Some like to aim high while others... well... "Shoot, Ready, Aim" might be a fitting description for how some approach their auctions. In reverence to all the volunteers putting together an auction fundraiser, I understand that this may not be your top priority and it may get only crumbs of time that fall from your table of life. Nonetheless, if you're going to take a shot at this, at least make sure you know where to find the target.
What if you don't have a target? Great question! Then I suggest everyone around you hit the deck as you start taking pot shots at a successful auction (the target). You don't have to be a fortune-teller to predict the success of your auction fundraiser. Instead, just ask yourself this question: "What is my absolute and definite goal - and what plans do I have in place to attain it?" Most people will gloss over this saying, "I'd like a successful auction that makes a bunch of money." That sounds nice, but just as in life, that answer will get you nowhere fast. Lacking a definite purpose - a goal - and a plan to achieve it, will leave your auction lacking too.
I talk with a lot of people who are planning their auction fundraisers and it's surprising how many have no solid goal. They have hope, and great attitudes, big smiles, even strong work ethics, but no goals. Honestly, one of the secrets to success is to put yourself in the mindset of a "For Profit" business owner. Imagine this is YOUR money we're talking about. Embrace G-R-E-E-D. Don't embrace it for you, but do it on behalf of those you're charged with serving.
There's a fitting quote from the movie Wall Street, spoken by the character Gordon Gekko. In the movie, Gordon says, "The point is, ladies and gentleman, that greed, for lack of a better word, is good. Greed is right, greed works. Greed clarifies, cuts through, and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Greed, in all of its forms; greed for life, for money, for love, knowledge has marked the upward surge of mankind." Now I'm not saying that ol' Gordy had the meaning of life all figured out. But I am saying that he has a valid point: Greed (in this instance) is good - and it serves you.
Value yourself. Value what you're doing and for whom you're doing it. And if you get nothing else out of this, value the money you can raise from auction and what can be done with it for your organization, ding-dang-it!! If this were YOUR business and YOUR money, might you start to think a little differently? I hope so! Perhaps you are an entrepreneur in real-life (or in spirit)? If so, then you already know that you scrimp, you save, you buy low (if you can't get it for free) and sell high. You bust your butt to work hard and motivate your team. You know you need to work smart, or hard, or both. You should do the same with your auction fundraisers. Treat them like little short-lived, for-profit businesses - that YOU own.
Follow these steps to success:
- Step 1. Make a definite, purposeful goal for the auction. How much are you going to raise? Why are you raising it? What will the money be used for? How will it make you feel? How will it make those you serve feel? Imagine your organization (your business) having and using that money now.
- Step 2. Make a real plan for attaining that goal. Good inventory, good inventory, good inventory. How much good inventory do you need to reach your financial benchmark? How will you find and procure your auction inventory? How will you get all this good inventory in front of as many bidders as possible? What type of auction venue will best suit your needs and help you reach your goal?
- Step 3. Execute your plan. Just do it. Git er done. Period. Some people refuse to fail, but not you - you insist on winning (or at least you should). Motivate your team and make it happen.