Virtual auctions are an opportunity for your nonprofit to raise funds and engage your donors. Of course, even the most exciting and well-planned auctions can only succeed if guests know about it and are persuaded to participate through your marketing campaign.
Nonprofit marketing has evolved over the years, and while traditional strategies can generate some traffic, most nonprofits thrive on digital marketing and advertising. Silent online auctions you already rely on technology to function. For many nonprofits, the technical tools that support your auction will also help your marketing team spread the word about your auction.
Here are some marketing tips to ensure a successful online auction:
High-quality auction items:
When it comes to getting people excited about your online auctions, you need good auction items to attract them. The better your auction items, the better your fundraising will be. In the world of e-commerce, organizations create personalities for shoppers to know what kind of goods the customer likes. You can analyze your nonprofit’s database to get an idea of your donor base and think about the types of auction items they might like, but make sure they encourage people to bid.
You should also remember that because anyone can bid at online auctions, your items may be favored by a larger segment of the population than just local donors.
Powerful images and descriptions:
“Auction houses run a rigged game. They know exactly how many people will be bidding on a work and exactly who they are. In a gallery, works of art need only one person who wants to pay for them,” said Jerry Saltz, an American art critic. Since 2006, he has been senior art critic and columnist for New York magazine. Formerly the senior art critic for The Village Voice, he received the Pulitzer Prize for Criticism in 2018 and was nominated for the award in 2001 and 2006.
Here’s another place to take an example from the world of e-commerce. You should make sure that the pictures and descriptions you use show your item in the best possible light. The more attractive you can make it, the more likely someone will want to bid. They also help you when you start an online auction on social media or ask for volunteers to share it. These images can grab people’s attention and encourage them to participate.
Engage your donor base:
Use every tool at your disposal to publish it. Encourage board members, volunteers, family, friends, and donors to use their social networks and email to let people know about your online auction. It can increase your base significantly and it’s free.
You should also encourage local businesses that have donated items to online auctions to let their customers know. You’ll receive recognition for supporting your nonprofit and being able to help contact their customer base to participate.
Communicate early and often:
Less no longer applies here! Email your database in advance to generate interest, during auctions to engage them, and during your auctions to spark urgency. Once this takes place, a few emails in the last 24-48 hours can help increase the bid.
Post the most effective items on social media and don’t forget to talk not only about items but also about how participating in online auctions supports your mission.