SchoolAuction.net is a service of Northworld LLC, the premier provider of benefit-auction software solutions. Which is to say, we’re a software company who likes to help non-profits with their fundraisers.
Procurement is the Big Job that most auction teams focus on first. Ticket sales are obviously of top importance too, and a job no successful auction team ever ignores. Decorations, Will-Call, Database, Catalogs - chances are good you’ve got these slots on your team already filled.
So today, let’s talk about an auction-team function that may have slipped under your radar, but is definitely worth finding the right volunteer for. Having a skilled Transportation Coordinator and a good transportation plan will help get the auction items, along with the other things needed to run a successful event. Matter of fact, on my auction teams, a Transportation Coordinator is a requirement - decorations, donated items, food and beverages all must arrive at the event space on time!
The Transporation Coordinator’s job generally doesn’t kick into gear until 2-3 weeks before the event. They need to be organized, but don’t have to have a tremendous amount of time available to volunteer until a few days before the auction. They do not necessarily have to own a truck, or have a strong back - but it would help if they know people who do.
Here’s a few tips to offer to your Transportation Coordinator - each event’s needs will be different of course, but these will apply to most:
Create a check list of all the things that will arrive and where they belong. This will be helpful when setting up the auction. A copy near the entrance will aid in the deliveries as they arrive.
The team member who gathers the auction items and gift certificates will need help moving them to the event space. Some auctions can use one or two vans to do this, others may need to rent or have donated a u-haul style truck. I have found that a truck can be helpful at the end of the event. This is when most people will be tired and the event space must be cleared out.
The day of the auction is a very busy time - especially when everything is arriving. The Transportation Coordinator should be the field general for all deliveries - directing where the items go. This will help the set up go smoother and cut down on time spent searching for items.
There will always be a guest who did not anticipate bring home an item that will not fit in their car. One year we auctioned off a 15 foot long wall hanging made of recycled wool. It was a nature scene, very colorful and light weight. A parent bid and won the item, but at the end of the evening it would not fit in their van.
When the item was created and transported to the event space, no one had thought about the winning bidder taking it home. We came up with a solution and tied their wall hanging to the top of their van. We all had a chuckle and the item made it home safe.
Transportation can be a loose end if it is not set up properly. Having several volunteers to help with the pick up and deliveries of items is a key part to a successful event.
Pamela Kreutz has worked on school auctions for each of the last 10 years, as her 6 kids have progressed through various Portland Public Schools. She plans to keep doing so as long as it keeps being fun.