6 Steps to a Successful Charity Auction

Laila auctionaid 2 .2

In 2014 and 2015, I ran Auctionaid, a fun fundraising event in aid of the Ruth Hayman Trust with the amazing support of the dedicated NATECLA London Volunteers and WMC the Camden College.

I’d like to share with you,  how a team of committed volunteers raised a grand total of £3500,00 over 2 consecutive auctions. I hope that it will inspire you to emulate the initiative, may be use the ideas to enter the Ruth Hayman Trust Star Challenge or raise money for your chosen charity.

The Star Challenge is a national competition in which migrants and refugees organise fundraising activities to support other migrants and refugees access education.

More details on this link http://www.ruthhaymantrust.org.uk/news/2016/1/11/ruth-hayman-trust-star-challenge. My next blog will cover what my students are doing this year (watch that space people).

Join the conversation on twitter #RHTstar

Getting students, including ESOL (1) Learners to organise an auction, is a fantastic opportunity for them to develop a wide range of skills from language to employability and ICT (2), from building their self-confidence to interacting with their community.

6 Steps towards a successful auction!

1.Name your Auction Give your event a cool name (ours was AuctionAid1 and AuctionAid2). The jazzier the name the easier it will be to remember and promote.

2. Collect donations Using a free web-based survey platform. We used www.surveymonkey.co.uk For data protection reasons I am not able to pass on the example of the ones collected for our event, but blank example can be found on this link https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/rrauction – There are some limitations to using the free version of survey monkey , but it is ok to use the free version to just collect your donations 

It is important to get everyone who donates to fill in the online form.

This enables you to

  • have an online database of donors and centralise their contact details
  • email all of the donors to thank them, let them know how much you raised and what you will do with the money

3. Promote your event

Using a range of social media platforms, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram,etc. Set up a hashtag so that you can follow the conversations.  If you use a free social management system such as www.hootsuite.com , you can programme your posts and tweets in advance and schedule reminder. Don’t forget to put it on your website if you have one and/ or blog about it. https://nateclaldn.wordpress.com/2014/05/25/auctionaid-charity-event-in-aid-of-the-ruth-hayman-trust/

4. Set up the cataloguePlease click on this link to see an example of our second catalogue. https://docs.google.com/document/d/12wd1v4Tk97nkljqfg1atSvm5VF_FkYTUxVuVt0soa0c/edit

Below are 6 other ideas you could seek to get for your auction

  1. music tuition 2+ hours of guitar , drum etc .. if you target the local schools you can get the parents , for the people giving they work for ‘free’ for 2 hours and can gain additional customers
  2. local shops they get extensive promotion and free advertisement in exchange for a donation from their shop
  3. local restaurant a meal for 2 ( excludes drinks) so they still make some money or 1 free bottle of wine with meal (so they get the customers )
  4. skills donation (gardening , baby sitting , dog walking , etc) where people donate their time
  5. skills workshop at a local college or community organisation
  6. haircuts, manicures , massage tend to be popular too

5. ‘Online bidding’

You can use the same free web-based survey platform as the one you used for collecting donations to encourage people to place their ‘bids’, an example can be found on this link https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/auctionaid15

6. Face-to face event

You need to source the following items

  • a venue
  • food and drinks
  • entertainment (musicians, poets, acts, etc
  • volunteers to work on the day / evening (welcome people, man the bar – check alcohol licensing with the hosting venue)
  • auctioneers

Using free web-based self-service ticketing platform for people to book on the night will help not only collect additional funds but also email people after the event to thank them and let them know how much was raised.

See an example here http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/auction-in-aid-of-the-ruth-hayman-trust-tickets-11538858035

  • Lucky dip, we also collected smaller items that we wrapped in newspaper and people could get a prize for £2 , every ticket had a number linked to a donation.

On the day

At the event…get charismatic, lively auctioneers to really sell the items
You will need a teller who makes a note of the successful bidder and takes their money. A simple certificate can be used for this. re print with details of the auction item and doner then one copy can be used as a receipt for the buyer and the other as a record for the event. It can be useful to have 2 tellers so that the auctioneering is not held up while one bidder’s details are being recorded. With 2 people you can also be more careful about the money collected and can supply a running total that the auctioneer can use to encourage the others.

Good luck and have fun! We had a great time with both our events, see pictures here http://static1.squarespace.com/static/50e8665be4b0d5ee8b76e971/t/5601776ae4b056134c467094/1442936682886/Auction+Aid_for+Ruth+Hayman_2015.pdf


(1) English to Speakers of Other Languages

(2) Information and Communication Technologies


Laila El-Metoui is an Independent Education Consultant and Teacher Educator with over 25 years’ experience in the Further Education sector. Her Curriculum background is in EFL and ESOL.

Her staff development training sessions include LGBT inclusion for managers and teachers with practical ideas for inclusion in lessons, tailor-made to the need of your education institution.

She also runs webinars (online seminars) see links below

The Ideas Factory Webinar Serie 

Queer Fridays Webinars

Visit http://www.lelmeducation.com or email her lailaelm@hotmail.com


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