25+ non-traditional venues for smaller auctions in the DMV

Got a smaller benefit auction in the Washington, D.C. metro area?I've got a number of clients who have 150 - 300 guests.  They are often seeking out interesting, non-traditional venues for smaller auctions here in the DMV. Below is a list of some spots I've seen work or have known my clients to be reviewing.  Each will present unique challenges and benefits.=====================Washington, D.C. venuesWashington Nationals Stadium (Two venues: Diamond Club or Presidents Club)National Press ClubColumbus Club located inside Union StationThe Carnegie Institution for Science (between Dupont Circle and Logan Circle)Carnegie Library at « Continue Reading »

In 2 weeks! FREE training: How to ask for auction donations, money, and more

I've got a complementary training coming up that EVERYONE involved in your auction should attend.  It's about learning how to ask. Imagine being so confident with the idea of asking for donations that your team was EAGER to pick up the phone, pound the pavement, or chat up strangers at a dinner party. Can you envision how would your auction change?  You'd get a lot more quality donations, bigger cash gifts, and nicer sponsorships.  That's exciting! Auctions begin with a confident ask. Given that so much is riding on your "asking prowess," I'm interviewing a guru on the subject, Marc Pitman. He's written several « Continue Reading »

Ban catchy titles in your silent auction displays

Years ago, when I was new to D.C. and searching for a job, my friend (a human resources professional) and I hysterically laughed as we took turns verbally reading job descriptions in The Washington Post.   We'd substitute the language of the job posting with what we believed was the true intention of the post.  In other words, we did this: Job description language   What that really means Seeking dedicated employee  =  expect to stay many late nights Creative work environment  =  priorities change on a daily basis Salaried  = you won't be paid for overtime   Sometimes I think about « Continue Reading »

Auction Signage Part 2: Flexible directional auction signage for your gala

Most benefit auction galas take place across several rooms.  Registration and checkout might be in one area, the silent auction elsewhere and the ballroom in a third space.  Some groups have a VIP reception elsewhere.  A benefit auction last fall had guests enter a rejuvenated dairy barn. The space was beautiful, but there were no restrooms inside.  Guests were directed to portable toilets outside. To help your attendees move through your space, you'll be relying on directional signage.  Directional signage can be expensive ... or not. When I worked at GE, I recall planning a conference in a large resort with many « Continue Reading »

How to organize a charity auction: Part 2 (Auction Chair tools)

[This is the second part of a two-part blog.  Read "How to organize a charity auction, part 1" here.] As mentioned in Part 1, I thought about writing on this topic a few months ago and decided, "Nope.  I need to save this topic until January." The reason being is that January is the month that many stores -- Home Depot, Walmart, Kmart, Target, Staples, The Container Store (the annual Elfa® sale) -- advertise one particular theme. Getting organized!  This is THE month that many stores promote organization. Volunteer Auction Chairs need to be organized.  They are often working with many volunteers to plan the fundraising « Continue Reading »

How to organize a charity auction: Part 1 (the supplies)

[This is the first part of a two-part blog.  Read "How to organize a charity auction, part 2" here.] I thought about writing on this topic a few months ago and decided, "Nope. I need to save this topic until January." Want to know why? Because January is the month that many stores -- Home Depot, Walmart, Kmart, Target, Staples, The Container Store (the annual Elfa® sale) -- advertise one particular theme. Getting organized! This is THE month that stores promote organization. I suppose a common New Year's resolution is to "get organized" in the fresh year. It might have to do with the fact that many people are taking down « Continue Reading »

Whiners on your benefit auction committee?

This past Saturday night while I was working with the very lovely guests supporting the New Hampshire SPCA, a hacker broke into my website.  Some of you alerted me via email and Facebook.  I never saw the posts because I was working.  Until one of my team members called me on Sunday morning, I was blissfully unaware.   When I went to the site, I certainly wasn’t happy.  But I also didn’t melt into a pile of tears. I recalled a story about a magician who was headed to Las Vegas for a national convention.  He was scheduled to perform several tricks.  When his luggage was lost by the airline, he stayed up all night in his hotel « Continue Reading »