Hosting an auction is a great opportunity for nonprofit organizations to raise funds to support their critical work and help fulfil their mission. With the need for their efforts seemingly constantly increasing, many nonprofits are looking to expand their fundraising goals and the number of events they host to help meet them – in fact, more than 70% of nonprofit leaders surveyed reported their intention to do so.
As lucrative as an auction can be, pulling one off is no small feat – they require an incredible amount of work and attention to detail. However, as expectations rise, nonprofit professionals strive to do more with less to support their fundraising endeavors, including using artificial intelligence (AI) tools like ChatGPT to help lighten their workload and extend their limited capacity.
How can you use AI tools to host your auction more efficiently and effectively? Read on to learn some tips (written by a real-live human based on over a decade of auctioneer experience and not using ChatGPT) and some pitfalls to avoid when using AI to write your auction descriptions.
The Importance of Silent Auction Descriptions
In 2021, live auctions in the US raised an average of $6.4 million. A study from the National Auctioneers Association indicates that nonprofit organizations can raise up to 50% more through an auction than other fundraising approaches. With that kind of earning potential, and the near herculean effort it takes to host an auction, you can’t afford a lackluster attempt. Accurate well-crafted descriptions for your auction items are an absolute must-have.
Bidders rely on auction descriptions to encourage them to bid. A detailed description informs a buyer what to expect from the item they are bidding on. A compelling description will grab a potential bidder’s attention and entice them to bid, raising the winning bid overall. A powerful description has the capacity to create an emotional connection with a buyer, transforming the interaction from bidding on an object to investing in an experience.
Generating Auction Descriptions with AI
Even though AI tools have been integrated into the systems we use regularly for some time, the recent introduction of technologies like ChatGPT, an AI-powered chat bot that has the capability to synthesize a large amount of information to create concise copy, has created significant buzz in the industry. For example, you could ask the tool a question like “can you write an auction description for a seven day stay at an all-inclusive resort in Aruba?” and in a matter of seconds, it’s done. This offers an array of benefits for your auction including:
- It can save time and money. AI tools can dramatically reduce the time it takes to write your descriptions. What could take 30 minutes, or even an hour, for you or your team to do can be done in as little as 10 seconds, freeing up your time and the talents of your team to focus on other priorities for planning your auction. Nonprofit professionals are always looking for ways to conserve resources and allocate them to serving the needs of their community. Another survey showed that 89% of nonprofit leaders believe that AI can increase the efficiency of their organization. Finding ways to save time is crucial when planning your auction. Otherwise, you could end up losing money on the endeavor if it eats up too much of your staff’s time.
- It helps you maintain consistency. Fundraising efforts at nonprofit organizations often have to take an “all hands on deck” approach to get the work done. That means there could be multiple team members working on writing descriptions, each with their own writing style and tone. Using AI can help ensure your descriptions read like they were all written by the same (non) person.
- It can get the creative juices flowing. Writing can be hard, especially when you are putting maximum effort into hosting your auction. When you have a lot on your plate, it can be difficult to write clever, pithy, engaging auction descriptions. However, you do not want your descriptions to be an afterthought. Using AI tools can help you brainstorm ideas for new words or phrases to help make your descriptions appealing and persuasive.
With all its advantages, using AI technology does have some drawbacks, including:
- It’s not perfect. Even artificial intelligence makes mistakes. The copy it writes can still contain typos, inconsistencies, errors in grammar, incorrect wording, and out-of-date information. So, you still must put a human eye to it to ensure your descriptions are the best they can be.
- It’s not original. No one knows your audience like you do. Descriptions that are tailored to your audiences are more likely to resonate with them and bring you success. The language that comes from AI tools will likely be generic, and you’ll want to have a real human edit to add some sparkle. Additionally, using AI technology to write copy is not a secret. Many industries are experimenting with it, and the technology doesn’t play favorites – it is likely giving the same ideas to an unlimited number of users.
- It can’t replace a seasoned auctioneer. No two auctions are identical, just as no two organizations are the same. While AI can help you with menial tasks, it can’t replace the connection or expertise that comes from working with auctioneering professionals who can guide you through the entire process of hosting a fruitful auction.
The key to success at any auction is the organization itself. You can have the most amazing auction items available with riveting descriptions, but what will truly sell them is your nonprofit itself. Your bidders are drawn to your auction because of who you are and what you do. And that’s where Star Benefit Auctions comes in. Making you the star of your fundraiser is our passion, and we know how to use (and not to use) the latest and greatest technology to help you succeed. You can count on us to add inspiration, energy, and entertainment to your next event. Contact us to help raise the bid at your next charity auction.
With all the time you save using AI to write your auction descriptions, you can reallocate it to other significant events and fundraising strategies. We’ll talk more about those in future blogs, so stay tuned!