Softwire’s Inaugural Charity Auction
6 June 2017, by Laura Bethke
In March, we held a new big fundraising event at Softwire: our first ever charity auction.
The idea was born in a CSR meeting where we were brainstorming ideas for fundraising, and our director Phil and I (a developer) were both very keen to organise this.
We wanted to get donations from lots of different sources: clients, local businesses and employees. As we are a Software company, few of our clients have products that are suitable to be auctioned off, but we managed to get a very generous donation from David Lloyd and also a lot of tasty donations from our various kitchen suppliers.
To get local businesses involved, we sent small teams out to various streets around Highgate Studios, to speak to business owners and see whether they’d like to contribute. I was overwhelmed by the response – we got donations from nearly 40 separate businesses, ranging from vouchers to meals to Escape Room tickets.
Finally our employees offered various promise based items. Examples include delicious cakes, a gig by our director’s cover band in your own home, our chef offering to help you prepare a gourmet dinner party and many more…
On the day of the auction, we made sure to thank all of the businesses who had contributed on our social media, and we also sent them letters after the night telling about how much we’d raised. Hopefully they’ll remember us if we decide to host a similar event in future, as the varied items they donated contributed so strongly to the success of the evening.
The night was held in our offices, for employees and friends. We had delicious food from local restaurants (who kindly gave it to us at a reduced rate as we told them about the charitable aspect) and Phil as compere. There were nearly 60 items to be auctioned off, with some smaller value ones being part of a raffle. What I had hoped to be a pleasant evening that would raise between one and two thousand pounds, turned into an extremely entertaining night which raised a staggering £5500. It turns out that the excitement and fun of bidding (a lot of it down to Phil’s excellent hosting), and the fact all the money went to a good cause, motivated people to be very generous with their bids. A highlight of the night was an item offered by Softwire itself – the right to name a new meeting room. There was a fierce battle between the football and Smash factions, that was ultimately won by the latter – who paid a mind-boggling £1,300 pounds to be proud room parents.
Because of Softwire’s generous policy of matching certain fundraising events, the total amount donates was actually doubled to more than £11,000 in total. The money was split between Ashanti Development and Home-Start Camden, two charities we at Softwire feel very passionately about.
The night was a tremendous success and also a lot of fun, but also a big organisational challenge. I do hope we can repeat it at some point in future though – and who knows, we might raise even more.