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How Do You Get the Right Items for Your Event? The Secret to Great Items is Knowing Your Audience!

How well do you know your event audience?

It’s a simple question but knowing your audience and working off that knowledge to plan your event makes all the difference. For instance, understanding your audience can help you curate hot auction items that bring in high bids. Let’s take a closer look at that.

Let’s look at The Story of Jeff. Jeff, for all purposes, is fictional. Jeff is attending a fundraiser for a conservation fund. Jeff is a major conservationist, a known lover of animals, and a passionate and educated voice in your community for habitat restoration and minimizing environmental impact. There are three auction packages at your event:

  1. Oceano Coastal Dune Buggy Week Get Away

  2. Skydiving adventure for 2

  3. 2 Week Intensive Maldives Sea Turtle Conservation Guided Trip

What packages do you think Jeff will bid on? Jeff is known for his generosity in bidding high and often and has won some great trips in your previous galas, and always donates to your mission regardless of if he wins. We all know Jeff is probably going to bid on package number 3, since the first one can cause high negative impact to marine habitat, and he’s not a skydiver. Right? Right. Knowing that about Jeff, let’s add in Cassie. Cassie is known for her work with equine charities and recovery centers. Cassie is very open about her sobriety and she’s an avid reader. Just like Jeff, Cassie is known to bid high and bid generously. Your other auction packages are:

4. Chincoteague Island Wild Pony experience with Vineyard and Winery Tour

5. Globe-Trotting in the World of Tolkien, a two week horseback tour of New Zealand

6. A Walk With The Greats: a seven day tour of Irish literary sites and whiskey distilleries.

Cassie might bid on package number 5. She probably won’t bid on 4 or 6, and she probably won’t bid on 1-3. Jeff might bid on any of the packages 3-6, but they’re not necessarily the kind of thing he’s bid on in the past. There probably won’t be any friendly bid-wars between Cassie and Jeff.

Think of your auction offerings as needing to meet in the middle of a Venn diagram. What’s something both Jeff and Cassie would be interested in? As you spend more time with your donors and sponsors, you’ll be able to start curating packages that appeal to the Cassies and Jeffs of your audience. You may have a wildcard in your audience who bids on everything and has a wide range of interests like Mildred, who is 80, spry and likes to party, drink, ride dune buggies, skydive, and loves Irish poetry and horses. Mildred sounds like an interesting donor, but not every event will have a Mildred.

Mildred does look like a lot of fun though.

When it comes time to start curating your auction packages, take a look at your high bidders and winners from previous auctions. Do you have multiple Jeffs, Cassies, and maybe an occasional Mildred or two in your audience? Why should they spend their hard earned money at your event? Well, if you get the right packages for the right bidders, they will happily support your mission for that incredible trip.

When you know your audience, you can get a better footing on what to look for when it’s time to get your auction packages together. Remember, you will likely only have about 5% of your audience securing a package in the LIVE auction. However, the live auction is likely to bring in a substantial portion of your total gross revenue. Live auctions are the 2nd highest grossing revenue stream in your event. So focus on what your donors want. And if you are having trouble figuring that out….ASK THEM. They’ll tell you, and likely have a connection to where they can get it as well.

Still need help? Reach out to us and we can help facilitate a brainstorming party for you and your guests!


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