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Ideas For Charity Auction Items: Where to Get Great Packages

April 09, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 189

Your auction committee was excited about the charity auction until the donation rejections piled up.Sound familiar?

Perhaps businesses in your locale are tapped out.Or maybe your group isn't the "premier" organization in town and you're struggling to secure the better auction items.

If you've asked all your friends and family for donations but are still coming up short in the acquisitions area, here are ideas on where to get great items.


Hands down, the best way to raise money in an auction is to sell 100% donated items.But when you can't secure a donated item, you can buy it at a discount.This is called consignment.

Consignors often specialize.Some focus on travel, such as trips, cruises and airfare.Others provide sports and Hollywood memorabilia.One consignor I know sells female-friendly items including jewelry, furs, and handbags.

Most consignors provide the items for a base price, perhaps offering you a $300 handbag for $150.If the handbag sells for $230, your organization makes $80, the spread between $230 and $150.

Tip:Be sure to work with a consignor offering a "no risk" policy, meaning that you won't pay for an item unless it sells.And be sure to check a consignor's references.

The advantage of using is a consignor is obvious -- with one phone call, you can secure interesting new items for your charity auction.But the opportunity cost of using a consignor can be great.Once the money is counted, the consignor may take home more cash than you.


You probably already know that you'll get a higher response on your solicitation letters if you address the letter to a real person."To Whom It May Concern" isn't too effective when you're asking for a great auction item to be donated.

But tracking down the correct person, title, and address can consume hours.Who has that kind of time?

Bypass the work by renting a procurement database.When you rent, the company who owns the database is responsible for keeping contact information current.You craft your letter, the owner of the database oversees the mailing, and you wait for donated items to arrive.

The database also allows you to strategically target submissions.If your guests love spa packages, use the database to mail letters to 500 international spas.Is golf a crowd favorite?Send 1,000 letters to golf courses and merchandisers.Lean heavily on the companies you know your crowd will enjoy.

The advantage of this approach is that your time will be spent crafting a compelling letter instead of updating an outdated procurement database.But don't forget this is a numbers game.The more letters you send, the more donations you'll receive.Don't buy a small portion of the database and expect to hit a procurement homerun.


Once reserved for bridal registries and kids Christmas lists, Amazon Wish List is now used by charities seeking in-kind donations.You can add items to your Wish List from any website, making it easy to track everything in one place.

After you've set-up the list, send email blasts to supporters with a link to your list. This tool might be perfect for those individuals happy to give, but have had no luck procuring donations on their own.

The advantage is convenience.New merchandise shows up on your doorstep!But some nonprofits have found the account tricky to set up.


If your local chain store declines to donate, don't be surprised.Many national chains manage all charity auction donation requests from headquarters.Before driving to your local mall, consider first visiting a corporation's website.

Most companies will have you complete an online donation request form.Many of these forms require similar information, so keep a spreadsheet handy with your organization's particulars (e.g. mission, 501(c)3 number, gala statistics).

After you submit your request, it's a waiting game.Some companies promptly issue you a letter of acceptance and follow it with a donation.Others just send you a donation.Some never respond.

The advantage of this approach is easy -- it's so convenient!Procure donations nationally without speaking to anyone, from the ease of your own computer. But it is time consuming.Applying for, tracking, and following up with each company is an exercise in organization and persistence.

In a nutshell, there are many ways to procure items.The best way is reaching out to those you know to secure a 100% donated item.But when those donors aren't donating, you've got these tools in your back pocket.

(c) 2012 Red Apple Auctions Co.All Rights Reserved.

Fundraising auctioneer Sherry Truhlar has been featured in national publications and television shows for her trend-setting work with nonprofit auctions. She offers auction chairpersons many free resources on her website, including her Annual Auction Item Guide TM, which helps acquisitions committees with procurement. Get your FREE Guide at

Source: EzineArticles
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