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 meansSeeking dedicated employee  =  expect to stay many late nightsCreative work environment  =  priorities change on a daily basisSalaried  = 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 »

Better Benefit Auction Ideas hit Chicago & Cincinnati next week!

Today’s question is:  What do you do that makes your auction different from every other benefit auction in your city? Is that chirping crickets I hear? If you're stumped by the question, I'm not surprised.  We planners get into ruts, doing the same thing all the time.  Unless you’re traveling the world attending auction galas, it’s almost impossible to get exposed to fresh concepts.  (Let alone the time it takes to learn about properly implementing something, once seen.) This leads me to why I’ve launched the Great American Benefit Auction Roadshow.  Over the next few months, I'm traveling to some of our top world cities « Continue Reading »

The OTHER thing to never say on stage at a benefit auction

Back in 2009, I penned an article that got quite a bit of traction on both my blog and social media outlets.  It was called, “The one thing to never say on stage at a benefit auction.”  (You might want to read that, if you haven't.) It’s time to revise.  I now have TWO things you should never say on stage. When I wrote that article, I was referring to the recession.  Some of my clients were hell-bent on reminding their auction guests that the USA was experiencing an economic downturn.  They felt obligated to remind everyone of precarious times.  In some twisted way, they thought that reminding guests of life's instability « Continue Reading »