Turning the Battleship Around in the Harbor

Silent Auction "Green" Section at Picasso Pets

I know, I know, you all have missed the bi-weekly auction blog! Well, I was at Disney with the family for a week and that can really turn the week after into a mess of catch-up! Though, I’ve known what I was going to write about for a couple of weeks now (inspired by our last benefit auction and the group we worked with). Often times Jack and I use the term “it’s like turning the battleship around in the harbor” to certain groups as a metaphor for what some groups go through attempting to reinvent their fundraiser or benefit auction. Often times we get hired by a group that has been doing an event for ten plus years – they’re ready for something new, or they’re ready to become more successful and they want us to guide them through it. However, it’s one thing to say those words, and quite another to actually do it. You see, after you’ve done something one way for 8, 10 or 12 years, whether you’ve done it right or wrong – it’s the only way you know how to do it…”well, this is how we’ve always done it” is often heard. It’s human nature, but I know I have my work cut out for me when I hear that. So, what do you do? How do you summon the courage to drastically change a $50,000, $100,000 or $250,000+ event as our recent client did? Faith in themselves, belief in us and a dependable team that was open to change. They also did their homework by going to other events (one that we did and ones that we did not do), taking notes and then asking a lot of questions. They realized that 2011 is a different economy, what people are spending their money on is different – so why shouldn’t their signature event be different? In the end, what happened was that the process (the six months leading up to the event) was smoother, the staff, volunteers and board members were happier, and the event the night of ran more seamless.
Feedback was positive and all were happy with the amount raised in a down and volatile economy – and best of all, they have a blueprint for success for years to come! If you remember from the last blog entry, the national averages show that benefit auctions are down an average of 30%. That being the case, there couldn’t be a better time to make positive change to your event – in a few years, you’ll be happy you did.
Of course, it all starts with hiring top notch fundraising professionals to guide you!
Happy Bidding! – Joey