathering that benefits your cause!
Block Parties are what you make them so the vibe and atmosphere will be up to you.
Consider organizing some extra fundraising events to incorporate into the block party and maximize your donations.
I would suggest getting some competition brewing with a watermelon eating contest and a cook-off.
Watermelon is the perfect summer fruit, refreshing and healthy. Donors won’t feel guilty about stuffing their faces with watermelon.
Messy enough to provide a visual badge of honor for those who compete, your contest will be a highlight of the block party.
For those who find the competitive eating world unappealing give them the option of competitive cooking. A cook-off is a great complement to any block party.
Pick a summer classic, like apple pies, burgers, or chili, and get people cooking!
You can have party guests vote using a secret ballot or appoint a judging panel. Just have fun with it!
Look into getting a local chef or cooking supply shop to donate cooking lessons or a gift card to the winner.
Keep the party going late into the night and let your cause reap the financial rewards.
#2 HOST A POOL PARTY
Is a block party not cool enough for you in those hot summer months? Make it a pool party instead. Problem solved!
Pool parties are pretty straight forward. Have pool? Will party.
Just make sure you have your safety bases covered with licensed lifeguards.
Your pool party can be as extravagant as your heart desires. Set up carnival like games near the pool. Have a party-wide round of Marco Polo. Sell snacks from a concessions stand.
#3 ORGANIZE A WATER BALLOON FIGHT
Kids will join in for the fun of it and adults will join in for the nostalgia-fun of it. Establish a designated fight-zone, register competitors, and sell water balloons.
You could even make it a tournament with teams competing for a coveted prize…glory!
#4 COORDINATE A CAR WASH
Car washes are a fundraising standby for a reason. They’re a great way to raise money with little event cost.
They are also an excellent opportunity to expand awareness of your organization.
Make sure your car wash has plenty of signage stating what the proceeds are going towards. You might even want to print off some flyers or brochures to give those who participate additional info on your cause.
#5 HOST A FISH FRY OR BARBEQUE
For this event you’ll have a crew of volunteers and staff manning the grill or fryers. Set up a method of ordering (online, via the phone, in person) and provide made-to-order food.
Your establishment can be take-out style or you can set up some outdoor seating.
Get kitschy if you go the eat-in route, and don’t forget the quintessential summer items like picnic tablecloths and funky plates.
#6 RUN A WALK-A-THON, BIKE-A-THON, OR SWIM-A-THON
Pick whichever of the three you think your community will be most interested and you’ll be off to the races.
Charge a small registration fee and have your participants gather sponsorships for distance walked, biked, or swam.
#7 HOST A WINE TASTING
Find an outdoor venue, get wine donated from local shops, and invite your supporters who are 21+ to pay a minor fee to participate.
People will jump at the chance to sample wine while feeling charitable.
#8 CATER A DINER OR HOST A GALA OUTDOORS
Take advantage of the beautiful weather and bring your higher-end events outside. For example, you could host a garden ball at your community’s botanical gardens.
#9 RUN A SUMMER GOLF TOURNAMENT
Golf tournaments can be very lucrative. Partner with a local golf course and solicit your corporate sponsors and donors to buy spots in the tournament. Make a whole day of it! Start with breakfast and finish with a dinner and silent auction.
#10 ORGANIZE AN OUTDOOR CONCERT
Outdoor concerts are summer staples. It doesn’t matter who the main attraction is, whether its Beyoncé or your cousin Al’s neighborhood band.
A benefit concert is all about having fun and raising money.
#11 COORDINATE A SUMMER FILM SERIES
Reserve a venue, like a park space, for 4 or 5 separate nights. Then pick out a movie for each reserved day that an entire family can enjoy.
Title your series, something like “June Movie Mondays,” and start rolling.
Make sure to advertise and let people know what the ticket sales are accomplishing. You could even sell theater concessions to create an authentic movie-going experience.
For more great information, check out our list of summer camp fundraising ideas!
Once you’ve executed a great summer fundraiser, make sure your organization is fully prepared to keep those hard earned donors.
Donors have more time and energy to get involved in their communities during their summers. Cement your nonprofit’s community presence by making a big fundraising push this summer. Go forth and conquer the season!
Fundly is dedicated to providing you with the tools you need to raise money for whatever your cause may be.