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Scott Robertson Auctioneers
August 22, 2011

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Stage a Comeback Like a Kid: Take Baby Steps for Re-entry

Southwest Florida is starting to see signs that people are returning to normalcy.  Many people applaud this and have returned to dining in restaurants and enjoying other public places.  Others are just not ready to venture out yet.    It reminds me of a child standing in the middle of a teeter-totter, having just found the balance point, thus allowing him/her to stay level.  The child knows that standing in the middle is safe in the short-term but ultimately he/she must make a move.

Isn’t this a little bit like the tricky balance we are trying to maintain in all aspects of our lives?  Either way has consequences and it feels risky to make a move in either direction.

The Eventful Company works with many not-for-profit organizations, who provide services to people in need. Financial support is required to continue to provide services. Most spring fundraising events scheduled for mid-March or later were cancelled due to Covid-19.  The net result is that the event budget line item has not been replaced. Thus, the organization is faced with this “teeter-totter” type of uncertainty about how to replace that revenue.

Think of this like the child who finally makes a move on the teeter-totter and tests the safety of his or her choices.  If the step is safe, then he or she takes another, followed by yet one more, thus finding small successes which build confidence.  We suggest that charitable organizations begin to take those small steps and measure the success of each step.  As you experience positive results, then you continue to move on more boldly.  What are those baby steps that your organization can begin to take to build confidence?

Baby Steps for Charitable Organizations:

Schedule a Remote Silent Auction Event in one of two formats:

  • Online auction
    Guests go online to see the items and bid. This functions in a manner similar to E-Bay, as the bidding is done through a website and you are notified if you have been outbid.

    • Advertise this through all of your communication channels, including Social Media.
    • Your audience reach is not limited to the number of guests that can attend your event, so you can actually increase the number of guests who attend your event.
    • If you had already acquired auction items before the “shutdown”, the items need to be used anyway due to an expiration date.

  • Host a Silent auction using mobile bidding.
    • Similar to an online auction except that guests bid using their mobile phones. It is set up on your phone with a simple text message.
    • Very easy to use. One of our new clients did a mobile bidding auction in early April to replace a live event they cancelled.  They were hesitant go try this because they thought that guests would not figure out how to bid with their cell phones.  Not only were they pleasantly surprised at how easy it was, but they were thrilled with the financial outcome.
  • Hold small intimate gatherings like those listed below. Build confidence in the safety of getting together.  By hosting a very safe and pleasant experience, people are more likely to embrace other events that your organization will host in the future.  Ensure that all safety precautions are taken so that the entire experience provides a level of comfort to the guests. These can be held in a country club, restaurant private dining room, or the home of a board member.
    • Schedule a small intimate luncheon with individual donors if your donors are comfortable doing so. This is an opportunity to check on that individual and re-establish communication with them.   Use this as a relationship-building opportunity.
    • Host a “strictly social” get-together, which provides an outlet for people who have been on lockdown for a while. This may provide a much-needed breath of fresh air.
    • Host a series of small events with 4-6 guests or less. Consider inviting different groups to these events – donors, board members, executive committee members, staff, and volunteers.
    • Bring strategic groups of individuals together. Use this as an opportunity exchange ideas about charting your organization’s course for the next 6 months or year.
    • Provide some activity focus for a group of key individual to get together. Do a group activity to accomplish a stated goal.

  • Schedule an online educational seminar from a well-known industry expert. Do not charge for the seminar itself, but accept donations.

Baby steps lead to success and a safe exit off the teeter-totter.   As you build confidence for yourself and your attendees, then you can learn to run.  If you have questions about this newsletter or any of the tools discussed, feel free to give us a call at the number below.

Watch for our next newsletter, which will focus on running (without scissors).