cMarket, which runs BiddingForGood.com, an online auction service for nonprofits, has released a survey of charity auction managers across the U.S. who ran auctions between January and April of this year. The survey showed that this popular fundraising strategy is feeling the pinch of the economic slowdown.
Among the findings of the survey:
- 22% of the auction managers said they saw a decline in funds raised compared to last year.
- 65.1% reported that the economy had a somewhat or very noticeable impact on their event.
- 66% said it is "somewhat or "much more" competitive getting items from local merchants and 38% said merchants are getting more demanding for marketing benefits.
- 35% said that corporate sponsors are getting more demanding in asking for marketing/promotion benefits.
- 29% report lower attendance at their events
- 20% say they had fewer bidders this year and 35% say those bidders who did participate were less active.
Jon Carson, CEO of cMarket, commented on the results: "In this environment auction committees are well advised to revisit their assumptions around their goals and what is attainable. If you plan on matching last year's goal, or even beating it, you may need to think about what you’ll do differently as the headwinds appear to be much stronger this year."
In an earlier survey of non-profit auction bidders done in February 2008, cMarket found that 25% of auction managers were planning on pulling back this year due to the economy. Timothy Matthews, senior analyst, who led the project, said, "“This latest survey shows that more discretionary purchases such as art, collectibles, and jewelry didn’t do as well, while everyday items such as travel, dining and entertainment were still popular even if total bidding was down."
For some ideas, directly from the auction managers themselves, about how to cope with the downturn without giving up your auction program, see our article: