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August 25, 2017 Don’t Let Lighting and Temperature Eclipse Your Fundraising Event

I had the privilege of watching the 2017 eclipse, in totality, from Nashville, Tennessee.  The day transformed from a hot, 95 degrees to mid-80’s temperatures and became dark enough for street lights to come on. The crickets began singing and the MOSQUITOES arrived! It was the most amazing experience I have ever had.  The temperature and lighting changes and the appearance of the mosquitoes were really cool to experience during an eclipse but that wouldn’t be so cool during a fundraising event.

Let’s look at some things you should consider when planning the setup of your next event.

Most committee members want to bring the house lights down in the silent auction area while guests enjoy cocktails, bid on silent auction items and socialize.  Unfortunately, if you bring the lights down too low, the guests will have a hard time seeing the auction items much less be able to navigate the bid sheets.  We encourage our clients to enhance those areas with small lamps or other appropriate lighting.

The same rules apply to lighting during dinner and the program. It’s fine for dinner to be served with low lights but once the fundraising starts, the lights must go up.  My rule of thumb is that there should be enough lighting in the room that your auctioneer is able to see the guests’ eyes. If I can see their eyes, I can see their body language and the bid numbers. This results in more MONEY!

Some audio-visual companies use spotlights and extra stage lighting to enable guests to see the speakers and auctioneer better.  I do understand this philosophy, especially if cameras are being used to project the evening activities onto screens for all to see. But there must be a balance. Have you ever been out walking at night when a car approaches?  All you see are the bright lights in your eyes. That is exactly what your auctioneer will see if spotlights and bright stage lights are in use. It’s impossible for an auctioneer with lights glaring in their eyes to see who is bidding in a live auction. So, use those lights during dinner and for your speakers, but as you enter the fundraising portion of the program be sure to turn extra lighting down as low as possible so the auctioneer can see the guests bidding.

The temperature of the room is something often forgotten about until it is too late to recover and control. An easy fix is to ask the venue staff to lower the air conditioner to a chilly setting during the day of setup.  When your guests begin arriving that evening, the room should be cold, colder really than you would want it. But don’t touch that thermostat!  As bodies fill the room, I guarantee the temperature will go up.  By the time the program begins, the temperature should be pleasant. If not, you can always raise the thermostat to a higher setting. But a room that starts out too warm will never cool off enough once it’s filled with guests.

While mosquitoes don’t normally frequent fundraising events, if you do have an outdoor event, make sure you provide insect repellent for the guests.

Don’t forget to consider lighting and temperature (and bugs!) when planning for your next fundraising event.

And don’t forget to give C King Benefit Auctions a call if you are looking for a professional fundraising auctioneer.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!

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