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June 2, 2017 6 Ways to Communicate Live Auction Item Details at your Charity Event

A question I often get from our clients is “What are the best ways to communicate information about our live auction items to the guests at our event?” This is a really good question.

Let’s start prior to the event, though. The very best practice is to send an e-blast of the live auction items to your guests a week or more in advance of the event.

Now let’s talk about the things you should do to get the word out about the items on the big night.

Program – Print ALL of the details about the trip or experience in your evening’s program. Here I encourage you to include not just the “good” stuff – the what, when, where, how many, how long, the view, etc. but also the “fine print” – the blackout dates, restrictions and expiration dates. A guest who has questions about an item will most likely not bid on that item and you risk losing a buyer who would like to support your cause if only they had enough information.

Displays Boards – Because in my experience the majority of live auction items are not “tangible”, I recommend having large display boards with great pictures and detailed descriptions. Place these signs in a high-traffic area during the silent auction/cocktail time. When possible at our events, our staff will hang out by these boards and chat up the guests about the items. You can station volunteers to do the same thing, answering questions and promoting the items.

“Ask Me About” buttons – Create large buttons that volunteers wear during the silent auction/cocktail hour that prompt the guests to “Ask Me About Live Auction Item #4”. This is a great way to generate curiosity and get the word out about the items.

PowerPoint – As each item is described during the live auction, show slides that sell the “sizzle” of the package – gorgeous “lifestyle” photos with a very short recap of the package – the item number and the title of the package, specifically. Keep it short and sweet and don’t clutter the slide with a lot of text.  Make sure the font is large enough that the slides are easy to read.

Co-Host – I love to work with a co-host during the live auction. This “tag-teaming” breaks the voices up and makes the live auction more entertaining for the guests. In creating the co-host’s script, I suggest having text about the items that will first capture the guests’ attention followed by a summary of the facts. Rather than have the co-host reference the blackout dates, restrictions and expiration dates, instead have them direct the guests to see the additional details in the program. One very important note – don’t let the co-host simply read the program word-for-word (or the PowerPoint slides) to the guests.

Be sure to have certificates for the winning bidders at checkout. The buyers should be provided with details including the package description, any restrictions, expiration dates and contact information for the donor so the package can be easily redeemed.

Informing and reminding your guests about the details of your live auction items will create more bidders which in turn results in more money raised at your event. Contact C King Benefit Auctions to find out more about this fundraising tip and many others.

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