Maximizing fundraising efforts with your live auction requires planning and creativity. However, procuring amazing live auction items is often difficult for many nonprofits. A popular tactic to help boost live auction offerings is adding consignment trips – which entails partnering with travel companies to offer exclusive getaways and experiences, with proceeds benefiting the nonprofit. Let's delve into the pros and cons of using consignment trips in your auction.
Unique and Attractive Auction Items:
Consignment trips provide auction organizers with an array of unique, once-in-a-lifetime experiences that can pique the interest of potential bidders. These trips also give you the ability to shake up a stale auction that has had the same items in it year after year - giving your donors something new and exciting to bid on.
Minimal Upfront Costs:
One significant advantage of consignment trips is that nonprofits can offer premium auction items without incurring any upfront expenses. The nonprofit pays only for the trips that are successfully sold to winning bidders. This lowers the financial risk for the organization and allows them to focus more on planning and executing the event.
Easy to Market:
Consignment companies often have high quality images, videos, and marketing copy to help to sell the live auction items.
Multiply Your Earning Potential:
With consignment trips, you can sell multiple packages of the same trip, amplifying your earnings from a single item.
With so many nonprofit organizations struggling with procurement and spinning their wheels trying to find unique, fun, and interesting items for their auction - consignment trips help to save volunteer and staff time while still offering exciting live auction items. Adding to the time saving component is that most consignment companies have stellar concierge service and will handle the details of working with your donor to ensure they have a smooth process of booking the trip.
If you’re thinking that all sounds good you might also be wondering what the cons are. Here are some potential cons to consider about offering consignment trips at your event.
High Reserve Prices:
While consignment trips can be alluring, some high-end experiences may come with substantial reserve prices. These minimum prices ensure that the nonprofit recoups the cost of the trip and guarantees a minimum return. Organizations need to be mindful of what trips they choose and make sure they choose trips that match the historical data of what auction items sell for with their audience. I recommend choosing reserves that provide a return of at least 50 percent or more. So if your avg auction item has traditionally sold for $5000 then only choose trips with a reserve of $2500 or less.
More popular consignment companies have certain trips that they highlight and recommend to nonprofits and in some markets the same trips will be offered at all the galas in town leading to bidder fatigue and potentially all the interested bidders already having the same trip from another auction.
With so many companies selling consignment trips it can be hard to know which companies are reputable and that deliver high quality trips and customer service. Be sure to work with your auctioneer or event planner to help determine the best fit for your nonprofit auction needs.
Encourage open communication with donors and actively seek their feedback on the consignment trips and other fundraising strategies. By involving donors in the decision-making process, nonprofits can better understand their preferences and concerns, making adjustments to future fundraising events accordingly.
Overall there are many points to consider when deciding whether to have consignment trips in your auction. Your auctioneer can help you sort through the pros and cons to help you make the best decision for your event.
For more ideas on procurement strategies check out my post on the subject here.
For ideas on creating unique and one of a kind auction items without consignment check out my post on the subject here.
Curious about how many live auction items you need? Read all about it here.
Michael Faith Benefit Auctioneer and fundraising professional