Live Benefit Auctions - Best Practices

  1. Choose right items. Match auction items with the needs, wants and lifestyle of your audience.
  2. Tee it up right. Have someone who has benefited from the cause. Brief testimonials will remind attendees of the need and inspire liberal bidding.
  3. Less can be better. Choose 12 to 15 items for your live auction. Too many and you lose the crowd’s attention.
  4. Engage the donor. If an item has an interesting story, ask the donor to briefly explain it.
  5. Promote items before the event. Allows prospective bidders to plan ahead. Also display items and use PowerPoint images during auction.
  6. Keep it moving. Start the auction as dessert is served so bidders don’t leave the room.
  7. Make it fun. Start with “heads and tails.” If you offer a cash prize, the winner can use it for the live auction.
  8. Recruit good spotters. Trained spotters can help ensure no bid is missed.
  9. Consider special appeal. Done at the end of the live auction, it allows those who didn’t bid to participate. Tie the special appeal to a tangible item.
  10. Say “thanks.” Find ways to thank donors and attendees over and over again.