At some point a guest at your gala will try to pull a fast one on you or me.
I like to believe that the guest is being honest. After all, this is a fundraising auction; most people are filled with good will.
But sometimes, stuff happens.
- Maybe they really didn‘t bid. They were just waving their bid paddle to get the attention of a friend across the room.
- Maybe they really did want to donate in the paddle raiser, but a column blocked them from view.
- Maybe they really did think that airfare, a tour guide, food, and beverages were included with that travel package, and they overlooked the description in the program, the display, and the slideshow. <ahem>
But sometimes YOU know it’s B.S., I know it’s B.S., and THEY know it’s B.S.
Alcohol might have gotten the better of them. Or they were trying to be a big shot (see “Player” in my last post) in the live auction and got in over their head.
Here are some examples of when an auction guest might be trying to pull a fast one on you or me, and some possible responses.
This interaction typically happens during the entertainment / band / social time, later in the evening.
The guest: “You know, the auctioneer didn’t see me. I raised my hand to donate during the paddle raise.”
Auction Chair: “Oh no! What amount were you giving?”
The guest: “I was going to give $250”
Auction Chair: “I’ll run your donation now, and include you in the newsletter. I want you recognized for your contribution.”
Result: If they don’t move forward right then to donate, there’s a good chance you won’t get the donation.
This interaction happens in the live auction, either as I’m selling the item or a few items after I’ve sold it.
In my last post I talked about live auction bidder archetypes. It’s not often, but every other year or so, I’ll have a donor who tried to be an Opportunist and comes in too late.
The guest: “The auctioneer didn’t see my bid. I was bidding on X!”
What I say: “Sooo sorry, but I’d already said ‘sold.’ Now that I know you want to support, I’ll keep my eye on you. We don’t want that to happen again.”
And I do keep an eye on them.
Sometimes I’ll look directly at them as I sell other items, saying, “You know, this is a nice item and it’s in your budget.”
The guest isn’t prone to try bidding at the last minute again, and I can often get the donation in another way.
This interaction typically happens at checkout.
The guest: “Wait a second, I thought that XYZ and ABC was included in this package?”
You, with furrowed brow and pursed lips: “Hm. Well let’s double-check on that. Maybe we owe you some things.”
<Slowly walk the guest back to the display, chatting them up as you go. Carefully study the description. Pause.>
You (speaking slowly): “Hmm. I doesn’t say it includes XYZ or ABC.”
<Do not say anything. Wait for buyer to respond.>
I saw an Auction Chair do the exact bit above to perfection. She was all cookies and cream with the donor, knowing full well that what the guest thought he read didn’t exist.
But she still took the time to walk him to the display and assumed a “maybe we’re wrong” attitude until they viewed details together.
What about you?
Have you had any times when a guest tries to pull a fast one on you, and you just know they aren’t being on the level with you?
What did you do?