Whether you’re planning your fundraiser for January, June, or just before the winter holidays, the best possible time to ask for non-profit auction items is January. Why? Many businesses and organizations have a limited annual budget for donations. It pays to be the first to ask! When you reach out to ask for non-profit auction items in January, you have a better chance of being a recipient.

That said, getting the bulk of your non-profit auction items lined up in January does present some logistical challenges. We’ve pulled together some ideas and best practices to help you stay on top of your inventory, regardless of when you’ve scheduled your event.

How will we keep track of our inventory?

If you collect the bulk of your non-profit auction items early in the year, how will you keep track of all of that inventory between receiving it and your event? To help you keep track, and prevent a bottleneck closer to your fundraiser, we recommend creating quick item descriptions as you go.

  • Use your NEW Qtego Inventory and Packaging Tool to quickly catalog donations.
  • Create a complete listing immediately, or circle back to update or complete the listing later.
  • Easily group items together into packages after you see what types of donations you receive. 

Where will we store all of our non-profit auction items?

Just because you’re asking for donations in January doesn’t necessarily mean you need to find storage space for bulky items all year long. If you don’t have available space for long-term storage, you can still take advantage of early donations.

  • Ask businesses if you can pick the donated items up closer to the time of your event. Be sure you track your inventory so you don’t forget!
  • Some items don’t require storage. Use your Qtego Dashboard to create printable gift certificates. Perfect for non-tangible items like trips, or for gift cards that would otherwise be easy to misplace, a gift certificate is easy to print right before your event.
  • If push comes to shove and you wind up storing your non-profit auction items in your office or someone’s attic, it’s especially important to note the location of the item! Otherwise, you might find yourself in a last-minute scramble to locate your missing inventory. 

What types of donors are more likely to give non-profit auction items in January?

Some donors are happy to give any time of year or have a more open-ended donation schedule. However, in working with organizations around the country, we’ve noticed certain types of donors are more likely to exhaust their available non-profit auction items early in the year.

Non-profit Auction Items Gift Certificates

RESTAURANTS often set aside a certain number of gift cards or free item coupons per year. Be the first to ask, and you’ll more likely get a donation.

RETAILERS also limit gift cards and may have established guidelines for things like gift baskets or other donation items. It doesn’t hurt to ask early to find out each store’s policy.

DESTINATIONS tend to limit the number of tickets, stays, and services they give per year. Particularly if you’re asking a popular resort or attraction, be sure to ask as soon as you can in the new year.

SPORTS TEAMS love to partner with non-profits, but often limit the number of tickets they can give. If you’re asking for tickets, consider asking about other ways you can partner—if tickets are not available, the team may be willing to donate gear, signed equipment, or meet and greet events with players.

When you’re in charge of a fundraiser, don’t put off asking for non-profit auction items. Starting early in the year can make a big difference in the type and quality of inventory you’re able to offer—and the amount of money you can raise.

Find out how your Qtego Dashboard can streamline your fundraiser—from cataloging non-profit auction items to helping you manage your event with less stress. Set up your free consultation today and get your 2020 planning off to a great start!