Enter the Buy-A-Spot also known as Count Me In or Buy In Parties..
The Buy-A-Spot (also called Count-Me-In) approach often raises at least the same amount of money that it would have if the item were sold to one person.
We all know that the holy trinity of auction items are dinners, trips, and experiences. So for this example, let’s pretend that we have a chef-prepared dinner for sixteen people up for auction at our event. Sure, we can sell that entire experience to one wealthy donor for $8,000, or we can sell spots at that dinner for $500 each and raise at least $8,000. With Buy-A-Spots you’re very likely going to raise the same amount of money, but there are more people in the room with the capacity to give $500 than there are with the capacity to give $8,000.
Buy-A-Spots have traditionally been used for silent auction items, but they are becoming more and more popular during live auctions. And for good reason! By including Buy-A-Spot items in your live auction, you immediately start appealing to donors with a lower giving capacity, which means more of your room can participate in the event.
Here’s a few tips for using Buy-A-Spots in a live auction:
- Buy-A-Spot works best for auction lots where the more the merrier is the attitude. It works great for dinners, parties, camping, etc. Anytime you can sell a spot at a table, you can do a Buy-A-Spot.
- Pick a date for the Buy-A-Spot event before the auction so you can put it in your program. People need to know what date the event will be on so that they can plan ahead. If you have an item that you think is going to sell like gangbusters, pick a second backup date for after the first one fills up.
- Buy-A-Spots are performed by the charity auctioneer during the live auction, but the bidding on these items works a lot more like a Fund-A-Need. Your auctioneer will ask for everyone who wants a spot to put their paddles in the air. This eliminates the competition element present during bidding for a traditional live auction lot and turns it into a communal moment, introducing the pressure that is more often seen during a Fund-A-Need.
If your nonprofit decides to give Buy-A-Spots a go at your next live auction, drop me a line and let me know how it goes!