Last night I worked a charity auction for a smaller school in Maryland.
While walking the silent auction area with the Chair, she pointed out an item I hadn’t seen sold in prior auctions. It was a metal printer’s plate from The Wall Street Journal. The plate showed the image from the newspaper’s front page.
(I wanted to include a picture of it here for you, but I got distracted and forgot to take a photo. Sorry.)
The Auction Chair had contacted a friend of hers who worked at the newspaper. She asked for the front page printer’s plate from November 5, 2008 — the day the world learned that the United States had elected its first African-American president. For Obama fans, history buffs, or news junkies, I thought this was a neat piece of history.
She told me she’d found these plates relatively easy to obtain, even when she’d not had a contact at the newspaper. Apparently multiple plates are often made of each front page.
The school’s crowd was fairly conservative so the Obama plate didn’t excite those guests, but this is still a great concept for any group looking for unique charity auction item ideas, especially as a silent auction item.
If you know of someone who works at your local newspaper (The New York Times, The Miami Herald, The Washington Post, etc.) start with your contact first. But if you’re truly “cold calling” the paper and don’t have a lead, ask for the Community Relations or Marketing Department.
If you want to make the item more personal, have some dates in mind to request. For instance, if you’re celebrating a five year anniversary of your non-profit, see if they’ve got the anniversary date available. Or if you’ve got a sports-loving crowd, the day the local team was on the cover might be a big hit with your guests.