When Fundraising Auctions Go Wrong (And How To Avoid It Happening to You)

Even the most meticulously arranged fundraising auctions can (and quite possibly will) experience a hiccup or two. Having been involved with hundreds of events, we've seen what can go wrong at fundraising auctions. Whatever the issue, any disruption to the auction can mitigate the funds raised. So, here's a little bit of hindsight to help make sure your auction sidesteps any bumps in the road:

No Bids!

You've got an awesome venue, a range of great prizes and enthusiastic guests - but no auction bids. It can send even the coolest of fundraisers into a hot panic. Before the event starts make sure you have a range of prizes with broad appeal. A variety of price points will also encourage maximum participation. Be wary of starting the bidding too high, a lower start price is more likely to get the bidding competition fired-up. And don't forget to give your guests ample opportunity to view the prize table before the auction kicks-off. If bids are slow or non-existent after the auction starts, use your MC to get things moving. Encourage guests to start bidding by reminding them why they are there and the importance of the cause.

Wi-Fi Fail

If you're using a digital silent auction platform a Wi-Fi interruption could cause major headaches. While this is a tricky one to remedy on the spot, taking the time to clarify and test the venue's Wi-Fi connection ahead of time will give you valuable peace of mind. This is particularly important for rural or isolated event locations where you may not have access to 3/4G networks as back-up.

Lengthy Speeches

Speeches are an important part of any fundraising event. They help underscore the value of people's support and the cause itself. However, too many speeches that go on for too long can interrupt the flow of the event and turn off the audience. Guests can get bored, drift off to the bar or worse, home. Keep your speeches short and engaging. Make sure your speakers can deliver a sparkling address with lots of heart. Use your speeches to introduce the event then leave them off the agenda until the event closes for a final thank you and goodbye.

Bogus Prizes

Does your gut-feel tell you that signed and framed photo of Kim Kardashian may not be genuine? You could be right. Without a genuine certificate of authenticity you may be offering your guests a dud deal. There are plenty of cunning forgeries and knock-offs around to dupe unsuspecting fundraising organisers. And you can bet your guests will be very unhappy if they discover their prize memorabilia item isn’t what it seems. For every appropriate prize item only source from reputable suppliers and insist that it comes with a genuine certificate of authenticity.

Bidder Reneges on their Bid

This is a very delicate issue and needs to be handled sensitively. There is a risk (particularly at fundraising auctions where alcohol is consumed) of bidders changing their mind. It could be that they got carried away with the competition or were under the influence of alcohol, but the next day they have a change of heart and want to retract their winning bid. It's likely that under the terms and conditions of the auction, they are legally obligated to honour their bid. Whether you choose to pursue this is up to you. Reminding guests of the terms and conditions before the auction starts may help. If you opt to allow the bidder to rescind their bid, think about contacting underbidders and offering the prize to the next highest bidders.





GalaBid is CrowdComms’ fundraising software, developed inhouse, which facilitates bidding, donations, purchases, payment for and management of all fundraising activities before and during live fundraising events, galas, golf days etc.