As a nonprofit leader, you’re focused on one goal: fulfilling your mission. To do this, you work to raise funds and awareness for your cause. Auctions are highly successful fundraisers for nonprofit initiatives, but how can you use them to draw attention to your nonprofit’s mission?
Your nonprofit’s brand elements represent everything your organization stands for, so advertising them is essential to gain recognition and support in the communities you serve. You can easily incorporate this branding into your upcoming auction to remind attendees of the event’s purpose. Let’s explore five ways your organization can pair the power of auctions and nonprofit branding to increase support for its mission.
1. Event landing page
Brand exposure should start at the earliest possible stage in your event planning process: auction promotion. You can spread the word about your upcoming event by leveraging the visibility of your nonprofit’s website—and promote your brand while you’re at it.
To streamline the process, invest in auction software that facilitates event landing page creation. Then, use the page to connect your brand to the event by including:
- Your logo: This is arguably the most recognizable element of your nonprofit’s brand. Make your logo visible in at least one location on the page (not including your website’s navigation bar) to directly connect the auction with your nonprofit.
- Your mission statement: Emphasize your organization’s mission to explain the purpose of the event. In a couple of sentences, share how the event will support your mission, giving specific details about the projects or activities the event will fund.
- Relevant statistics: Numbers are a concrete way to prove the pressing need for your nonprofit’s work. Share relevant statistics about your beneficiaries, past fundraisers, and other information to encourage site visitors to get involved.
Once you’ve completed the page, leverage the Google Ad Grant to ensure your page shows up first on Google for relevant keywords. For example, an animal shelter might target the keyword “support stray kittens” with its Google Ads so that an internet user finds the auction page and is encouraged to register for the event.
2. QR Codes
The most important bridge to build at your nonprofit’s auction is between the one-time event and the everlasting need for donor support. You’ll need to shift attendees’ focus from event participation to long-term nonprofit involvement by directing them to your nonprofit’s other resources.
QR codes can initiate this shift by encouraging bidders to explore your nonprofit. First, you’ll need to incorporate them into your event. ClickBid’s guide to silent auction planning recommends preparing QR codes for each auction item. To learn more about an item, bidders will use their phones to scan the code, which directs them to your auction item catalog.
By encouraging auction attendees to explore item information on their phones, you’ll create an opportunity for them to also explore more information about your organization. They can navigate to your nonprofit’s website, details about the event, or any other branded channels that encourage their long-term involvement.
3. Programs and brochures
If you’ve exhausted all your digital marketing options, consider using old-school techniques by printing event programs and brochures with information about your nonprofit. These materials can be passed out at the entrance to the event, placed on seats in the venue, or offered in any other convenient location where most people are likely to pick one up.
Use these reading materials to briefly share your:
- Vision: Describe the long-term change you hope to see as a result of your nonprofit’s work. What is your vision for the communities you serve? How can donors help you get there? List your official, one-sentence vision statement and expand upon it.
- Programs: What actionable steps is your nonprofit taking to turn its vision into reality? List your various projects and programs, highlighting specific areas where supporters can get involved.
- Impact: Emphasize what your nonprofit has accomplished so far with statistics, compelling visuals, and quotes from beneficiaries.
Aside from directly addressing your nonprofit’s work, these programs and brochures can display your brand elements like your logo, color palette, typography, and tone. According to Kwala’s guide to nonprofit branding, brand elements such as these are important for unifying your promotional materials. Consistency between your auction pamphlet and other communications will help establish brand credibility and make your nonprofit more recognizable.
4. Branded items
During the event planning process, you’ll need to prepare numerous materials to be used at the auction. The good news is that these materials can display your nonprofit’s branding, drawing extra attention to your organization despite the excitement of enticing auction items and competitive bidding.
Some ideas for branded items that can be used at your auction include:
- Pens: Whether attendees are signing in to the event, writing their bid on a bid sheet, or just taking a quick note, pens are a simple way to remind them of your nonprofit. After the event, pens easily find themselves in purses and pockets by accident, giving your nonprofit’s logo a chance to be seen every time the pen is used in the future!
- Auction paddles: At a live auction, paddles will be used by participants to place bids on their favorite items. This means an auction paddle will be raised in the air above the crowd every time someone wants to place a bid! Use these paddles as miniature billboards to display your nonprofit’s brand colors and logo.
- T-shirts: Whether they’re worn by your auction volunteers or sold at a concessions stand, t-shirts are an easy way to promote your brand. Plus, when you sell t-shirts with your nonprofit’s name and logo to supporters, you’ll generate revenue and recruit brand ambassadors to spread the word about your organization.
Depending on the items you choose, you’ll be able to include different elements of your brand. For example, your tagline might look visually appealing on a t-shirt but would be too small to read on a pen. Instead of simply printing your nonprofit’s logo on every material for the event, think strategically about how to make the merchandise visually appealing.
5. Mission-centric presentations
Especially if you decide to leverage mobile bidding software for your auction, you might need to secure entertainment since event attendees won’t be physically placing bids or listening to a live auctioneer. Recruit a presenter to share information about your organization. Consider asking:
- Board members
- Staff members
After hearing a moving story from a beneficiary or the inspiring vision of a nonprofit board member, your audience will be more than just engaged. These impactful messages are at the heart of your nonprofit’s brand and have the power to turn auction attendees into loyal donors who continue giving beyond your auction.
To truly maximize the impact of your nonprofit’s branding, create a centralized brand kit that lists all of your brand elements and explains how they should be used. Consistent visual elements will make your nonprofit’s communications look more professional and credible. Plus, they’ll catch the attention of anyone who appreciates a great visual look!