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Maximizing Fundraising by Using a Charity Auctioneer Script During Your Auction

Maximizing Fundraising by Using a Charity Auctioneer Script During Your Auction

Charity auctions are the lifeblood of many nonprofit enterprises, so getting them right is important. And while many organizations will put a lot of time and effort into their fundraising events and its management, not everyone realizes the importance of an actual script for the event itself.

When you think about the big night of your auction, there is a lot to take into consideration. You should be introducing your cause and charity’s mission to your guests, while also thinking about the people you need to be publicly acknowledging, the time frame of the event, offering clear instructions of the event’s rules, and the importance of each of the items being auctioned off.

This can be quite a lot to think about if you’re the speaker. Even if a professional auctioneer is hired, they’ll still need a solid outline addressing all of these issues and more. That’s why your fundraising script is so important. It serves as an outline for the evening an the cadence it’ll take. It also makes sure that each of your priorities are addressed and you don’t miss anything and need to stop the flow and go back.

Even if you don’t follow the script verbatim, at least you’ll know that everything that needs to be covered during the auction is indeed being addressed. Luckily writing an effective auction script isn’t that difficult to do. Especially with the tool we’ll talk about later and our prompt list. After reading through this article we promise, you’ll have an amazing script that you can be proud of, and does its best to make your event as engaging and profitable as possible.

Understanding Your Audience: Crafting Targeted Messages

One of the best ways to encourage generous donations during your charity auction is to know exactly who your attendees are and what makes them tick. If you’ve been following our advice on the donor cultivation cycle and have a database of information on your supporters or some other form of donor management software like PayBee’s, this step should be pretty easy. This data can make sure that your script allows the auctioneer to really hone in on your audience and push the right buttons to get them to open their hearts for your cause, and their pocketbooks too in the form of a donation.

If you don’t have a database yet, then you’ll need to gauge who your audience will be and do your best to match your script to them, or possibly conduct pre-event surveys for registered attendees before the event, allowing you to gather information about their interests, previous auction experiences, and what ultimately motivates them to make a donation.

The reason for all of this is the better you know your audience, the better you’ll know what jokes to place into your script, or which stories about your mission and it’s positive effects on the cause you serve would be. For example, if you are running an animal charity auction and you know your attendees will mostly be pet owners themselves, some impactful visuals with stories on how you’ve saved other pets from starvation or abuse can really motivate your bidders to bid big.

You can also time these types of extras throughout your script to increase the Likelihood of a donation during your campaign. Timing for everything is also important, even for your jokes. And yes, include some. You event shouldn’t be all doom and gloom, it should be exciting and impactful enough in a tasteful way that people enjoy attending them, and don’t feel they’re being pushed one way or another. Having a laid out script helps ensure the night is equally laid out, and nothing is focused on too strongly.

One last thing to go over is, knowing your audience can also help you decide on how to hold your fundraising event. Should it be an upscale gala event, should you include mobile bidding for the more tech savvy, or should it be a more laid back event at a town hall, these can all be addressed by intimately knowing your audience.

Structural Blueprint of a Charity Auction Script

Your script should be crafted well enough that it guides the auctioneer and also ensures the event flows smoothly and engages the audience as effectively as possible. Through understanding the components that make up a complete charity auction script can help you create a seamless and dynamic evening for everyone. Here’s a detailed breakdown of the script elements, how they contribute to the auction's flow and success, and key cues for the auctioneer.

  • Openings
  • Item Descriptions
  • Auctioneer Cues
  • Conclusions

Openings and Fundraising Speech 

How you open your event will set the tone for your entire night, so it needs to capture the audience’s attention and build excitement from the very beginning! Begin the evening with a warm welcome and briefly introducing yourself while thanking the audience for their attendance and support.

Then briefly speak about your cause or organization benefiting from the auction, and letting people know how important their donations are in eradicating the injustices of your mission. Also be sure to acknowledge any sponsors for your event or major donors. Always be grateful for what others have done for your charity and making them feel important in a public event like this is a great way to demonstrate your gratitude.

The last thing to do during your opening speech is to discuss the rules of the fundraising auction and any special information like where the bathrooms are or handicapped access routes are. Your entire opening shouldn’t be longer than 5 to 10 minutes maximum, and of course all of this information should be in your fundraising gala script so none of the details go without being addressed.

Item Descriptions for Better Fundraising 

Once the opening is completed it’s time to get to the exciting part of the fundraising event, the actual auctioning off of your items. Start by clearly stating the item number and title which should all be included in your script. You should also include any stand out information and perhaps a little history of each item for the auctioneer to reference in order to increase bidding. This should all be done before hand so you have time to verify each item and gather any interesting back history it may have.

Perhaps you have some signed sports memorabilia like a Pete Rose signed baseball. Details of which game it was signed at and if it was caught by the original owner as a fly ball or home run can add excitement and history to the item to increase its perceived value leading to even more competitive bidding. If possible, provide visual aids or testimonials that can add to the item’s appeal. If it’s a large event, you can add large TV screens in strategic areas and video each item so people in the back can really enjoy the experience. This can all be aired for an online aspect of the event as well.

Auctioneer Cues to Increase Engagement

Auctioneer cues are notes to the auctioneer that help them set the pace and keep the energy levels high in the room. They can explain the best times to take a break for instance. Perhaps there are a total of 50 items to be auctioned off during the event. It may be a good note at item 25 to have an intermission so people can use the bathroom and mingle and meet one another.

You can also include cues that let the presenter know how to increase bids, or present items with drama to catch everyone’s attention. There should also be reminders to continually let bidders know how thankful you are for supporting the fundraising event, and what a difference their donations will make on your mission. You can even add times when an appropriate story that highlights your mission should be told to keep reminding everyone why they are their in the first place and that their winning bids are going for a great cause.

Obviously there are a ton of notes you can add to be sure the auctioneer isn’t missing any important details of the event. And each charity auction is different, so you’ll need to decide what to include. One great way to be sure your script is inclusive as necessary is to share it with other team members and even your board of directors for feedback. Just be sure not to include too much and slow down the pace and diminish the excitement of the bidding process.

Conclusions for Your Script

The conclusion of your charity auction script is where you wrap up the evening and it’s just as important as any other aspect of your script. It’s your final opportunity to express gratitude and leave a lasting positive impression on your audience.

This part of your script should summarize the event’s success, thanking everyone for their contributions and continued support. You should also call out any of the major items and their winners to highlight their generosity and publicly thank them. This all helps to reinforce the significance of their participation and donations and helps build personal rapport so they'll continue to support your charity.

This is also a perfect time to not just thank your audience, but show some gratitude to your staff and volunteers as well. Asking for a round of applause for all their hard work also helps make them feel inclusive and an integral part of your organization.

The very last thing is to close with a solid call to action by encouraging your attendees future participation and their continued support for your cause. If you’re using a software platform solution like PayBee, we have both printed auction paddles and smartphone paddle capabilities so your donors can register their bids and checkout without needing to even speak to anyone. This checkout process is also a great opportunity to offer ways to give further to your charity.

How Each Element Contributes to the Auction's Flow and Success

Each element of the charity auction script is important and helps to maintain the auction’s pace and overall success. The opening sets the stage and tone for the entire event, while well thought out item descriptions can help capture a bidders imagination and focus, driving higher bids and making your fundraising campaign more profitable.

Auctioneer cues help make sure that your presenter covers all the important details of the event while maintaining a restrictive timeline and observing the engagement in the room. Finally, a well-crafted conclusion leaves attendees with a positive and memorable experience, encouraging future engagement and support.

Writing Your Content the EASY Way!

One of the most major technological advances to unfold right now is most definitely AI technology. It is literally changing the world, including many aspects of the nonprofit sector itself. So it’s really important to start getting familiar with AI and all the possibilities it holds for your nonprofit organization, including script writing.

The best part of using AI for our writing process is that it is completely free. ChatGPT is the main application to use and can do everything we need quickly and painlessly. It just takes a little getting used to, knowing a little about prompts and what information we will need to get AI to produce an awesome scripts in seconds. And to take things a step further, we are going to give you some sample prompts so you can get writing immediately.

When using ChatGPT to produce our fundraising gala script for us, we’re going to need a prompt. A prompt is simply a question, command, information or instructions given to the bot so it can do whatever it is we want it to do. So in our scenario, we want ChatGPT to produce a killer auction script for us to save us a ton of time. Just like what we’ve written about above, there’s going to be certain information the bot will need to be able to write a script for our specific case usage. And the more information we can give the bot, the better and more targeted our script will be.

So to make things as easy as possible for you, we’ve created the gala script outline below. Of course you’ll need to fill in all the information for your own charity, and any other pertinent information that you want to be included. But this prompt will have you well on your way to creating an actionable script in a matter of minutes.

Example Auction Script

I need a detailed and engaging charity auction script for an upcoming fundraising event hosted by [Your Nonprofit Organization Name]. The script should be tailored to our organization’s mission and audience. Please include the following information to ensure the script is specific and effective:

  1. Introduction:
    • A warm welcome and introduction of the auctioneer.
    • Brief information about our organization and its mission.
    • Acknowledgment of key sponsors, donors, and volunteers.
  2. Item Descriptions:
    • Clear and vivid descriptions of each auction item.
    • Unique selling points and any interesting backstory or significance.
    • Starting bid and bid increments for each item.
    • Visual aids or testimonials to enhance item appeal.
  3. Auctioneer Cues:
    • Specific phrases and techniques to encourage bidding.
    • Signals for transitioning between items.
    • Acknowledgment and thanks for bidders and high bids.
  4. Engagement Techniques:
    • Incorporation of humor, urgency, and emotional appeals to maintain audience interest.
    • Strategies for engaging different donor demographics (e.g., younger donors, high-net-worth individuals, corporate donors).
  5. Handling Unpredictable Moments:
    • Tactics for addressing last-minute changes and surprises.
    • Quick thinking anecdotes and adaptable script sections.
  6. Conclusion:
    • Summarize the event’s success and thank everyone for their participation.
    • Highlight the impact of the donations on our cause.
    • Encourage future participation and ongoing support.
  7. Additional Information:
    • Date and time of the event.
    • Venue details and any special features.
    • Key points or themes to emphasize throughout the event.
    • Any specific stories or testimonials that should be included.
    • Information about the audience demographics and expected turnout.

Event Details:

  • Event Name: [Your Event Name]
  • Date and Time: [Event Date and Time]
  • Venue: [Event Venue and Location]
  • Expected Audience Size: [Number of Attendees]
  • Audience Demographics: [Details about the audience, such as age range, interests, and donor levels]

Organization Information:

  • Organization Name: [Your Nonprofit Organization Name]
  • Mission Statement: [Brief Mission Statement]
  • Key Programs and Initiatives: [Short Description of Key Programs and Initiatives]
  • Impact Stories: [One or Two Brief Impact Stories or Testimonials]

Auction Items:

  • Item 1: [Item Name, Description, Starting Bid, and Bid Increments]
  • Item 2: [Item Name, Description, Starting Bid, and Bid Increments]
  • Item 3: [Item Name, Description, Starting Bid, and Bid Increments]
  • Additional Items: [Continue with Additional Items]

Now this may seem a bit much, but the more details you can include, the better your script will be. And hopefully all the information you need is digitized, so it’s really a matter of copying and pasting in the appropriate placeholders. Just filling out the information in our example will be enough to generate a quality script that you can further tweak to your liking wither using the tool or simply by hand.

TIP: You can even use ChatGPT to create catchy item descriptions, come up with your jokes or even retell your stories to be even more heartfelt and effective. You can even go further and tell the bot to use all the information and script it creates to come up with amazing social media posts to help promote the event. There is just so much you can do with this tool!

Engagement Techniques: Keeping the Audience Involved

For any auction to be successful, people need to be engaged and excited the entire time. By incorporating time tested engagement techniques, you’ll be able to transform a standard auction into a lively and memorable event, while getting your supporters to bid generously and repeatedly.

Strategies that use a bit of bidding psychology and engaging storytelling combined with a little humor, urgency, and emotional appeals will all accumulate to become a powerful fundraising strategy that you can use over and over to hold some of the best auction events your supporters have ever had the honor of attending.

Incorporating Humor

No one wants to be bored at an event, and humor is a powerful tool for breaking the ice and keeping the atmosphere light and enjoyable throughout the evening. An auctioneer who can inject humor into the proceedings in a clever way can encourage audience participation and reducing any anxiety about bidding.

For example, an auctioneer might use light-hearted jokes or playful banter to engage the audience. "Ladies and gentlemen, this next item is so unique that even my dog wants to bid on it!" This approach not only entertains but also makes the auctioneer seem more approachable and personable.

Creating a Sense of Urgency

Using urgency is a great way to get bidders to get off the sidelines and start bidding immediately as well as creating excitement and multiple bids. Techniques such as countdowns, time-limited offers, or highlighting the rarity of an item can motivate your audience to start bidding and should be considered best practices.

And one of the most effective way to instill urgency is through verbal cues and pacing. For instance, your auctioneer might say, "This exclusive vacation package is only available for the next five minutes! Don’t miss out on this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to travel to beautiful Hawaii, place your bids now!" By emphasizing the limited availability and giving them a glimpse of the vacation, your auctioneer can get people to impulsively bid without even thinking about it.

Emotional Appeals

Emotional appeals are always a great way to get people to loosen their purse strings. Stories that describe the suffering of the recipients of their donations, and their stories of how your charity has made a positive impact to relieve that suffering can all create a powerful emotional response, motivating attendees to contribute more generously.

Consider incorporating personal testimonials or success stories into the script at different intervals. Don’t go overboard and make the event a sad affair, just remind them the final goal of your gala. For example, a simple story line would be something like, "Let me share a story about a family whose lives were transformed thanks to your generous donations. Because of supporters like you, they now have a safe home and a brighter future." By linking the auction items and bids to tangible outcomes and personal stories, you’ll have a much better chance of eliciting a stronger emotional connection with your audience and drive higher participation.

Real-Life Examples of Engaging Scripts in Action

A successful example comes from a charity auction where the auctioneer used a combination of humor and urgency to great effect. For a high-value art piece, the auctioneer joked about his own lack of artistic talent, which drew laughs and made the audience more relaxed. He then shifted to urgency, stating that this was a rare piece from a renowned artist whose works were rapidly appreciating in value, pushing the audience to bid quickly.

Another example involves a nonprofit that regularly integrates emotional storytelling into their auctions. Before bidding on a set of unique handcrafted items made by beneficiaries of the charity, the auctioneer shared a touching story about one of the artisans, detailing how the charity's support had changed their life. This emotional appeal led to enthusiastic bidding and significantly higher final bids.

Although you don’t need to combine all of these techniques into your event, the more you can the better your outcome will be. Just look at the two case studies we presented that both incorporated all of these techniques and the increases they experienced. And it just takes a bit of strategic placement throughout your script to be sure you’ve done as much as possible to ensure a great evening for your attendees and a profitable fundraiser for your cause.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I tailor my gala speech and script to a very diverse audience?

Use inclusive language that respects all backgrounds and cultures. Avoid jargon or colloquial phrases that might not be universally understood. Highlight the universal impact of the charity's mission and the personal stories behind the cause to create a connection with a wide audience.

How often should I update or revise my charity and speech body?

Revise your script before each event to incorporate feedback, reflect any changes in the charity’s mission or goals, and to keep the content fresh and relevant. Consider annual updates at a minimum, or more frequently if you hold multiple events a year.

Are there legal considerations to keep in mind when writing a script for a charity auction?

Ensure compliance with local regulations regarding fundraising and auctions. Clearly state the terms and conditions of bidding and payment. Disclose any restrictions or conditions associated with auction items. Consult with a legal advisor to ensure all aspects of the auction are compliant.

How can I effectively train volunteers or staff to deliver the auction script?

Provide a detailed script and conduct training sessions that include rehearsals. Offer feedback and coaching on delivery, pacing, and engagement techniques. Use role-playing scenarios to prepare them for possible questions or interruptions. Ensure they understand the mission and impact of the charity to convey passion and authenticity.

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Bill Allen

Bill Allen is an expat that has been travelling the world for the past 25 years. He received his MA in writing in New York too long ago to remember, but has been writing on all sorts of subjects far varied publications ever since. When he isn't writing he enjoys meditating and working on his own website, UpscaleDrinks.com. Feel free to connect with him any time.

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