Live auctions are another great add-on for fundraising events, even when there’s a silent auction happening. Live auctions are usually “big ticket” items, expected to bring large bids. I’ve won a hot air balloon ride and a beer run on a vintage firetruck at live auctions.

     I attend an event for the arts in my community each year, which includes a live action of upscale desserts. The desserts are produced from local bakeries, restaurants and caterers and are quite fancy. It’s become a tradition at this event and people bid hundreds of dollars for the privilege of having one of the desserts for their table (and most folks share!).

     Get real auctioneer who knows how to keep the excitement level at the highest point possible and when to say, “Going Once, Going Twice, Going Three Times!”.

     As with silent auction items, I encourage you to select live auction items that will be attractive to your audience. Special, one-of-kind things are going to do best.

    Here’s more information from Fundraiser Help: Charity Auction Ideas

    Over the past several years, I’ve noticed a new fundraising event add-on that works well. Your audience will need paddles with numbers (the same ones you would use for bid numbers at silent and live auctions).

     Although you could use a real auctioneer for this, I’ve seen it work best when the CEO or Director of an organization manages it. This person shares information about a specific funding need, for example, after-school arts camp costs $150 per child for a school year. Then you ask people to support this specific activity by raising their paddle, thus bidding (promising) to donate $150 for the after-school arts camp.

     You will need someone who records the amounts and bid numbers. The more specific you can be with the ask, the better results!

      A 50/50 Split the Pot is another good add-on for many events. It’s simple. People contribute a specific amount of cash for a chance to win half of all the cash. I won $335 a few years ago at an event with this add-on. I’ve also seen many people who win and decline to accept it, which means the whole pot goes to the charity.

      With any activity that results in a donor receiving something, you will want to think about the tax repercussions. I suggest you let donors know about the potential tax issues surrounding silent and live auction items. For example, if a donor paid more for an item than its fair market value, the excess may be deductible as a charitable donation.

      Encourage donors to consult their tax advisors. You can learn more from the IRS.

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