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►First-time Event Done Right, 12 Do’s

May 22, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

You may have heard that I got invited to Paradise Island, The Bahamas (made famous by the Atlantis mega-resort) to do an auction last month.

The Purple Paws Live Auction was a first-time event, and yet it was a smashing success, exceeding all expectations and likely to double in revenue generated next year.

Here are 12 of the many things the BAARK! all-volunteer team did so right:

  1. Awesome Chairperson.  Passionate about the cause, well connected, and tenacious.
  2. Get businesses to underwrite major costs and write sponsor checks. 
  3. Get help from an auction consultant on item descriptions, displays, order of sale, the evening’s timing, volunteer roles, etc. Sarah used the AUCTION! book I sent her, and we talked extensively in e-mails and phone conferences.
  4.  Venue with appeal.  Use committee and sponsor connections to get the place folks have heard about but never had the chance to see.
  5. Sold-out event. Start with a small venue so you can sell out, and use Facebook and social media to really push ticket sales. If you don’t have a mailing list or Facebook Fan Page with hundreds of folks yet, build THAT first. 
  6. Auction items matched to your guests. Nothing random. Each item specifically sought after because of its broad appeal to the attendees. Plan before you ask.
  7. 100% donations. For a first-time event especially, there’s no point in paying for auction items, as that takes your hard-won donor dollars and gives them away.
  8. Prepared Buyers! “Bodies aren’t bidders” we say. Sarah and I made sure that the guests were fully aware of the Live Auction Opportunities and How to Bid, using prior e-blasts, displays, handouts, Power Point, and microphone announcements. 
  9. Zippy Schedule. Keep your guests entertained and attentive, with food, games, Live Auction and Fund-a-Need donations all flowing nicely from one to the next.
  10. Mission Message. The 3-minute video they created was perfect before the Fund-a-Need, showing clearly the huge impact of more dollars and donations.
  11. Event Support. Well trained staff and volunteers add so much to a great guest experience. We all met in person prior to the event to answer questions and build a confident team.
  12. A Gala auctioneer. Truly, a fundraising event NEEDS to be equal parts entertainer, ambassador, and marketer. Not only was the audience laughing and smiling the whole time, but they were reminded to give generously to the cause, and 72% of the Live Auction items sold for more than they were worth.
Your Mission.
Accomplished.
I look forward to the chance to do it again. Maybe with you 🙂 Just shoot me a note.

Categories: Auctioneers, Better Buyers, Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, GALA GAL Case Study, Live Auctions, Sponsors - Tag: , , , , , ,

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