How a school auction theme attracted a new auction donor

Quick selfie at the hotel before I headed out!  (I also had elbow-length gloves, which I put on later.)

About half the auctions I work have a theme.  Auction themes are most often used by school fundraisers, though just last weekend I worked a wine auction for the Amarillo Symphony which adopted a classy 1920's theme.  (See my selfie on the right.) Some auction chairs hate themes.  I can appreciate their opinion.  They don't want to worry about finding the "right" outfit.  They want to feel comfortable.  They don't want to look silly. But today I want to share a story I heard from an Auction Chair that gave me a new appreciation for auction themes. One of the smaller school auctions I work with does a fabulous job decorating « Continue Reading »

Anatomy of a live item sale: selling Taylor Swift tickets

School auctions are typically noisy, rambunctious affairs.  The parents know each other.  Many are close friends because of their children's ties.  And because they socialize together outside of school, the auction itself is just another party. I love school auctions, but they can be demanding on an auctioneer.  School auctions are like house parties, giving parents -- especially younger ones (K-8) -- the opportunity to leave the kids for a night. Whereas nonprofit events are often more civilized affairs, school auctions are raves. As an auctioneer, my job is to command the attention of the crowd, reeling guests « Continue Reading »

Wine silent auction idea: Sommeliers drive bigger bids

Wine silent auction idea sommeliers

I'll be working a wine auction later this month in Texas and thought I'd share a wine silent auction idea I witnessed at another event. If you've got a lot of wine in your auction, why not have a sommelier onsite to educate guests and  "talk up" your packages? At a school auction earlier this year, one entire silent auction section was devoted to wine. Large formats.  Hard to find wines.  Rare vintages. Some were sold as cases or collections; others were sold as single bottles. Though many of your guests might appreciate wine, that doesn't mean they are familiar with every bottle they see. Many might be partial to « Continue Reading »

Live auction display ideas for vacations

Live auction item display Greece

If you’ve got a vacation or two that will be sold in your live auction, it helps to geographically show guests where the city / resort / hotel is located. When I’m serving as auctioneer for a group, I create my own “displays” to help market items. I often don’t know what the client will« Continue Reading »

Continue Reading

Video: School auction theme? Mumbai

If you’re considering different school auction themes, here’s how one school incorporated Mumbai into their event.

Continue Reading

Part 3: The raging debate on silent auction bid numbers versus names

Silent auction bid sheet numbers versus names

This is a 3-part blog post, explaining why benefit auctions should identify guests with bid numbers instead of names. The first post looked at the benefits of using numbers in a Fund a Need. The second post examined the use of numbers in the live auction. Today we’ll turn to the silent auction. +++++++++++++++++ Why« Continue Reading »

Continue Reading

Part 2: The raging debate on auction bid numbers versus names in the live auction

This is a 3-part blog post, explaining why benefit auctions should identify guests with bid numbers instead of names. The first post looked at the benefits of using numbers in a Fund a Need. Today, we examine using numbers in the live auction. The third post turns to using numbers in the silent auction. +++++++++++++++++« Continue Reading »

Continue Reading