Are you planning on holding an auction fundraiser with headline entertainment? If so, pay heed to your scheduling.
The order of events dramatically affects how much you raise in your benefit auction.
Here’s an example.
For the past two days, I’ve been representing the National Auctioneers Association (NAA) at ASAE’s Springtime Expo in Washington, D.C.
(ASAE is the membership association for association staff members. NAA is a member of ASAE.)
ASAE has decided to incorporate a benefit auction into two events in 2009, Springtime Expo being one.
My function was to attend as a representative of NAA, conduct the auction, and talk with attendees about benefit auctions in general.
The one-day event begins with a brunch on Thursday. It’s the kickoff to the large tradeshow in the afternoon.
The headline entertainment was Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood from the TV show Whose Line Is It Anyway? During the lunch, all of the attendees and exhibitors (3000-4000 people) gathered in one of the halls of the Washington Convention Center to be welcomed, watch promotional videos, learn about ASAE initiatives, and be entertained.
The comedians did an excellent job of improv comedy with the crowd. Once their performance was complete, the crowd poured into the trade show.
When the trade show closed at 4:30 PM, guests could either leave or move into a cocktail reception. Those who stayed (maybe 500) went into a smaller room to socialize, drink, and eat. Sectioned off in a corner of that room on a small stage was the benefit auction.
Although the auction was well-received by the ~30 people who attended, the participation (and dollars raised) could have been far greater if we’d held the benefit auction during the lunch.
A benefit auction in front of 3000 people at lunch would earn much more than an auction in front of 30 at a reception.
Here’s the lesson for you –
If you are holding a benefit auction at a gala where you also have headline entertainment performing, you will better serve your fundraising mission if you schedule the auction immediately prior to the headline entertainment.
- The crowd won’t leave until the headliner performs.
- You’ll have the most people in the room.
- Your sound system is already set up to accommodate the performer and could easily accommodate the benefit auction.
- You can be tallying your auction results and preparing for check-out while guests listen to the headliner.
It’s oh-so-simple, and it will make such a difference in your benefit auction’s bottom line.
P.S. I had no idea how tall these guys were! They are well over 6′ each.