Charity Auction Tip - The Old Volunteer Swap-a-roo

Many auction committees face a similar conundrum when planning a Charity Auction.  What do you do about a situation where a volunteer is not able to participate in the live or silent auctions because they are busy working behind the scenes? Monitoring silent auction tables, handling check-in/check- out, serving food, selling raffle tickets.  Take your pick, they all have the potential to remove a key supporter of your organization from the "action" at your auction.

One solution I've found to work well is to talk to another organization around town.  See if they would be willing to participate in a "volunteer swap".  It's dead simple.  They provide volunteers for your event and in turn, you provide the same for their event down the road.

  • Ideally they will be a group who also holds an auction, so you all understand the basics of what's expected.
  • Talk to your auctioneer or software supplier to see if they have recommendations that may be familiar with your Auction Software.
  • Pick a group from the next town over if you are worried about them stealing your ideas. That said, everyone steals ideas, get used to it. ; )
  • While there will always be some competition for local fundraising dollars, I've found most groups share the core value of wanting to help a fellow non-profit.  They understand your situation better than anyone else.
  • Consider utilizing a local Fraternity, Sorority or local scout troop as a volunteer source. Many require community involvement and are happy to help.

Good luck!

 * Bonus link:  Research: Asking People to Volunteer Before Asking Them To Give Doubles Donation Dollars