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    Fundraising & Events, Including

    Online Auctions


    Presenters Linda Witt – Emeritus Director, AF Portland, FAF Board Member Jack McCord – Executive Director, AF Chicago, FAF Board Member Daryl Younker – Board Member, AF St Louis Tracy Kosiarek & Eric Vespierre – Board Members, AF Cincinnati


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    The School is the AF’s core business. Events = separate program that: 1) adds energy, variety to the AF “experience” 2) drives in prospective students and members 3) promotes culture angles plus food/wine 4) engages a broader audience, new partners 5) opens up additional sources of income


    Why Events?

    25-35 events per year, small to large. Some by the AF alone; many with partners. Events gross income=$160K/year; events net of $80K after $80K expenses. Resource/staffing allocation depends on talent mix on the AF staff, board and community.


    Sample Profile: AF PDX

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    Best Practices: Keys to Success

    Events programs are typically a purposeful mix of Friendraisers & Fundraisers.



    Source: Matrix Map, Nonprofit Quarterly

    Best Practices: Keys to Success

    Always set budgets/goals, track revenue/expenses, recap/document results (Event Report=Road Map). Avoid “money pit”: Emphasize efficiency, streamlining costs, using tools to simplify operations, payments, logistics, etc. Sync well with email marketing, social media, and partners to promote event awareness & sales.


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    Best Practice: Develop Partners! Cross-promote for mutual win-win. Your AF gets: Perks, Resources, PR, Prestige, Privileges, Discounts, In-Kind Support, and/or Income.


    Examples of Partners Performing Arts Groups, Museums, Symphony, Opera,

    Fencing/Escrime, Restaurants, Wineries, Travel/Tour Companies, Movie Theaters, Chefs, Caterers, Cooking Schools, Film Festivals, Film

    Promoters/Marketers, Retailers, French Immersion Schools, French- American Chamber of Commerce, University Language Departments, Alcohol Distributors/Importers, World Affairs Council, Sister Cities Groups, Consular Agencies, Law Firms, Wine Scholar Guild, Sports

    Teams, Realtors/Real Estate Firms, Authors, Bookstores and Companies of all kinds that have ties/products connected to France.

    Monetizing Friendraisers

    Film event: Ask for free tix and sell them Solicit $10-$25 donations as part of the event ticket purchase form. Wine/dinner events: Get host venue to donate certificates/product for raffle or auction. Author events: Throw in a book raffle or get books donated for later auction.


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    Top Fundraisers: Auctions Gala / Event / On-site


    w/mobile or

    or Silent traditional bidding


    Online – Stand-alone, Preview (Silent/Live), or Bid Carryover to Event

    Auctions: Revenue

    “Gala” Auctions can net $40K-$500K+. Largest payback in $ = Live Auction, Special Appeal and Sponsorships. Silent auction should net 60%-85% of item values. Online auction (w/o gala) typically net 55%-65% of retail values.


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    Best Practices: “Gala” Auctions

    Silent auction with anonymous bidding, pre-filled increments, ample bidding compression Heavy on proven top sellers; solicit from friends/partners (no commission or cold-calls) Professional auctioneer, “unique” items in live, “surprise” doubles, alcohol service, seated dinner Revenue streams: Golden Ticket/Raffle, Sponsors


    Best Practices: Special Appeal

    Emotional theme, easy for donors to support Solicit plants for kick-off Get pre-approved matches Capture of bidding data - important


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    Technology in Service of Auctions

    Huge growth of web-based auction software support tools in recent years Automation of check-in process, payment collection and payment processing All providers claim to be “the leading solution” . . . Many different products used by AFs


    Latest Developments: Auction Services for Digital Bidding

    List items online in advance Ease of bidding (if system works….) Constant bidding during event, can extend auction time Easy to process and reconcile


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    Auction Services for Digital Bidding

    Competing bidders, greater return - really? ‘Gare aux commissions’ GiveSmart


    Easily scalable from small to large Can open bidding to broader public Is less resource-intensive than a gala auction Promotes donors better with live links Options include in-house development, E-Bay or a service such as BiddingForGood. Typical s/w costs: $400-500/year plus commission.


    Online Auctions - Overview

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    Procured 24 items, mostly unique ones Engaged the interest of 28 bidders/members Total cost = 0; using board volunteer expertise and existing software (email, Excel) Net revenue to the organization = $5,500


    Case Study: Online Auction

    Specify a use for the money Set an amount as your goal Set the dates and time of cut-off Set up an e-mail address for the auction Get e-mail addresses for all members Solicit items (unusual ones work best) Keep good records Communicate with bidders, members, and friends.


    Getting Started – In-House Solution

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    Bagpipe serenade Dinner with the Alliance Directrice Baseball or other sporting event tickets Country supper delivered to your home or lunch delivered to your workplace Private condo at beach for a week Certificates valid for painting a room in someone’s house or doing yard work Consultations from attorneys, investment brokers, CPAs, etc.


    Examples of Unusual Auction Items


    Data Tracking – Manual Example

    Recording bidder names, dates, times, and amounts, per item Determining winning bids

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    Acknowledge all bids by return e-mail. Reiterate item chosen and amount. Notify if a higher bid already exists and ask if bidder wants to increase the bid. Notify bidders when a higher bid comes in and ask if bidder wants to increase the bid. Send e-mails to all showing what current bid is for each item. This should be done every other day. Make final call for bids the day before auction ends. Show current bid for each item and ask bidders to increase their bids. Reminder of end of auction date and time. Send thank-you e-mails to all for their participation. List winning bid for each item. Tell where and when to pick up item. Arrange for payment.


    Communication & Follow-Up

    Goals: Increase membership Increase exposure; create buzz Promote the AF via a New and Exciting Initiative Focus on one major event throughout the year Build AF Cincinnati’s reputation

    Implications: Financial impact Time impact for management of the project


    Escapade à Paris

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    Phase One: Get Support from the Board - $3500 Approve marketing budget

    Phase Two: Marketing material: title, logo, flyer, poster, “Paris Box” Website update; announcements on Social Network; Constant Contact communication Plan ahead: Mention the Grand Prize in the Membership renewal letter, and make reference to the Escapade in all communication.


    Marketing & Communication

    Review legal and taxes aspects

    Define who can participate: Student members (yes); Regular members (yes); Immediate family of Board Members (no)

    Define precisely the offer: Paris, France (!) Direct flights 3 nights at a 3* hotel One romantic dinner cruise



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    Partnership with local travel agent: AF does not manage nor organize the Paris trip Pay a fix amount to the agency One hour consultancy with travel agent Specify travel date expiration to manage finances and close out within the following fiscal year.



    Winner can use choose to extend the duration of the stay, upgrade hotel, spend more time in France, etc. Additional expenses managed directly with Travel Agent.

    Prepare tickets prior to each event Keep all tickets in the “Paris” box Finally: use tickets during the actual drawing of the winner’s name.



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    “Escapade” events: Each time an AF member registers, (s)he gets one ticket. Boost event attendance Extra incentives: Two tickets on election night; Trivia winners get extra tickets, etc.


    Raffle Tickets

    May 2016 Election Night


    The Drawing

    Follow-up: Meeting with the winner Press release “Post Card” from Paris wearing AF Cincinnati T-shirts – we hope!

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    Escapade à Paris Winner!


    AF de Chicago Video Clip

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    Time for Your Questions & Answers