The Internet, in particular social media, has come to play an increasingly important role in charity fundraising. Here are a few tips about how to promote your fundraising auction online:
- A blog allows for more depth and scope than other social media channels. Write regular blog posts about the auction, both before, during and after the event. You could do this on the blog of the official site of your organisation, or you could create a blog specifically devoted to the auction, especially if it is a particularly large or high-profile fundraiser.
- As well as promoting the auction on your organisation’s main Facebook page, it may be a good idea to set up a page specifically for your event. A Facebook page is a brilliant way to interact with supporters and the public in general, and create excitement about the auction and items for sale. It’s also useful for posting any news or updates. Make sure to keep posts to a succinct 100 – 250 words, and to include photos – this dramatically increases engagement with posts. You should also create a Facebook photo album to promote the lots up for auction.
- Create a Facebook ad for the auction, or for one of the lots. A Facebook ad is a cost-effective and efficient way of attracting interest in your auction. Ads can be targeted at whichever user demographic is most relevant – for example, if you have a trip to a major golf tournament up for auction you may want to promote it to Facebook users who have listed golf as one of their main interests. You’re only charged for how effective the ad turns out to be in directing people to your page.
- Well-known and influential people who in most circumstances are difficult to get a hold of are often easily accessible on Twitter. Take advantage of this by reaching out to high-profile people and asking if they will spread the word about your auction event. If they agree, this could result in a huge amount of exposure.
- Share updates on Facebook, Twitter and your blog about new donors and donations to the auction, and about the general progress of the auction. Updates about celebrities who have donated items or have become involved in the auction could attract a great deal of interest.
- Make sure to emphasise, through all your social media channels and the auction site itself, the causes and projects the funds raised by the auction will go towards. If you have held auctions in the past show examples of how the money raised by them helped further the charity’s goals. Motivating people to feel strongly about the aims of the auction encourages them to want to participate and bid generously.
- If your auction has any sponsors or corporate donors, consider asking them to feature an article about the auction on their official website, or at least link to your auction site.
- Publicise the most noteworthy lots up for auction on websites, blogs, forums or groups where people are likely to be interested in items of that kind. For example, if you have a rare antique up for auction it may be a good idea to promote it on a specialist antiques site.
- LinkedIn is a social networking site which is often neglected by fundraisers. This is a shame, as LinkedIn can be very useful in building relationships with influential people who support your organisation’s cause. These connections can be called upon to obtain high-value auction items like free tickets to an event, luxury holidays and meetings with celebrities. They may also be interested in attending/taking part in the auction.
- The new social media site Pinterest provides an innovative and extremely visual way for charities to engage with supporters. Charities publish news on Pinterest, promote videos and campaigns and display letters and pictures sent in by supporters. Pinterest can also be very effective in publicising auctions and other fundraising events. For example, the Langdon Foundation recently used Pinterest to promote the most noteworthy lots up for auction at their Annual Dinner.
- It’s a good idea to begin promoting your auction quite some time before it begins. This gives the opportunity to attract as much interest as possible. After the auction has taken place publicise what happened during the auction and how much was raised, and make sure to include information about when the next auction will be held.
We offer a range of social media features which we can integrate with your auction site, so as to help you promote your auction. You can read more about them here and more about the service we can offer to charitable organisations here.