May 9, 2014 What Type of Event is Best?
One of the questions I commonly get is “What type event is best when we are going to have a live auction?” There are pros and cons to both a seated dinner and an event where hors d’oeuvres only are served.
Pros of a stand-up/hors d’oeuvres auction event:
- Cost are usually less than a seated dinner, therefore ticket prices are less
- Allows guests to come and go as they like
- Guests are allowed to mingle and socialize throughout the evening
- Guests are allowed to come and go as they like
- From a fundraising standpoint, getting the guests’ attention to conduct a live auction is very challenging over their “chatter” and lack of focus
- Identifying bidders during the live auction can be a challenge for your Professional Fundraising Auctioneer
- Mission awareness is usually shortened
- Standing fatigue can be a problem for the guests
- Guests want to check out as soon as they are ready to leave, often before the checkout volunteers have processed the paperwork
Pros of a seated dinner auction event:
- The guests are “captured”, therefore fundraising is maximized
- The meal becomes part of the evening and guests are not just attending to eat
- The Professional Fundraising Auctioneer does not have to talk over the guests’ chatter
- The organization’s mission is better shared due to the focus of the guests
- Guests feel special when dressing up or dressing to theme
- The event contains structure, with a beginning and an end
- Checkout volunteers have a controlled time when checkout opens (after the “program”)
- Guests come prepared to support the organization because they understand it is a fundraising event due to the increased ticket price at a seated dinner
- Can be more expensive to purchase a ticket. See previous blog post “How much should we charge for tickets?”
- Guests may perceive the event as more formal
- Guests can’t “drop in”
While a seated dinner can be more labor intensive and more expensive to your organization and your guests, I encourage you to consider these options from a fundraising standpoint. When hosting a seated dinner and conducting the live auction and Special Appeal early in the program, the guests are more focused, thus you raise more money for your organization. Don’t worry, your guests are allowed to socialize during the silent auction and before the official program starts. I suggest conducting the live auction within the first 30 minutes of your program while the guests are eating. A seated dinner allows your guests to focus on the great live auction items that you’ve procured without the distraction of chatter. Have your keynote speeches and band (if applicable) afterwards, when the fundraising is complete. Checkout then opens at the conclusion of the live auction and which gives the checkout volunteers plenty of time to prepare for the guests to arrive, keeping lines short.
The bottom line is that a live auction facilitated during a seated dinner will raise more money for your organization.
Make every minute a revenue generating minute!
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