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►Your Auction is like this Carousel

July 14, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of Albany Oregon carousel horse

Heartwarming story of calling in favors and working together creating a memorable, signature brand.

I had to smile at this lovely one-page story in today’s Parade newspaper insert, “Riding High: A Struggling Town Creates a Little Magic.”

I saw so many parallels to charities I work for:

  • affected by the economy
  • needing to reinvent itself
  • it began with one person’s idea
  • folks were skeptical at the start
  • started with only $150!

And I see several inspiring lessons in this uplifting tale:

  • get small parts of your big picture dream sponsored by supporters
  • use every person’s connections to call in favors and ask for whatever you need to be given (‘somebody’s aunt knows somebody’s uncle who comes down to lend a hand.’)
  • as parts of your larger project are completed, promote them around town for visibility
  • encourage lots of people in the community to get involved

If you think of your silent and live auction acquisition plan like this amazing carousel project, you can create an auction event for your guests that is unique to your organization and serves to raise your visibility in the community.

Think about what amazing auction package(s) you can design by calling in favors from your supporters. Your idea might be a behind-the-scenes experience at a sporting event or concert, an amazing private dining event with music, luxury transportation, and fine wines, or a “spa day for six” package. Brainstorm every aspect of the experience you’ll need donated, and then ask everyone to call in favors from folks they already know (no cold-calling required!). As you get great auction items confirmed, promote them on your website, on Twitter updates, and on your Facebook page.

You’ll gradually build support for unusual, creative auction offerings which raise your profile in the community and involve many supporters in your future success.

Categories: Better Buyers, Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Sponsors

►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

►Congrats to the Red Wagon Gala Committee

April 22, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Red Wagon Gala Christ Child Society Naples

GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor conducts the 2013 Red Wagon Gala for Christ Child Society Naples

Here’s a quick example of great post-event press coverage, Red Wagon Gala in the Naples Daily News.

This nice summary and accompanying photos ran just days after the event, and serves multiple purposes:

  • appreciating those who just attended
  • publicly thanking major sponsors
  • recognizing the hard work of the committee and volunteers
  •  and raising visibility for the organization.

This kind of coverage has to be arranged in advance, so that a reporter and photographer are in attendance.

For your next event, take the time, no – make the time –  to reach out to local papers, TV stations, society magazines, or even area event website managers to get a commitment for coverage for this 1 Night, Once a Year event you’re pulling off!

After all, we all know that once it begins your event whirls by so fast that you’ll probably need  to read about how it all went too 🙂

Categories: Charity, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Sponsors

►Sponsor Recognition

March 19, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

What else can you do to thank your event sponsors and cost underwriters besides just listing them in the program?

It’s good to do more, since your guests may never open those programs you spent so many hours (and dollars) on. Since you want your sponsors to feel honored and appreciated, consider adding as many of these other recognition tactics as you can:

  • Offer a Patron Party with auction preview and menu tasting one month prior
  • VIP reception an hour before general admission
  • VIP post-auction reception with gelato, decaf cappuccino and swag bags
  • Give sponsor tables Auction Bucks (incentive bidder credits) for their guests
  • Provide champagne, a dedicated server for the dining table, premier seating
  • Make sponsor thank you foam core boards and place on easels at the entrance
  • Project sponsor logos on the wall
  • Make a Power Point slide show which loops during dinner of sponsor logos
  • Have a parting gift with a sponsor thank you card attached, such as:

Sponsor Thank You card tied with ribbon to some kind of parting gift, like a mini bag of chocolates. This recognition piece might say…

“Please join us in thanking these sponsors for their generosity. When you support them, ______________ benefits!”

or

“Tonight’s festivities made possible by these fine sponsors. Please consider supporting them with your business!”

or

“Thank you for supporting ___________this evening. Please consider patronizing these sponsors who made tonight possible”

 

What other sponsor recognition ideas have you seen? Please share in the comments!

Categories: Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, Sponsors