If your organization has chosen to hold a fashion auction as a fundraiser, there are crucial lessons to learn first. Take the time to study them to ensure the best success for the event.
Remember that the objective of such an activity is to generate the highest bids possible not only to achieve the financial goal of your organization but also to recoup the expenses of the affair as well.
Seven of these lessons are discussed below.
Lesson 1: Setting the right atmosphere is a must.
For fashion auctions, the venue, decor, floor layout, food, and beverages actually count for a lot. They can make the event very social and also more competitive. You would be amazed at how lighting, the right music, and how the items are displayed can encourage supporters to bid.
To beautifully and effectively incorporate all of these components into the auction, hire a highly experienced auction vendor. You can leverage their diverse auction experiences in creating the best atmosphere for the event.
Lesson 2: Making the auction available online during the live event is always worth considering.
Tap into the efficiency of digital technology in boosting the chances of getting the best bids. As mentioned earlier, the main goal is for the event to earn as much as possible. Therefore, expanding the audience is one of the best strategies to employ.
You have to consider that events, especially exclusive by-invitation ones, can coincide with trips and other important life events. By making the auction available online, you can work around such stumbling blocks and secure the attendance and participation of your target audience.With mobile bidding, bidders can bid from their dinner table and get a message if they were outbid on their item. It is also great to send max texts or emails to generate bidding.
Lesson 3: Study the most advantageous presentation of the items.
Tapping into the emotions of the audience is another component to pay great attention to. One way to accomplish this is by presenting items in a way that would build up excitement.
Consider the following when building up excitement during the event:
- Vintage luxury watches can secure high bids. However, not consistently so. Most people are interested in the latest models. Plus, most watches do not increase in value over time unless somebody famous wore them.
- There’s actually a broad market sector for basketball shoes, making them rather ideal to include in a fashion auction. Target those who collect shoes worn by celebrated athletes. Likewise, seek out designs from limited editions. These tend to go out fast in a fashion auction and should be among the items to be presented early in the event.
- Vintage clothing pieces are must-haves, too, and should be on display before the official start of the auction. These are pieces that buyers like to inspect carefully and know the details of. Thus, provide as much information about them in the display description. Also, add pictures to authenticate the age of such pieces.
- Haute couture clothing tend to get high bids, too, because they are true luxury items, and are usually rare pieces. These need to be put on display also, and should be among the last items to be presented in the bidding.
- It’s always a toss-up between jewelry and designer bags as closing pieces. Both have the biggest demographic in fashion auctions and get the highest bids.
Lesson 4: Include experiences to the fashion auction.
Creating a diversified collection of things to bid for can make the auction more fun and exciting. So, instead of limiting the biddable items to fashion pieces, which bidders will inevitably get tired of, why not include experiences as well? There are always people in the audience who come for these unexpected offerings.
Choose from a voucher for a dinner for two at a fine dining restaurant in the city, to a trip abroad plus weekend accommodations in a first-class suite of a 5-star hotel, or tickets to an exclusive movie premiere at a luxury cinema, or even a dinner date with a famous Hollywood celebrity.
Lesson 5: Invest in smart marketing.
Fashion auctions should always gain the attention of the right people. Thus, study the most powerful marketing techniques to utilize. When it comes to fashion auctions, it’s best to keep the event exclusive. So, use both email marketing and traditional invites.
Consider creating a new page for your organization’s website that’s dedicated to the event. Or, use Facebook to invite supporters and, at the same time, find out right away how many people among the invited will be able to make it to the auction.
Use other social media sharing sites, too. Studies reveal that social media has driven more advantageous bids for such types of events because more younger people from different parts of the world, particularly those that do not have access to rare fashion, take their money to fashion auctions online.
Lesson 6: Use a POS system properly.
A point of sale or POS system is a must for every fashion auction. But a lot of organizations that hold auctions to raise funds do not fully take advantage of the fantastic features of this piece of technology as it is usually associated with retail sales. In the case of auctions, a POS would be the place where winning bidders pay for the item they won a bid for.
A POS system is not only used to record all the sales of an auction, but it also provides opportunities for making upsells and improving invitation lists in future auctions. Moreover, by carefully analyzing the data gathered through a POS system, you can also help your organization do even better in succeeding auctions. You can track bidding behaviors and preferences, which will then enable you to come up with a more attractive collection for future auctions.
Lesson 7: Invest in giveaways for the auction attendees that will promote the cause of your organization further.
Although auction attendees are certainly more interested in the items that they can bid for, they will appreciate being reminded of the cause behind the event. So, prepare a few souvenirs or a grab bags for them that include information about the cause, and tokens of appreciation for their attendance.
There’s nothing like an auction that is clearly intent on doing something good and creating a solid community of supporters for it. This never fails to make attendees feel special that they are a part of a noble deed, and it cultivates their commitment to helping with the cause further.
Those are just seven of the crucial lessons for holding a fashion auction as a fundraiser. Uphold all these, and you can be sure that all your auctions will receive an excellent response.
Darran Brown is the CEO and Founder of Go Charity. A graduate of UMASS Amherst, Darran has spent the last 20 years managing auctions across the United States. Having run some of the most successful live and silent auctions in the US, Darran has the insider know-how to every aspect of the industry. From memorabilia to trips and experience hospitality to fundraising 101, Darran is the leading expert on auction management and fundraising success.