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  • Alex Durant

Got Auction Donations? 6 Things To Do Now



Receiving donations for an auction while also trying to plan the event and organize all the details can sometimes lead to information gaps. This has happened to the best of us, but can be totally avoidable.  


There are a few things you can do to help keep things correctly and efficiently documented. These steps were created to help keep you organized; you can follow these steps exactly or create a checklist for your team that’s similar. But whatever you decide to do, we can’t stress having a list of steps and following each step for each donation, every time. 


Add All Details to Donation Tracking

Whatever your donation tracking looks like, add the details of each item or package that comes in every time you receive an auction item. Do not stray! No matter how tempting, don’t make an exception and don’t let a stack of donations sit on your desk piling up. Adding details in your donor tracking system when you receive the item will help ensure that the details are correct and thorough. There’s a lot to be said for entering the information when it’s top of mind. 

File the Donor Form

Each donor should have a form with contact information and donation details. File this form accordingly. Whether it’s an online digital storage or a physical binder, make sure that everyone who needs to file donor forms understands the organization system, file subsets and file hierarchy. Having clear communications about who is filing, when they’re filing and the timeline for filing from receiving donations is incredibly important for staying accurate and organized across the organization. 


Check the Donation Details

This is its own separate item to do because we can’t stress detail-orientation enough. Especially with gift certificates and travel vouchers, make sure to cross-check all the details of donations, including any blackout dates for packages or expiration dates for services. Include these in the donation tracking for showcasing with the donation details during the auction. The easiest way for a consumer to have a bad experience is to bid on and win an item that they aren’t able to end up using. 

Safe Storage, Digital and Physical

Keep all items, once they’re received and properly documented, in a safe place. This might be a physical item that needs to be stored somewhere or a gift certificate that needs to be kept until the auction. We also recommend making a photocopy of all certificates to file with the donor form. Keep these items safe until it’s time for the event; we can’t stress enough the necessity of having the items stored well and kept safe until the auction. If the auction is online, it’s important to keep the items safe until shipping, if necessary. 


Send a Thank You Note

Make sure that before the auction your organization sends a thank you note to the donors. Whether it’s via email or by hand, it can go a long way in making the donor feel appreciated. If you have someone with beautiful handwriting, a handwritten note is an extra special touch! A note on official letterhead? Even better! But in a pinch an email will do as well. Whatever you do, make sure to thank each donor before, during and after the event.


Photography for Digital Auctions

Part of a successful online auction is the quality and quantity of photos. For physical items, make sure that there are photos of each item. Multiple photos of each item from different angles or in use, where applicable, go a long way to help consumers make a bid on items they’re interested in. If donation items include packages or experiences, don’t forget to ask for high-quality imagery from the donor that showcases that offering. 


Durant Consulting, Inc., is proud to offer digital auction services along with event production services and sponsorship fulfillment. The company was founded in 2006 and has more than 20 years experience with high-profile events and auctions all over the country.

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