One of my Florida clients once wrote: “Everyone keeps saying how it wasn’t just an auction … it was a great party.”
You know a key element to having a great party?
A great theme!
Sure, you need people to attend. That’s a given.
But coalescing those guests around a theme they enjoy brings out the kid inside the adult. When your guests are feel light-hearted and have fun, they spend more money.
(Themes are used by schools AND non-profits, but more schools tend to use them.)
Your theme is about playfulness … imagination … creativity.
An appropriate, well-executed auction theme creates anticipation for your event.
Don’t believe me? Think about these experiences:
- How do you feel when your beach vacation is one week away?
- How did you feel when your wedding was one month out?
- How does your 5-year-old talk about his upcoming birthday party?
In these examples you feel or watch the anticipation build, don’t you? That’s what an auction theme does. It builds anticipation.
But pay attention, because here’s the STICKY PART when it comes to auctions:
You can spend a lot of money on an auction theme — great centerpieces, decor and the like — and have it SUCK UP all the money you intended to give to your charity.
In other words, a poorly implemented theme can be a waste of time and money. It might have been “cool” or “fun,” but it didn’t GET you anything.
And in the benefit auction world, not “getting anything” out of your investment means you can’t help your nonprofit. Kids won’t get financial aid … at-risk youth won’t go on career field trips … fewer battered women will get help at the shelter … you get the idea.
Whether you’ve acknowledged it or not, your benefit auction is a business. In the business world, business women like to make savvy decisions to build our bottom-line.
- We absolutely, positively want guests to have fun.
- We absolutely, positively want volunteers excited to help.
- We absolutely, positively don’t want to waste our beloved charity’s money on anything that doesn’t yield us a positive outcome.
WE WANT TO SPEND SMART.
After all, this isn’t YOUR money you’re spending. It’s the NONPROFIT’S money.
Let’s learn how this comes together so we don’t frivolously spend.
In this webinar, you’ll get smart about auction themes and its 2 accoutrements: Centerpieces and Decor.
- A small Florida nonprofit has figured out how to creatively theme and brand its event (winning an award in the process!) with NO ADDITIONAL EXPENSES. This is true, despite annually changing its theme. (This is a great concept smaller nonprofits would do well to mimic.)
- A private school in Pennsylvania revamped it’s “tired” auction to adopt a new name that not only beautifully articulates the gala’s mission to parents, but it saves the event planner time as she doesn’t have to re-theme the gala each year. Her concept will last ages.
- A small Virginia community foundation staged its most profitable auction ever by using a rarely-used theme that brought two polarized camps together. The adversaries worked together to raise the MOST MONEY TO DATE. (Yes, the THEME did that! Exciting stuff.)
I’ll share photos from these events, but you’ll also learn a lot more.
What you’ll learn:
- The 8 CATEGORIES of THEMES. If you’re stumped or debating on a theme, this will make it easy for you to decide. (Thus far, I’ve pulled photos from 16 themes and it’s growing fast….)
- The TYPES of AUCTION CENTERPIECES and corresponding IDEAS. Some ideas will be simply unbelievable. Others unbelievably simple. Rest assured, I’ll share a lot of themes and concepts. More than one will match your vision.
- The BEST centerpieces THAT MAKE MONEY. If you’d really like to turn your centerpiece cost center into a profit center, pay attention. I’ve tracked the results and seen all types of concepts. You’ll learn the hands-down BEST way to raise money, and what to AVOID.
- METHODS OF SELLING CENTERPIECES that raise more money than you ever dreamed possible. I’ve had a couple of clients sell a centerpiece for over $1000. There’s an oh-so-simple secret to this that 90% of nonprofits get wrong.
- Ideas for FREE centerpieces that you can SELL. (One school made $1000+ from this.)
- Photos and more photos. I teach by photos anyway, but you’ll see more photos is this webinar than what I could ever post on my blog or Pinterest. I’ve found that great photos with a little tip or two about each is what helps my Auction Chairs to be off and running.
- The TOP TREND when it comes to NAMING your gala.
- COST-SAVING THEMES. Transforming a ballroom from Africa one year to Miami the next might sound exciting, but it’s pricey. Learn how one group has cleverly branded its theme, changes the “feel” of it every year, and still incurs ZERO ADDITIONAL COSTS.
- If your gala is the “new kid on the block,” branding is key. Learn how to BRAND THE BASH.
- DECOR ideas! I tend to teach by photos anyway, but you’ll see loads more photos is this particular webinar than I’d ever post in my blog (or on Pinterest, for that matter). I’ve found that sometimes all you need are some great photos to be off and running.
- Short on decor budget? Learn the #1 place to spend your decor budget for the biggest impact. (And see loads of photos.)
What you’ll receive in the mail:
- A DVD of the recorded live webinar (100 minutes).
- A Companion Guide (114 pages). It includes a paper copy of the slide deck and a transcript of the presentation.
- Because the content so heavily relies on photographs (the slide deck was 310+ slides), the photos in the Companion Guide were printed 4-slides-per-page in order to make the Guide economically viable to print. You’ll get the best visual quality by watching the DVD.
Here is a “sneak peek” of the webinar:
To be clear, even though in the clip I say, “It will take 4 weeks to get the product,” that’s because I had to produce the webinar into a DVD. If you’re ordering the webinar now, it will be shipped promptly from Indiana. Most people get it within a few days.
Who should take this course?
This webinar is for you if you’re involved in running a school auction or charity gala that traditionally uses themes. A theme isn’t required to make your auction great. But a theme does make your event more memorable, and that has its own benefits.
What you might not know about your presenter:
In her “former life,” benefit auctioneer Sherry Truhlar was a professional event planner with General Electric. Her CMP designation from the Convention Industry Council was earned after spending 1000s of hours planning and overseeing corporate events — and they all had a theme.
True story: At a retail trade show in NYC’s Javits Center, GE’s tiny but well-themed 10′ x 10′ booth caught the eye of the marketing VP from the behemoth booth occupied by Discover Card. “Can you give me the name of the marketing firm you hired to do your booth?” the VP asked the sales reps manning the GE table. “She’s it,” the sales reps said, pointing to Sherry.
Nowadays, Sherry consults with dozens of clients each year whereby she teaches tips and tricks to improve revenues … but doesn’t even work at the event. As an expert in benefit auctions (and not just a bid-calling auctioneer), she offers special insight into the mechanics of what makes elements of an auction gala successful.