So you’re planning a benefit and charity event for your nonprofit organization. Your volunteers have been working hard gathering donations to be auctioned at your fundraising event. The catering is being planned, the venue has been reserved, the auctioneer has been hired. What is the biggest thing you can do to make your event a success? Get the right people to attend.

Remember that the main goal is fundraising for your organization. Those fundraising dollars are going to be coming from the audience at your live auction benefit event. Answering the question of who attends and why, can transform your charity auction from just fun entertainment to a profitable fundraiser. The object is not just to fill the room with warm bodies, but to fill it with the right people. The best charity auction audience is ready for an auction and able and willing to bid.

One way to create a great benefit auction audience is to charge a fairly expensive ticket price. This ticket price has a two-fold affect. First, it will filter out those people who do not have disposable income available or that do not have the desire to spend on your organization. Secondly, high-end patrons may prefer to be invited to a more exclusive event and be more likely to attend. Once you settle on a higher ticket price, then try to maximize the space you have for your event. Start out by determining how many attendees your venue can comfortably accommodate, then invite the right people to fill it.

The right audience can come from your own supporter database or can be new donors who will be unaware of your cause. So the first place to start is to make a list of the best supporters of your nonprofit. Hopefully your organization has information on past fundraisers and donations to make you aware of those who are already emotionally connected to your cause. If not, this will be a great opportunity to start! If you will be looking for new supporters, one place to start is with your nonprofit’s board members and committee members, who are also already emotionally attached to your cause. Additionally, they are usually connected by employment to a for-profit company that may be willing to be a sponsor of your event or purchase corporate tables. Look for prominent businesses in your area that will be looking for the type of clientele that will be at your event.

In the end, remember that if the main goal of the event is to financially support your nonprofit, you must fill the room with the people that will make that a reality. There can be other events that show appreciation to volunteers or celebrate successes, but a benefit & charity auction event takes a lot of work and time to come to fruition and usually only occurs once a year. You do not want this to end up just being a party; you need it to be a fundraiser. You can achieve your goals by proactively building the right charity auction audience.