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FAQ: Auction Procurement


How do I prepare an auction procurement strategy? Question submitted by an auction chair with response from the auctioneer. Feel free to submit your own question to our Auctioneer.

 

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The "Who, What, When, Why and Hows" for Auction Procurement

 I am the event chairperson but we are getting a late start and I am relatively new to this organization.  I especially need guidance in soliciting and acquiring both live and silent items with excitement.

- Tim V., for charity art auction.

Hi Tim,

Good question. To prepare your procurement strategy, you will need to consider the following questions:

WHAT will be donated
Will the auction only offer tangible art? What about art-related experiences like a theme dinner with an artist hosted by supporters? Or studio tours with wine and hors devours? Or custom artwork like a partial plaster cast of the winning bidder? Or an art party where the guests are guided through a collaborative project by an artist and several bottles of wine? One of a kind experiences tend to do the best.

WHO will donate
Do you have a list of artists who donated last year or in past years? List of artists who have benefited or been involved with the program. Based on the answer to the previous question, you may also have parents of students who have been through the program that would be willing to host a dinner or party to be attended by an artist and winning bidder w/ friends. Or local businesses willing to donate wine / food or perhaps sponsor elements of the event.

WHY will they donate
Creating or reinforcing the connection to the non-profit is most important. The procurement letter needs to tell the story of the organization and who it benefits. How does it make a difference in people's lives and the community.

One other option to consider since your non-profit supports the arts, is to allowing any artists who donate to get a percentage of the sale at the auction. Or give them each two tickets to the event so that they can mingle and meet the patrons. Each table could have a different artist (+ guest) at it so that people can learn about that artists' process, interests, explorations, etc.

HOW will they donate

Along with the procurement letter, you will want to send a donation form. Here is an example of the information you will want to include in the auction donation form

WHEN should they donate
Be sure to provide a deadline with enough time to gather art and artist statements, sequence live items with the help of your auctioneer, and print the catalog. Even better if you can post it online in advance then email to event attendees and supporters. Especially with art, people need time to digest. There will always be a possibility of last minute donations that need to be accommodated. But that is easier if everything else is in place.

Best of luck with your art auction!

 


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