Easy as 1, 2, 3
When we say simple, we mean it. Our formula breaks down your benefit auction into just three crucial parts:
Event Type + Auction Type + Auctioneer Type = More Funds Raised
Before we jump into the value of each category, let's revisit the different types of benefit auctions, events, and choices for auctioneers.
In-Person: The in-person event is characterized by donors physically gathering together in a chosen venue to bid on auction items. Virtual: The virtual event takes place online. It relies on websites, auction software, crowdsourcing platforms, or other tech solutions to raise funds. Hybrid: The hybrid event mixes the mediums of in-person and online fundraising. It often involves simultaneously broadcasting a live event to virtual audiences.
Live: Live auctions are real-time events run by an auctioneer. Donors engage in live bidding on presented items. Raffle: A raffle is an event that draws prizes from numbered tickets. Donors purchase tickets before or at the event and the draw is randomized. Silent: Silent auctions display a set of items to bid on. Donors use a bid sheet to mark their bids anonymously and the highest bidder at closing wins the item. Online: Online auctions take place virtually through a website, app, or virtual auction software. They require an internet connection to bid on items.
Professional Auctioneer: An accredited individual who conducts an auction by opening, managing, and closing bids on an item. Amateur or Volunteer: An individual with no formal accreditation who conducts an auction.
Step 1: Choosing Your Event
The very first step in the formula is choosing your fundraising event.
In-person, virtual, or hybrid events each come with their own unique challenges and benefits. But in terms of top fundraising potential, one event comes out on top:
The in-person benefit event!
Our data shows in-person events raise an average of $8,000 in proceeds per auction item. That’s 1.6x times more than hybrid and an impressive 8.3x times more than virtual!
Hosting a physical gathering where donors can mingle, dine, and enjoy live entertainment can help encourage bidding generosity and goodwill. It's also the perfect place to showcase centerpiece items, such as our luxury travel packages.
But don’t write off hybrid events just yet.
With an average of nearly 10k raised per event, this format gives in-person a run for its money. Growing in popularity since the pandemic, hybrid events offer a crucial opportunity to reach more donors globally by allowing bidding both online and in-person.
Step 2: Choosing Your Auction
Now that you’ve chosen your event, it’s time to pick the right type of auction.
The kind of benefit auction you run typically goes hand in hand with your chosen event – live auctions often take place in-person, while an online auction requires a virtual format.
Bear in mind, some categories are more flexible – the hybrid event features both live and online auctions, while an in-person gala can host silent and live bidding at the same event.
For this category, we calculated the average proceeds raised from our travel packages across all live auctions, silent auctions, online auctions, and raffles.
With an average of $9,000 raised per event, live auctions steal the show!
Live auctions offer incredible opportunities to drive up bids by generating anticipation, excitement and friendly competition in the crowd. They also offer a chance to connect more deeply with your audience by appealing to donors’ emotions and appreciating their support in real-time.
It’s no wonder live charity auctions raise on average 12x more than silent auctions and a whopping 36x more than their online counterpart!
Step 3: Choosing Your Auctioneer
So, you’ve settled on the style of your event and auction. Now the final step is to choose who’s going to conduct the bidding.
For this category, we put the two most common hosts head-to-head: the professional auctioneer and the amateur or volunteer.
With an average of $12,700 raised per auction item, the winner is...
Based on our travel package proceeds, a skilled auctioneer raises 5.5x more funds for your nonprofit than a volunteer or amateur host. That translates to nearly $10,000 more per event.
Hiring a professional auctioneer is more costly. However, the value and expertise they bring to your benefit event is a worthy investment. With many auctions now going hybrid, securing a professional with experience on stage and camera is also crucial.
While it may be tempting to opt for free volunteers or low-cost amateurs, keep in mind that cutting costs can also significantly cut proceeds.
Bringing It All Together
Now that you're familiar with each step, it's time to bring all the components together. Using our formula, your best bet to raise more money at auction is:
In-person Event + Live Auction + Professional Auctioneer
Together, these three categories drive more fundraising revenue than any other combination, bringing in an average of $10,000 in funds per event.
That being said, we know fundraising isn’t one size fits all. Armed with our formula and the supporting data, you can make the most informed decision within your nonprofit's budget and available resources.
Examples In Action
Situation: Health restrictions limiting the size of your benefit gala? Some guests still hesitant to attend social gatherings? Solution: Rent a more intimate venue with a trained auctioneer and welcome the rest of your donors online.
Hybrid + Live and Online Auction + Professional Auctioneer
Situation: Budget too tight for a live auction with a professional auctioneer? Solution: Consider an in-person raffle led by a volunteer over a silent or online auction.
In-person + Raffle + Amateur or Volunteer
Need more guidance?
LuxGive’s fundraising consultants work with you one-on-one to offer personalized recommendations for your benefit event. From auction item ideas and custom auction packages to connecting you with our network of professional auctioneers, we help ensure a winning auction every time.
Connect with us for personalized support and jumpstart your charity auction today.
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