A recent report by the FRSB reveals the fundraising methods that attract the most complaints from the public. The most unpopular methods on the list include door-to-door fundraising, unsolicited mail and email, telephone fundraising, street fundraising and outdoor events. Possible reasons for some of these methods’ unpopularity could be the impression some people receive of being harassed or aggressively targeted, or simply irritation at being disrupted from daily activities. With regards to email and telephone fundraising, the public often complained about data protection or a poor use of data.
A negative experience of a charity’s fundraising methods can cause the public to have a negative perception of the charity or even charities in general. Fortunately, auctions (coming under the category Prize Draws) are amongst the least complained about fundraising methods on the list. Just 0.001% of auction participants make any complaint. When complaints do arise, the public appears to be most concerned about prize draws and other forms of gaming that involve cash prizes. Activities involving donated goods, such as auctions, attract very few complaints.
Online fundraising auctions manage to avoid many of the problems of more unpopular fundraising methods. Whereas other fundraising methods tend to target members of the public without their consent, auctions are fully voluntary. People can choose whether or not to participate in an auction – those registered onto an auction site are under no obligation to make any bids.
Auctions also have the benefit of not coming under gambling law, unlike raffles, lotteries and other prize draws. Complying with gambling law can cause a considerable amount of bother and expense, as it requires fully verifying the eligibility of all participants.
Auctions have various other advantages over prize draws and many other fundraising methods. Perhaps most importantly, they generally raise more money. The amount of money raised by a raffle or lottery is limited by the number of people willing to buy tickets – the number of tickets purchased would have to be considerable in order to raise a truly impressive amount of funds. And a recent study shows that on average only one in 180 people approached by street fundraisers sign up to make a donation. Auctions meanwhile can raise huge amounts of money through just a small group of participants bidding on high-value donated items.
This group of participants are more often than not rather affluent. This is another of auctions’ advantages over some other forms of fundraising. Many fundraising methods involve targeting members of the public regardless of their income. This can result in people with little disposable income feeling pressured to donate to a charity, something that can give charities a bad name. This is evidently not a problem with auctions.
Another very positive aspect of fundraising auctions is their enjoyable nature. Auctions are fun and exhilarating events. And bidders get something in return for their money – in effect, they are giving twice; once in support for a charity, and again in giving a gift to themselves. Participants tend to feel good about themselves for giving to a good cause whilst obtaining an item they genuinely want, sometimes at a bargain price. An auction is one of the few ways of giving to charity that is truly “enjoyable” in itself.
If your organisation is searching for new and effective ways to raise funds that won’t risk tarnishing your reputation then an auction is well worth considering. You can read more about the service we can offer to charitable organisations here.