There’s quite a few tricks you can use to maximize your takings when you’re holding a charity auction, so read on and try a few out – after all, it’s for a good cause.
Make sure you get the right people in
It’s more important to focus on getting the word out to the right people, so spend time and resources on this rather than filling the hall with flowers and canapes. They know it’s for charity, so they won’t be expecting silver service, just some refreshments and drinks.
Use a professional auctioneer
The best thing you can do to get the money rolling in is to hire a professional auctioneer. He or she can get the crowd going as well as control it, can highlight the best items and bring a lot of entertainment to the event. It’s always worth asking if they’ll reduce or even waive their fee.
Use professional ring-men as well
Ringmen watch the crowd for bidders and can read the crowd very well. Auctions in Ireland can be lively affairs so they’re very useful.
Advertise your items well beforehand
Use good, well-considered descriptions, or at least a brief list in all your mailshots so that people can decide if they want to attend and what they want to buy. A nice-looking catalogue will stimulate discussion and interest.
Carry on advertising at the event
Every table should have a detailed list and description of each item so last-minute decisions can be made.
Your best-selling items will be unique or offer an experience
You need unique or once-in-a-lifetime experiences to really reel the money in, so include as many as you can.
Show the wares well
You need to show all the sale items in their best light as this will bump up the hammer price.
Don’t assign money values in the list
This means that someone may pay more than the item is worth. Putting values on lots tends to cap the price, so don’t restrict yourself.
Ask for donations once the action’s over
If people have a few euros left over, then they’ll often be happy to turn them in to offer a bit more help to the charity.
Use decent lighting
Use the overhead lights and ditch stage spotlights. It’s surprising how many auctions are hampered by low lighting.
Use good sound
Again, make sure you use a decent PA system as people need to hear the auctioneer.
Have a crescendo
Bring out the biggest ticket item around three-quarters of the way in.
Then close soon after
Most of the action happens in the first half hour, so aim to wrap up around ten minutes after the big item.
Make sure the auctioneer knows what’s what
You need to provide a detailed list to work with, with all the juicy details to get people going.
Don’t impose minimum bids either
You have an experienced auctioneer, right? So let him or her decide where to start the bidding.
Have a good range of lots
Offer lots of different types of items – experiences, clothes, jewellery, clocks, old games…
Ditch the script
Just give the auctioneer the details list and let them do the rest – they know what they’re doing and can be a hoot.