It is rare for 100% of donations to be successfully auctioned or used at designated event. Here are a few "best practices" we at DonationMatch have come across to deal with unsold prizes:
- "Second chance silent bid auction" by email: This will give you another chance to raise money with unsold donations by emailing your supporters, not just the ones who attended your event, and asking for bids for any of the remaining items. Include descriptions and terms/conditions, along with a deadline to submit their highest bid. The winner is determined from all submissions at a specified date/time.
- Ask: If a donor company did not already specify your proposed use as an acceptable use of their items, you may message them directly through DonationMatch and ask for their preference in how you handle their donation. In our experience, we've been given answers ranging from saving them for a future event, using them for a volunteer appreciation event, or destroying vouchers. If you have physical products, they may ask you to use it another way, return it, or assist with passing it along to another local organization of their choosing.
- Do NOT trade donations with other organizations without permission: Contrary to popular practice, many companies do NOT want their donations sent to other events or areas they have not personally selected. This could be due to geographic market or industry restrictions, legal limitations, or preferences, and doing so could result in your organization inadvertently causing issues for companies and/or being blocked from future donations.
It is always best to ask donor companies directly, and your honesty and desire to help them will benefit your relationship as well.