We raised money last night.. this is how we did it

Last night we held our first annual silent auction fundraiser and it was a success. We wound up raising close to $1500 and it cost us only $150 to put on!

The first thing we did was made sure we had a website with as much information as possible. We wanted to make sure that we looked as professional as possible. Then I literally spent a WEEK emailing, calling, emailing, and calling as many local businesses that either I had networked with previously or knew were interested in supporting our local city community. I told them about Help-Portrait and the goal and then lead in to the specifics of the organizations and/or people we will be working with locally. Then I explained to them specifically the expenses we needed to cover and why the fundraising is so important (a lot of people forget to do this!)

I was pretty relentless in asking businesses and artists and I had originally though that we would have more artists than businesses but it turned out the opposite!

Some of the auction items we had:
$100 Hair Salon Gift Card
Eyelash Extensions
Professional Airbrush makeup application
A month of unlimited Bickrham Yoga Classes
5 Classes of Yoga from another studio
Professional Photography Studio Rental
Professional Photography Lessons
Photo-realistic pet portrait painting of your pet
A collection of artwork from Jesse Lei
Photography from a local known art gallery owner
A collection of statue figured from the 1960s from the art gallery owner's person collection
Screen Printed Photo from one of my favorite graphic designer/illustrator
Package of beginner Pole Dancing Fitness classes
A custom vinyl toy from a very well known artist (the highest bidded on item!)
A chef's tasting menu and one night stay in an award winning bed and breakfast w/ celebrity chef

After I had all of the items collected (i kept a spread sheet of everyone who donated) we then laid them out on tables. Each item had a paper on it explaining the item and then had a grid. The party went from 7pm-9pm but bidding was only the last half hour.. so we opened bidding at 8:30. People approach the tables and then write in their bid. Someone else can walk up and up the bid and so on. Very much like a traditional auction but instead of raising your hand you write it!

After the time limit was up (and there were some very sought after items with intense bidding wars!)

Then I simply walked down each paper and announced the winners for each item. People would get their papers and then pay before they left via check, cash, or credit card (if you have a paypal account you can accept credit cards via your cell phone like a swipe machine!)

We had wine and food (lots of it donated by a lovely event planner) and some music. We also played the Help-Portrait video on a TV screen in the front room..

It was a great event.. I wish I had more people so the next time it happens I will work harder on getting a higher attendance, but not too bad for our first ever fundraising event!!!!!!!!!!

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wow I wish I knew about this earler.  steve becker-atlanta

Wow!  What a great idea!  Will definitely use that in 2012!! 

Just an FYI - its adds literally double the work so plan on having extra pre-event volunteers. Ones that are really good communicating and emailing. 

Brilliant idea and thank you for sharing! Was this fund raiser for H-P or for funding your particular event? I'm curious in case I'm being massively naive in thinking that an event can be run without needing funding. Thanks in advance!

yes, this was fund-raising for just the New Haven event done entirely separate from the main HP organization.

And yes, unless you want to pay for this out of your own pocket, you will NEED some funds to cover printers, ink, paper, etc.. Or minimally if you are doing printing off site to cover the cost of prints. As of now there are not sponsors for printing that are free

Thank you BSC_Photo. I came toolate to the 2011 party. I'm going to look at running a small event after Christmas and give myself a year to plan for Dec 2012. Have a great day on Saturday!

Props to you - have to do this next year.  Have a goal of $2500 to pay for printing at 5 locations.  $1600 down and $900 to go.  This approach would have helped.

What else have you done as far as raising money?? I'd love to know what other routes people are taking

Facebook posts - $2500 isn't really all that much when you think about the number of photographers and their community.  Big problem this year is that I didn't let people know early on that everyone would be responsible for raising some amount.

Ahh so you told photographers who wanted to shoot that they NEEDED to raise $XXX in order to shoot on that day?? That's a good idea!

I'm the only one doing fundraising here. It kinda annoys me

not this year but i think it might come to that.  Definitely need to recruit a fundraising leader.

Yea tell me about it.. I'd love to hear how you approach that next year!!  Ive been amazing at the number of volunteers versus the lack of help leading up to the event.

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