The Ultimate Guide To Running Your Own Charity Auction
Here at the Champions Speakers agency, we have years of experience when it comes to matching the perfect celebrity to an event. Today we wanted to give you an insight into the logistics that go into running a charity auction and how to create an event that will raise huge amounts of money for your chosen charity.
Having organised countless successful auctions at Champions, do not miss our top tips - and remember to view our celebrity auctioneers to add some fun to your event.
Top Tips for Your Charity Auction
Do: Create An In-depth Auction Guide
Creating a guide that contains the lots at the auction can boost sales at the event, mainly because people will be viewing the guide as they arrive before the auction commencing. The auction guide should include photographs and a detailed, historical description of each item, but should not include a guide price - we will come to that later.
Don't: Over Schedule
More lots = more money? Wrong. Give each lot a set amount of time as this will ensure you make it through all of the items for sale and don't end up with too many lots that never see the audience. If you have items that don't sell or are leftover, sell some of the products on eBay or through an auction style website. You could also arrange for the smaller lots to be sold at a separate auction earlier in the day or on another day altogether.
Do: Collect Priceless Items
A question you should ask yourself when constructing the list of items that you want to sell at your auction is - is the item in question expensive or priceless? At a charity auction, you really want to raise the largest possible amount of money, so that signed football from Sir Alex Ferguson is priceless! An interesting table on the other hand.. well, it might be expensive but will the crowd love it?
Do: advertise before the event
Before the event, if you have any interesting items, like a signed helmet from F1 superstar Mark Webber, publish the unique collectable on social media prior to the event. Not only will it attract more people, but you might end up having a few celebrities appear at the event too.
Do: Hire a Celebrity
If a TV icon attends a charity auction, you can be sure that the press will come along with all of their friends, too! Engaging with the media and celebrity management agencies can make or break your event - getting more exposure will mean raising more money for charity! So, make sure to invite an extra special guest to your event, like a celebrity.
Don't: Forget the Nibbles & Champagne
After all that planning, sometimes you can forget the very basic things, like lobster and champagne. If you make a charity auction classy and make the guests feel like they are VIP's, you would be surprised how relaxed the atmosphere can become. By creating a nice, relaxed atmosphere, people are usually more likely to spend more money.
Do: Hire a Famous Auctioneer
Instead of getting anyone, why don't you get a serious auctioneer? Perhaps someone who is well versed in the auction industry like Charles Hanson or Charlie Ross? On the other hand, any celebrity can add a unique twist to your charity auction and bring it to another level. We have a large range of famous auctioneers here at Champions.
Many celebrity auctioneers - like the outstanding Thomas Forrester, showcased in the video above - have earned an authoritative reputation from such British classics as 'Bargain Hunt' and 'Antiques Road Trip'. These special event hosts are equipped with a lifetime of unforgettable stories, to captivate audiences between lots.
Do: Prioritise Glamour & Class
If you are selling some of the most priceless items in the world then you should really consider making the event a black-tie do as this will attract a great crowd with big wallets. It also makes the event unforgettable, which could mean future charity auctions welcome back the same guest list.
Don't: Include Guide Prices
One of the oldest rules when it comes to throwing an auction is that each lot should have a guide price. Well, this is a charity auction and we don't need guide prices, so if you see any documentation with a guide price - throw it in the bin. Charity auctions are about raising money, people don't mind all that much about guide prices.
Do: Use a Professional Set-Up
Remember, fancy decorations are great but don't forget about the lighting; this is one of the MOST important things when you are running an auction. Take a step back and think about it, are you going to bid on something if you can't see what it is?
Make sure the stage lighting is clear and the lot for sale can be seen from every corner of the auction room. If you feel that people can't see very well then consider additional screens that showcase the product and ensure maximum spotlight of the product at all times.
Don't: Forget the Sound System
One of the most important parts of an auction is selling. If the people at the back can't hear what is being said, how are they supposed to bid? We recommend installing a good sound system so that everyone can hear and also include a running tally on a screen so that people with hearing impairments can still take part in the event.
Do: Go Out With a Bang
With any auction, there is a fine art to balancing the order in which items are listed to achieve a positive vibe throughout the event. You wouldn't want your most expensive lot to sell straight away and you certainly wouldn't want to sell it in the end. Building up to the more interesting lots creates a great atmosphere and any celebrity auctioneer can drive the price even more.
Do: Showcase The Charity
One of the most important points of this entire article. Highlighting the charities that you are supporting will add a certain level of credibility to your event and make people feel a little easier when it comes to parting with their money. Perhaps mention a story or have a short presentation before and after the event to ensure people are told how the money will be used.
How to Make Your Charity Auction Unforgettable!
With these fun auctions, you can make any charity fundraising event enjoyable. Our personal favourite is the standing auction!
Usually, auctions will be a game of who will pay the most, yet in the case of a Dutch auction, the roles are reversed. The auctioneer will start the item off with a high price and, instead of making it more expensive with each bid, the price decreases gradually until someone wins the auction; the ultimate game of chicken.
The silent auction is incredibly fun to play because your bids are created before the lot comes up for sale and the highest bid wins. This can mean that you can end up completely overbidding and spending more than anyone else! A very interesting auction style that is sure to go down well.
In the age of technology, silent bidding is a really fun way to inject a little bit of suspense into the auction. On each table, a tablet will be placed allowing you to bid without anyone knowing. This can though lead to the event being a little less atmospheric in comparison to a real auctioneer and raising your hand to bid.
Stand up auctions
The famous stand-up auction, not to be confused with stand up comedy. At the beginning of the auction, the price will be set and each member of the auction can sit down when they feel the price is too high as it progressively increases. Whoever is the last to be standing is the winner.
Lucy Berry is an After Dinner Sales Executive who joined us in the summer of 2018, shortly after graduating from Victoria University "down under" in Melbourne. In her time at Champions Speakers, Lucy has booked the likes of Ken Segall, Simon Callow, ... Read more
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