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►Multi-year Agreements?

November 7, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor

Yes, you should consider multi-year contracts

Recently I emailed an organization in Tampa with a really cool, unique event, asking if they had an auctioneer already for spring 2018.

Here’s the reply:

I have hired my auctioneer with a five- year,  first-right-of- refusal contract. Thank you for your interest. We can revisit you in 2020.

I was like, “Wow, 2020! Ok, then, they are taking this 5-year thing *seriously*. And then I thought, “Kudos to you, unknown auctioneer, who talked your client into this job security, rare in our line of work.”

But here’s the thing – I soon found out it wasn’t the auctioneer’s idea – it was the Event Chair’s!

Check this out:

“I have been doing events since 1986 and after my first year working with everyone I’ve nailed them into a five-year contract. It just helps so I do not have to re-create the wheel every year.”

How.Wise. Is. That? I mean, crazy smart, right?

Once you know you like an auctioneer’s style and you like working with them, or like a DJ, a caterer, a venue, an emcee, etc., doesn’t it make your life sooooo much easier to not recreate the wheel each year? Of course you can have a new theme, new decor, maybe different entertainment, but good auctioneers are hard to find, as are ideal venues, especially those with great food. Wouldn’t it make your life soooo much easier to agree to a longer-term partnership than 3 months, 6 months, or even a year?

I was pretty blown away by the crystal clear logic of this Event Chair with 30 years of experience.

I think it’s something we would all benefit from, so if you love your venue, emcee or auctioneer, next time give them first right of refusal beyond year 2, as a show of goodwill (and a commitment to your sanity!)

 

Categories: Auctioneers, Consulting, Event Logistics

Bachelor Auction How To

October 25, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor advises on bachelor auctions for charity

Considering a bachelor or bachelorette auction? Consider these factors first

So you’re thinking about a Bachelor/Bachelorette auction?

It’s been done for decades, and certainly can be a success with proper planning and promotion.

However, selling dates or gift packages (two different things – see the video) is a bit more complicated and potentially filled with problems than your typical auction outing.

Watch this quick series of videos to make sure that if you go this direction, you’ve thought of – and planned for – everything that could go wrong when you’re, in effect, objectifying people.

The 2-to-3 minute videos cover Appropriateness, Finding Bachelors and giving them tips and advice, Volunteers you’ll need, the type of Venue, how to get an Audience, how to Organize, Schedule and Budgeting, Decorating, finding the right Auctioneer, and setting up the actual Dates, if you go that route.

Check out individual brief video clips here:

Categories: Auctioneers, Better Buyers, Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Other Money Makers

Everything Silent Auction

October 11, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Auctioneer Jenelle Taylor on silent auctions

GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor has a series of short Youtube videos on silent auctions

Are you planning a silent auction? Is this your first one, or your 14th?

For a quick refresher on every way to streamline your process and earn the most money, make sure to check out this series of two-to-three minute videos on Youtube.

I’ve written 4 books on charity auction fundraising, and these are the fundamentals, the best practices you may have forgotten over the years, or perhaps never heard!

Update and upgrade your auction here:

Categories: Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions

►Got Scarves?

September 28, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of selling donated scarves at auction

DON’T leave things folded up!

So, scarves.

It’s not a frequent donation, but these were high-end, valued about $80 each, and we had 12 of them!

How to display, how to display, to get the most eyeballs and attract the most bids?

“Don’t worry,” I told my client last January, “I got this.”

And with our hotel contact, we tucked 2 narrow tables into an alcove and draped them in black to make them “disappear,” and then draped 3 easels in an expensive-looking cream stripe to better offset the various scarf patterns. Then we grabbed 2 bamboo poles the hotel had in storage, tied those to the easel rests, and draped each gorgeous scarf. A quick tie with cream ribbon kept each from sliding off the pole, while still allowing guests to touch the fabric and lift upward to see the design.

Sure, you COULD leave them folded in squares, flat and sad on the silent auction table…but that’s only if you didn’t have a Benefit Auctioneer Specialist to help you craft a better display, right? 🙂

Categories: Consulting, Event Logistics, GALA GAL Case Study, Silent auctions

►Venue Checklist – Download This

September 14, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
image of Venue Checklist

Download the FREE Checklist!

I try to do a Venue Visit with clients at least 2 months before the event, so I can help determine stage position, traffic flow, sound system and lighting needs, etc.

You can download and print (or view on your phone) this 70-item Venue Checklist to help you either A.) narrow down your venue options, or B.) catch potential problems with the venue you chose.

It covers

  • Destination Appeal
  • Parking / Valet
  • Raised Stage
  • Pre-dinner Space
  • Auction Promotion
  • Lighting

I often repeat the mottos “Make it easy for people to spend money” and “Ambiance is bad for auctions” (meaning low light is fine for dinner, but make sure the lights can be brighter for silent and live auctions and appeals).

As always, if you’ve got a question, just call my cell at 407-791-1360 in Tampa!

Categories: Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions

►Cruise Raffle

August 23, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
lapel pin of blinking ship

Selling chances to win for that cruise or yacht trip!

Ah, the Chance to Win, doesn’t most every event have one?

Of course, the very first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with your state’s (and sometimes city) raffle, gaming, gambling, drawing statutes.

Did you know that in Florida, you can’t require anyone to pay for a ticket?

Print out the Florida statute here.

Once you know the rules, this is a great option for the “blinky lights” pin to show who bought a chance to win (and, obviously, who hasn’t yet).

Do you know that Holland America has a reduced-price program that your nonprofit might qualify for? It’s a great program with a reasonable fixed cost, and never expires. Check it out here.

If you’re selling chances to win a cruise or a yacht excursion, instead of generic pins consider these cute things, found at FlashingBlinkyLights.com. It’s themed, flashy, and if you don’t want to pin into guests’ fancy clothes, then simply attach each to a lanyard or a wrist-tie ribbon like my client.

Here’s to selling those chances and raising big money!

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Other Money Makers, Raffles/Chance Drawings

►”Lucky Line” with Mobile Bidding

August 16, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of mobile bidding incentive caption

Using Mobile Bidding? Add an incentive to get guests to Bid More!

Do you use the “Lucky Line” for your traditional silent auction bids on paper?

It’s a way to encourage folks to be more generous, give a little more, just jump down a few bidding lines rather than the next bid available. I’ve got an explanation in a viewable Google doc here.

For years we (the benefit auctioneer community) have been trying to replicate this bidder incentive with handheld mobile/text bidding, but to date most mobile technology companies haven’t figured out a way to virtually highlight only bids past a certain point, and then segregate just those for a random winner.

And then my new client shared a semi-solution!

While the one “who makes the most bids” isn’t random and may not encourage as many people to try for the prize as the Lucky Line highlighting does, it certainly is trackable in mobile bidding reports, AND worth celebrating and rewarding! Using the technique above, the organization rewards participation, not dollars, which is an equalizer of sorts.

How have you figured out ways to incentivize more bidding using technology?

 

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Other Money Makers, Silent auctions, Technology

►3 Magic Words to Get Anything Donated

August 2, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Boost Your Benefit Auction book

Use discount code BOOST to save $5

A couple of years ago I asked many of my smart fundraising friends to contribute a top tip or piece of advice.

It turned out even better than I’d envisioned, as 50 auctioneers offered 42 different chapters to boost your benefit auction.

From Fund A Need to the Treasure Chest, ambiance to the alcohol curve, you can learn from professionals across the country, and everyone’s contact info is listed in case you have a question or just want to know more about their services.

My chapter is about the “Three Magic Words” that help you get just about anything donated. In fact, these words elevate your request from an all-too-common “ask” to an opportunity.

Ready? Here they are: feature, showcase and highlight. And the question? How would you like to be included? 

Instead of begging for a donation, explain that  – of all the possible businesses in town – for this event you’d like to “feature” ABC Business so you can “highlight” their great ____________ and “showcase” what they do to your prominent supporters and community members. “Our committee thinks more people should know about your terrific ____________, so we wanted to invite you to have one of the exclusive (another good word!) spots in our live (or silent) auction. How would you like to be involved?”

If they say “no,” thank them and say (to yourself), “Next.” They either see the opportunity or they don’t, and someone always will when you share how wonderful your cause is and how much you want to include them in your biggest 1 night, once-a-year event.

So just ask! And remember: feature, showcase and highlight.

P.S. You can order a BOOST book here for less than $30 shipped – use the code BOOST to save $5.

Categories: About GALA GAL, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Other Money Makers, Silent auctions

►Mobile Bidding Considerations

July 7, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of auction display

Auction Bidding is Enhanced by Displays

Today a client asked me

“Quick question – mobile bidding. Does it enhance an auction? Have you seen increased participation (read larger bids) utilizing mobile bidding?”

and I replied:

 Good question!

Typically mobile only makes sense when there are a lot of attendees, a lot of auction items (100+) and the silent auction revenue is $30,000+.

Pros:

IF people use it, they can set max bids and not have to either log back in or walk to a table – most mobile bidding systems can just continue to bid for them up to a set maximum.

Auction displays can take less space

Everyone can see all the auction items if they wish (on a device) without walking around

You can close the bidding later

Cons:

Typically costs $3000-$5000+

Either you have to pay for one of the mobile company’s staff to be on site (could add $1000), or you’re 100% responsible for any kinks or problems. Unless you have a savvy tech person, this could add significant stress.

It can be hard to get people to engage in mobile bidding for several reasons:

 ~Some require downloading an app, though some just have a web address people key in

~Some say mobile is less social, since people move around less and must spend time staring at their phones

~Requires either than people use their cell phone data plans (and battery life) or the club has a reliable wi-fi connection that’s open to everyone; some mobile systems rely on wi-fi and can get bogged down or crash

Results:

Whether or not mobile adds revenue above and beyond the cost of using the technology is a source of heated debate! Just a few weeks ago auctioneers from around the country shared mixed reviews in an online forum. When the technology works as promised,  is adopted by the attendees and gets used, certainly there are benefits to being able to shop from anywhere in the venue and not have to physically revisit a bid sheet.

On the other side, paper silent auctions have worked for decades by generating that person-to-person, last-minute competitive bidding atmosphere, especially when your professional auctioneer is making announcements and making the auction closings fun for everyone in the room.

What mobile definitely does is eliminate the need to clerk, record, tally or key in silent auction purchases once bidding closes, and for some groups, that fact alone makes the technology worth several thousand dollars, just to eliminate checkout!

 There are 10-12 major mobile bidding companies nationwide, all scrambling for footing and market share. All have demos you can do or samples you can view.

Industry software leader Greater Giving has great educational info with just about everything you need to know about mobile here.

Because of the many pros and cons (and how those affect your overall revenue/schedule/logistics), it’s something you should ask your professional auctioneer about as early as possible.

Like this great client of mine did! Thanks for the question, Sara 🙂

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions, Technology

►Raffle pricing

May 1, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
poster showing raffle ticket pricing

Fingertips for $40

Recently a client asked me about raffle (Chance to Win drawings) pricing.

“I found this on-line as a guideline to selling tickets. Does this make sense?

Raffle ticket sales:  3 tickets for $5, 6 tickets for $10 and finger tip- to-finger tip $20″

Here’s my take:

1. Raffle chance pricing depends on the value of the prizes to be won.

2. Calculate the math equation: How much do you want the raffle to raise (have a goal),  who will be asked to buy tickets and what pricing feels exciting to them, and how many tickets (at what level) can you expect to sell? PRICE x QUANTITY = MONEY RAISED

3. In the example you found, “3-$5 and 6-$10” are the same odds, so there’s no incentive to spend $10 rather than $5.

4. The PURPOSE of unequal odds (increased chances for paying more) is to wildly slant the odds in favor of those more generous. We want to encourage folks to donate more. In Florida (and other states-check your state gaming statutes*) all chances to win do not have to be equal.

5. So, I like

3 – $10, 8 for $20, or fingertip-to-fingertip for $40.

That way the focus is just on selling $40 worth, and if someone is considering $20, have them grab a friend and get tons more chances by splitting the fingertip-to-fingertip (which might be 40-ish tickets)

If the prize(s) are smaller, you could go with 2-$5, 7-$10, fingertips for $20

*A reminder to always know and follow your state regulations on raffles, which often fall under gambling policies. In some states, nonprofits are limited to one per year or need a special license. In Florida (and other states) drawings are required to have a “no purpose necessary to be entered” option, which is why setting any pricing for a chance drawing must be disclosed as a “suggested donation” See the Florida statute here, and happy fundraising!

Categories: Better Buyers, Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, Other Money Makers, Raffles/Chance Drawings, Templates

►About that Safari Trip…

April 15, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Photo of GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor

Try to avoid this at your non-profit, says GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor

A client called today for advice. They’ve planned to feature a safari trip as one of the live auction items for their event in a few weeks. When I read the description a few days ago, I realized with some surprise that this was not a typical sightseeing safari trip – this was a hunting safari!

I’ve seen and sold a number of safari trips, but they’ve always been photo safaris, or – said another way – photo shoots, not actual shoots.

My dad was a hunter, though I am not. Even though I would greatly prefer to only shoot things with a camera, I understand that a portion of the population worldwide shoots for sport and challenge. I’m comfortable promoting this item during the live auction alongside the other trips and experiences.

However, some of this organization’s supporters called to complain today, with the expectation that the trip will be pulled from the auction.

What should you do if some people feel an auction item is controversial?

Whether it’s selling a puppy, dinner with the embattled mayor, a hunting safari or countless other potential hot buttons, how should your committee proceed?

  1. Pull the item from the auction? After how many complaints, 1? 5? 25?
  2. Only pull the controversial item if the complaint comes from a major donor?
  3. What about moving the item from the more visible live auction into the silent auction?
  4. Should you try the “Sealed Bid” method for this auction item, so that if no one bids, no one knows, but if folks do bid, their names and amounts are known only to the committee?
  5. Or how about sending an e-mail blast or newsletter notification for interested parties to place bids via fax or email or text prior to the event?
  6. Keep the item in the live auction, but work hard to identify someone on the staff or committee or patrons interested in the item and willing to quickly raise a bid card, ensuring that it sells easily if other bidders don’t materialize?

There’s no one right answer, of course. While you may not want to bend to a few disgruntled voices, you also don’t want those voices to complain even more loudly on Facebook or the nightly news if they feel dismissed.

Ask yourself, what could possibly go wrong if we auction this item?

As your committee tries to “think outside the box” for atypical auction items, if you don’t have these conversations early on, you may find yourself – like my client – scrambling to find a solution 1 day before the catalog goes to print.

Categories: Consulting, Event Logistics, GALA GAL Case Study, Live Auctions

►Silent Auction – Bidder Blockers and Sheet Stealers

March 19, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of Gala Gal

Don’t let those “bid blockers” and “sheet stealers” ruin your auction!

If you’ve never seen one at your event, you’re lucky! While it’s great to have fast and furious bidding on your silent auction items, and it’s fun to watch that competition, too many times I’ve heard (or seen) heated bidders try to bend or break the rules of fair play.

I’ve seen Bid Blockers who square their shoulders and won’t let anyone else get to the bid sheet to bid against them, or Sheet Stealers who actually pick up or hide the bid sheet and try to sneak it back on the table right before closing time! I’ve actually seen someone rip up a bid sheet…twice! The same guy!

Anyway, if every year a few of your classroom projects or priceless opportunities create more bad blood than goodwill among your bidders, you’ve got a few options: either move those items to the main Live Auction, where peer pressure and encouragement will spur on the bidding, or post signs and make announcements reminding people that if your auctioneer sees a bidding war heat up, she plans to step over there and see who really wants it the most with an on-the-spot, mini live auction. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s fair.

But make sure to warn people first. And, of course, if you use mobile bidding for your silent auction, you’ll never have this issue again 🙂

What are your auctions most highly contested items year after year? How have you solved it?

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions

►Silent Auction, or Mini On-the-Spot Live Auction?

March 10, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of easels with poster-sized bid sheets

Draw attention to a row of Can’t Miss items

What to do when you have so many great auction items that you can’t even fit them all in to the time slotted for the Live Auction?

Most live auctions at charity events are 30-45 minutes, and with an industry average of 3-4 minutes per live auction sale, that means only 10-15 items make the Live Auction cut for many events.

What if you have 20 awesome items that you need to get in front of bidders? I suggest blowing up the bid sheets to 20″ x 30″ mounted on foam board, place them on easels in a very high traffic area, add signage, place 1-2 full-time volunteers who never leave and can answer all questions about the items, and then get into the mindset of a county fair carnival barker, “Ladies and Gentlemen, don’t miss this awesome opportunity right here. Step right up to bid on ….” You get the idea.

Sometimes, I place these easel items in a semi-circle directly in front of the ballroom doors, and I let the crowd know that these items -while available for normal bidding during the silent auction – will be closed by on-the-spot, mini live auction between 7:40-7:45, immediately before the doors open for dinner. All interested in bidding need to gather here at 7:40 to get a last chance to be the winning bidder.

By doing this, we get as close as we can to the energy, excitement and ego of a live auction even though there wasn’t time in the program. As guests gather, I gets everyone’s attention in the vicinity and say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re now going to close these 5 SUPER silent auction items by mini live auction. They are such great items that we didn’t want anyone to miss the opportunity, so whether you’ve already bid or not, everyone is welcome to bid right now as we close these awesome items. First up, you’ve been bidding on Item 901, 1 week RCI Timeshare anywhere in the world, valued up to $1800. The current bid is $1200, but who’ll go $1300, do I hear $1300, yes and now $1400…” Each item will take just seconds to close, and inevitably we’ll raise several hundred more dollars, remind folks that a professional auctioneer will entertain them later, and generate auction closing excitement right before releasing the guests to dinner.
Win. Win. Win!

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Silent auctions

►SUPER Silent Auction items

February 23, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of bid sheet blown up to poster size

Great way to make sure everyone sees your best silent auction items!

How do you make sure that the more significant, valuable or noteworthy items in your silent auction don’t get lost among the smaller items and packages?

Sure, you can make a small section of silent auction with somewhat larger displays, or target spot lighting (or both). For just a few dollars, you can really make a statement and get bidders’ attention.

Sometimes I call these “Almost Live” items, meaning that they were good enough for the live auction, but either we already had the live auction spots all filled, or this event doesn’t have a live auction.

Simply save the ready-to-print bid sheet as a PDF and have FedEx/Kinko’s blow it up to 20″ x 30″ for $4 (black and white). Whether it’s one item or 10, having a super-sized bid sheet will help ensure you get the eyeballs (and bids) you want.

Since color displays of this size would be crazy expensive (like $20-40 each), we just printed the color photos, slid into clear slip sleeves from Office Depot, and attached via O-ring and ribbon. Guests still bid just like a normal bid sheet, though we did have Sharpies on hand to make bids easier to see.

Which items will be SUPER at your next auction?

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions

►Auction Jewelry Displays

February 13, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of a jewelry donation

Think ahead to plan how you will display jewelry donations

Isn’t it a tiny bit sad when you see jewelry at auctions just lying flat on the table? Surely that isn’t the best way to showcase that donor’s contribution, or encourage the most bids?

Some options, from easiest to most elaborate:

1. Drape necklace over a corner of the plexi sign holder or description frame
2. Cut a length of pretty ribbon and attach earrings or bracelets to the ribbon
3. Gift-wrap (in a solid or metallic paper) a small flat box (perhaps 6″ x 8″ x 1″ high) to place the jewelry on
4. Buy stand up jewelry displays from Michael’s or from a Dollar Store
5. Arrange to borrow jewelry displays from the donor (but make sure to label so your donor gets them back)
6. Use lighted clear plexi boxes for luxury jewelry items to mimic the actual jewelry retailer effect.

By the way, an easy way to remember that you’ll need specialty display items before you get to the venue to set up is to add a column or field in your auction item database called “Needed for Display.” Here you can make months weeks or months in advance about how many easels, jewelry displays, gift-wrapped boxes, clip-on lighting, props or other display enhancements you’ll need to bring.

Here’s to better auction displays. Cheers!

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions

►Silent Auction – This Section Closes

January 22, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo "This Silent Auction Sections Closes at 6:50"

Post Silent Auction closing times for each section

Don’t you get this question ALL the time?

“What time does the silent auction close?”

Or worse yet, you have patrons complaining after a section has already closed that they didn’t know.

You can put auction closing times in the program, but we all know hardly anyone reads the program, and especially not while they are shopping, holding a cocktail and an appetizer plate.

So put signs on each table or row, at least 2 per section. If you use 4″ x 6″ signage, put 6 or more on each row of tables. What’s the harm?

If there’s a chance (due to traffic, slow registration, or a quirky chairperson) that your silent auction closing times might change, here’s a secret: print several options for each section and just hide them behind the front one. For instance, you can have signage display “This section closes at 7:30” but also have a 7:40 and a 7:45 printed out and hidden behind, so if you have to change the rules on the fly, you can. Keep in mind, though, you need to do this in conjunction with big, bold, loud announcements to keep the crowd up to date. You don’t want to upset any bidders, so you can say over the microphone, “Folks, due to some heavy traffic we have guests just now arriving, so you’ll notice that this section will NOW close at 7:45. Please see the signs on each table.”

Make it easy for people to spend money – by being clear about the closing times!

(Note that with handheld (text) bidding, you won’t have this issue. Alerts about closing are sent to bidders’ devices, assuming they still have battery life!)

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions

►Silent Auction – Item Numbering

January 8, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of silent auction display

Make it clear which Bid Sheet matches which plexiglass or framed display

Let’s face it: at most silent auctions, there are a lot of items and bid sheets on the table. When you’re on the auction committee, it’s easy for you to know at a glance that the basket on the left with the blue ribbon is the “Family Fun Night” basket and the one on the right with the red ribbon is the “Italian Fest” basket (duh!). But to your guests, it’s all just a mash up of colors, fluff, and paperwork.

Make it easier for people to spend money by clearly labeling and numbering each package up for bid. I like to place each bid sheet directly in front of its plexi display, and I make sure the auction section and number on each are clearly visible.

Or you can invest in mobile (text) bidding and folks will see the image you’ve uploaded with each auction item 🙂

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions

►Silent Auction – Displays for Baskets

December 18, 2014 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo for a coffee basket

Don’t want to take a photo of each basket? Find a funny image

When I attend other auctions, I often see groups that don’t make a stand-up display for baskets or physical items, thinking that the item “sells itself.” I don’t agree.

I like the continuity that every auction lot, whether physical item or certificate-not-on-display, gets a standardized written description, displayed either in a frame, an acrylic slanted sign holder, or a foamboard with attached easel back. This makes the tables organized, balanced, consistent, and polished.

So, what do you put as a visual for a basket that’s right next to it on display? Sure, you could take a picture of the basket, but to me that doesn’t add anything, so I try to find an image (Google Images) that’s cute, funny, or will make the viewer chuckle with recognition. That wine basket gets the “I love wine” graphic, and the coffee basket gets the cutesy, “Life is short. Enjoy your coffee.”

OH, and make sure that a list of what’s in the basket is either in the typed description or attached by a nicely typed card attached to the actual basket.

Will your next auction have better basket descriptions?

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions

►Silent Auctions – Levels

December 9, 2014 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of silent auction display

Make visually interesting silent auction displays with boxes and levels

I’ve talked before about changing the levels on your auction displays. Having a variety of levels above the table’s surface makes a huge difference in visual appeal.

I think the easiest way to add levels to a silent auction is by gift-wrapping empty cardboard boxes. Gather 1 box for every 4-6 silent auction items, anywhere from an 8″ high to 24″ high, and wrap them in whatever colors or prints match your theme. I get inexpensive paper from Dollar Tree or Michael’s. These boxes can be wrapped weeks in advance and transported to the venue easily in garbage bags. Or if you have a ton of volunteers for day-of auction set up, boxes can be wrapped on site. Sometimes volunteers are standing around looking for a job to do.

In the photo, you’ll see a different, more subtle way to create levels. It takes a bit longer to slide a box under the tablecloth and then adjust, adjust, adjust to get it right, but it’s another way to create levels while keeping the tables looking less cluttered.

No matter which way you do it, you MUST add levels to your next auction display!

Categories: Better Buyers, Event Logistics, Silent auctions

►Silent Auction Displays, sample

November 18, 2014 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

photo of silent auction display

If you’ve got a trip, help people spend money with photos of the resort(s)


No matter how good your descriptions, it’s the visuals that sell a trip.
For every hotel, weekend getaway, B & B, home stay, condo, time share, yacht, resort or castle, include as many visuals as possible. If it’s a high-end package, especially in the live auction, it’s a great idea to use technology to really showcase the destination. Have gorgeous photos visible in a looping digital photo frame (you know you’ve got one lying unused around your house!), or a laptop or an iPad. Assign a volunteer if you’re worried about someone walking off with your display.
For all the other stays in your silent auction, just get the visuals on display, preferably on a brochure or promotional sheet with the donor’s logo for added validity and trustworthiness.
For your attendees to want to bid on a vacation, they have to really *see* themselves there!

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions