Looking for inspiration when it comes to successful nonprofits? Take it from the Roundabout Theatre Company in New York, one of the city’s leading nonprofit theatre companies. Their focus is on producing quality theatre that includes accessibility for all audiences. Not only have they won multiple Tony Awards and Drama Desk Awards, but they’re in their seventh year running online auctions, which has proven to be a cornerstone of success with 16 auctions on the platform.
The company started small with their auction, and has since grown to a campaign that includes hundreds of items to bid on. Their catalog focuses on one-of-a-kind, once-in-a-lifetime experiences, such as 2016’s 2 House Seats to Hamilton with a Meet and Greet with Lin-Manuel Miranda and 4 Suite Tickets to Adele at Madison Square Garden.
Passionate board, staff and supporters help with the online auction every step of the way. In their 2017 auction, the company attracted over 440 bidders who placed a total of 3,203 bids, raising over $154,000. Plus, 219 members of the community of cause-minded shoppers placed over 1,700 bids, raising over $75,000!
The Roundabout Theatre Company’s formula for success is quite simple. They utilize e-blasts to mailing list subscribers and previous donors, as well as putting out social media promotion across Facebook and Twitter. When it comes to bringing in those fabulous and unique items, they leverage relationships of the board and staff. A bit of networking can go a long way!
How can you learn from the Roundabout Theatre Company’s prosperous auction? Here are a few tips:
- Solicit donations from businesses that are located nearby
- Have more than one chair to distribute the work
- Get your staff on board
- Use program to thank donors
- Tap personal contacts wherever possible
If you follow the company’s lead, your nonprofit will be sure to find online auction success.