FundraisingSchool Marketing

How to Market Your Upcoming School Auction: 4 Expert Tips

Your school relies on a steady flow of income to fund scholarships, extracurricular activities, and other miscellaneous expenses that enrich your students’ academic experience. One of the best ways to boost your revenue and engage your school’s community in fundraising is by hosting an auction.

An auction is a high-energy, flexible event that can take many different forms to meet your school’s specific needs. It can occur at any point of the year, like back to school or around the holidays, and can be in-person or virtual to allow flexibility. If you’ve hosted fundraising auctions for your school before, you might already have a good idea of how to procure items and create an engaging event program.

Regardless of if you’ve hosted an auction before, you will have to do more than just plan out your event agenda and logistics. Once you decide to host an auction, you need a way to get the word out about your fundraiser and create buzz. This is where a well-designed marketing plan can help!

Use these expert tips to promote your auction and make your event a success:

An auction can only be as successful as the number of enthusiastic attendees that participate, so it’s critical that you show the value in attending your event! Let’s dive in.

Create an Event Landing Page

The very first step to planning your auction is creating a landing page for your event on your school’s website. Your students, parents, teachers, and community members all look to your website for updates about your school. Since your website serves as the foundational hub of your school’s digital presence, this is a great place to spotlight your upcoming auction.

Create a dynamic landing page that details the ins and outs of your event and provides a visually engaging, user-friendly experience. Specifically, this landing page should include the following elements:

  • Your school’s branding elements, such as your color scheme, logo, and fonts.
  • The logistical details of your event, including the time and place, the purpose of the event, a description of the type of auction you’ll be hosting, and what people can expect if they attend.
  • An easily accessible, embedded registration form.
  • An overview of event perks to increase hype, such as a sneak peek of your item catalog or a description of the entertainment for the event.

Make sure to create calls to action (CTAs) on your website that direct visitors to your school auction landing page. For instance, you might create a button that says “Register for Our Upcoming Auction!” on your navigation bar to catch your audience’s eye. Keep your CTAs brief and thread them throughout relevant areas of your website where visitors are most likely to have their interest piqued. For example, a blog post about your school’s fundraising needs is a great place to spotlight your auction landing page.

Leverage Social Media

Social media is a powerful way to get your event in front of as many people in your school’s community as possible. Share engaging content about your auction, such as:

  • Photos of items that will be up for bid.
  • Videos of staff members from your school explaining the purpose of your event and why people should attend and participate.
  • Pictures of the students who will benefit from this event, such as your baseball team who will receive the funds they need to attend this year’s championship game.

From there, consider adding a catchy and relevant hashtag to your posts to increase your reach. Encourage your existing followers to share and repost your message using the hashtag to engage their followers and spread the message to a wider audience.

When creating your promotional posts, make sure to include a mobile-friendly link to your registration page in your caption or bio so people can easily sign up once they feel inspired. This way, people can follow through on your requests to register or sign up to volunteer from anywhere at any time.

Tap Ambassadors to Help

Another useful avenue of promotion is through your ambassadors. The OneCause guide to fundraising campaigns explains that ambassador campaigns empower ardent and well-connected supporters of your school to help spread the word about your auction and even fundraise in advance of the big event.

Your school likely has influential and outgoing volunteers, staff, or parents who can help spread the word about your auction throughout the community. Recruit these individuals to repost your social media content, share your event landing page with their networks, and increase your event visibility.

To take their participation a step further, ask ambassadors to peer-to-peer fundraise and bring in revenue before your auction even begins! Make sure you provide them with the right training and information so they can lead their campaigns with ease. Think about including a toolkit that includes:

  • Information about your event and mission.
  • Instructions on how to create their personal fundraising pages.
  • Social media graphics, hashtags, and accounts to tag.
  • A link to your registration page.

Once the fundraiser is over, be sure to send personalized thank-you messages to everyone who helped. Fundraising Letters’ guide to volunteer thank-you letters recommends greeting each ambassador with their first name, referencing their specific impact, and expressing heartfelt gratitude for their support.

You might also shout out your top peer-to-peer fundraisers at the auction itself and spotlight all the ambassadors that helped. This will increase the likelihood of ambassadors giving back to your organization again in the future!

Collaborate with Local Businesses

Another way to engage with your community is through partnering with local businesses. Local businesses can help amplify the reach of your event by marketing it to their clientele.

Start by reaching out to businesses in your community, such as local restaurants, and seeing if they would pass out flyers about your auction or market your event on their website and social media. In exchange, your school can add their logo to your marketing materials and publicly thank them during your auction.

Additionally, consider asking if they would like to donate an item, package, or experience that you could auction off to your attendees. It can be something small such as a gift card, free meal, or sample product. This will give your corporate partner an extra opportunity to advertise their business to your auction guests.

Wrapping Up

As your school looks into new ways to bring in funds, an auction is definitely a worthwhile event to consider adding to your fundraising agenda. Whether in-person, virtual, or hybrid, a school auction is an effective way to rally your community around bettering your institution. Be sure to take your time planning and prepping before diving right into hosting.

By wrangling all the important moving parts and tying them together with a complete strategy and timeline, you can raise more for your school than ever before. And by using these expert tips, you can craft a dynamic marketing plan that will make everyone want to attend and donate.

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