By: Dan Campbell

As we try to cater to the millennial crowd who are showing different giving methods, we look to create unique and creative ways for them to engage and participate in the fundraising. 

One such idea is a Buy-in Party. Also known as a Count Me In, Sign Up Party, or Buy a Spot. If you have access to a special event on a specific date, creating an auction lot that offers bidders the opportunity to purchase tickets to attend such an event on a per-unit basis. It could be per person, per pair, per table or even per team.

We used to assume that buy-ins would only work if the majority of the crowd knew each other. (“Do I want to attend with strangers?”)Furthermore, many events believed that buy-ins could not generate significant income.

But as larger auctions began to realize the versatility of the buy-in lot, they have evolved to become an logical alternative to the traditional auction to the highest bidder format.  Buy-ins give you the capacity to offer a lower level participation in your live auction while still raising as much or more than you would with a single buyer lot.

In the process, buy-ins also offer bidders a “perceived bargain.” Imagine your live auction with 6-8 items that sell anywhere from $3,000-$10,000. With the right item a buy-in for 20 attendees who are willing to spend $1,000 each for the special event would bring in $20,000! Bidders who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to participate in the other live auction items at higher sell points can now do so, and that one lot generated more than any other single lot in the auction. 

This concept holds true for every auction. If your lowest selling lot goes for $1,000 that means there are people at your event who would love to pay $150 to be able to participate. Put together a party for 20 people at $150 each, and you have a successful lot and have engaged more bidders.