March 23, 2018 Decorations at your Charity Auction
I love it when I walk into a venue and see evidence that the decorations committee has gone all-out. Creative talent can truly transform a room. But there are a few things committees need to keep in mind when pulling out all of the stops.
Table votives look really pretty when the room’s lighting is turned down low for dinner. However, I’ve seen numerous occasions where someone placed their napkin down on the table a little too close to the candle flame and “BAM!” – suddenly you have a fire on the table.
At a recent client’s event, they had candles on the tables and surrounding the stage. One table’s occupants felt the need to slide their table further away from the stage so the waitstaff could move around their table more easily. When they did so, the table collapsed, spilling their drinks in their laps. Luckily, the candles did not ignite anything and while everything turned out alright in the end, the event was delayed until the table could be reset. Because this table was right next to the stage all eyes were on what was going on NEXT to the stage, not ON the stage. Not a good thing for the momentum of a live auction.
We all love to see elaborate centerpieces. But tell me, have you ever tried to have a conversation at a dinner table with a huge, extra-tall floral arrangement as a centerpiece? This only allows your guests to talk only with those closest to them. And most importantly, at a fundraising event, these over-sized centerpieces block your auctioneer’s view of the guests at these tables, making it hard for them to connect and engage with the guests. I recommend centerpieces be no taller than a maximum height of 8 inches.
The stage is another area where decoration committees might place extravagant theme-related props. I encourage you not to block your guests’ views with plants and other items that prevent the guests on the sides of the room from seeing the action on the stage. If your guests can’t see the people on the stage, chances are your fundraising auctioneer cannot see them bidding and attempting to support your organization. So, keep the line of sight clear for everyone. And when you are thinking about your decorations, make sure to leave plenty of room for everything that will be taking place on the stage.
Be aware that lighting in the room is very important. Creating ambiance during the cocktail reception and dinner is fine – it’s alright for lights to be low and soft at those times. But when the fundraising begins the lights should be brought up, allowing your professional fundraising auctioneer to see the whites of the guests’ eyes.
Decorations can really set your event apart from other charity events in your orbit but make sure the decorations make good fundraising sense.
Make every minute a revenue generating minute!
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