Online auctions are like...marriage
As my astute colleagues Eric and Brian have commented on this week, planning an online auction with or without a live event is quite similar to the planning of a wedding. As if the actual process of getting hitched isn’t stressful enough, there’s all the pressure to make sure that it goes off without a hitch.
Like anyone who has planned either type of event knows, there’s a lot of “hurry up and wait.” Hurry up to get the venue and vendors booked and wait for months for the next step. Hurry up to send out invitations and wait on the replies. I think the most striking similarity is that planning in both arenas is vitally important and then you reach a point where what’s going to happen will happen. You will find out just how well you planned. And then, it’s over. It to helps put these events in perspective.
What I want to touch on is how online auctions, and fundraising in general, is like a marriage. In the end, it’s about the long term. In both scenarios, there is an incredible amount of planning that goes into each event (which is even more impressive when one considers the non-wedding versions of these events happen once per year, sometimes more), but longevity is really the end goal of both situations. Friends and families gather to toast a new bride and groom, bring gifts, and wish them well on their life together. Donors and supporters gather to toast the great work a cause is doing, bring gifts, and then wish them well on another year of changing and bettering lives. And then the real work begins!
All this is to say that any one auction for a non-profit is important and, of course, a wedding is an extremely special day in a couple’s lives. I am just as guilty, perhaps more so at times, of allowing a single day to overshadow the much more important part: continuing to provide great services to people and embarking on a life together, raising children that will provide and benefit from these services in the future.
Thank your donors, friends, and family. Keep in touch with news of how their support, financial and otherwise, has helped you achieve and exceed your goals, and continue to show your gratitude. You can never be too gracious or too thankful.
With an attempt to balance the short and long term, I’ll leave you with a toast. Here’s to today. Here’s to the 2012 fundraising events and weddings, to pens inking more zeros to checks and to the flower girl finding her way down the aisle. Here’s to tomorrow. Here’s to kids having new textbooks and great teachers to help learn what’s in them, to building a happy and healthy home as a new married couple. To all of our lives together. Cheers.