Behind the Scenes of a Charity Auction – Installment 2

It has been a while since I updated readers about the charity auction that I am directly involved with.  As was a part of the first post, each year, I try to help out a local charity with their auction event.  This year, I am assisting Special Olympics with their Island Hop event.

Problem 1:  Too Many ‘suggesters’ not enough ‘do-ers’

How often has this happened on you auction committee.  Everybody is there with ideas, suggestions and “the best way to do it”.  Come time for rubber to meet the road, you find that a lot of those ‘suggesters’ hit the road instead of being a ‘do-er’ and following through.  You are not alone.  This happens in every auction committee and ours was no different.  Our first meetings were standing room only.  Our last meeting had 5-6 attendees.  Guess what.  We got more done with the 6 people who were doing all of the work anyway than we ever were with the 20-30 people who started out with us.  Since we didn’t have any new whirlwind ideas being tossed about, we focused on the tasks at hand and pulled together a good number of quality auction items.  Plus there were more cookies for each of us so that is always a bonus.

Problem 2:  Trying to Please Everybody

Risk is scary.  Change is nerve wracking.  How you handle that fear is important.  In the case of our committee, we tried to please everyone.  I was much more hard-nosed than the rest of the group, but then I don’t have the fear that it won’t work because this is what I do everyday.  In the end, I was able to bring them into less than what they were going to do and the made me soften up just a bit.  The net result is that their donors have stopped trying to “help” and instead are getting ready for the event and bringing their checkbooks with them.

Problem 3:  Chicken or Egg

Do you take all of your items online?  Do you have all of your items set for pre-bidding?  How many online winners are there?  What is the right formula?

Unfortunately, there is no right formula other than all of your items online with simultaneous in-person and online bidding.  However, not everybody can do that and not every committee is willing to fight back their fear enough to pull that off.  In our case, we ended up with 20% of our items closing online and 80% with pre-bidding and closing in-person.  I typically suggest a 50/50 split or 70/30 split in favor of items closing online, but I was out-voted.  Their commitment to me was that they understood that bidding online was going to likely be lighter than I had wanted primarily because the majority of items were for winning at the event and not online.  It is always a battle.  Do we jump in with both feet or do we dip our toe in the water.

The event is live now online and the gala is on the 22nd.

Ticket sales have exceeded previous ticket sales and that is great.  Let’s hope they get the word out for bidding so that we get the online bidding that I am looking for.

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