To Organize A Fundraiser
A fundraising art auction has a very noble connotation to it. The intent, however is the same as that of a pure commercial art auction – to make the most money. Most fundraising organizers are volunteers and have less experience in handling an auction, hence a crisp checklist is welcome and can be really helpful. Here is a comprehensive list of things to be kept in mind when you are a part of the next fundraising art auction for a cause you are close to.
The most important factor is inviting the right people. It is the bidders who are going to spend the money and it is important that you have them in the room. No matter how pretty your auction room looks, it is the money in the pockets of the bidders that is the real star. You may think that with a list of items and a microphone you may as well be the auctioneer. However, it is so much more than that. A professional auctioneer is imperative as they can control the crowd, get their attention, present the artworks with appropriate importance and can really entertain the group to take away the stiff boredom. Getting professional ringmen who can identify bidders and help register bids is a good idea. These ringmen actually assist the auctioneer in getting genuine bids, thus proving instrumental in maximizing the funds. A small catalogue, an e-mailer or any other medium that carries the list and a small description of each product on auction can prove to be a great way to advertise and attract interested bidders. At the event showcase all the objects in the best possible way with maximum possible information about the piece, its origin, artist, measurements, and every other possible detail. In the event program list or the catalogue, or e-mailer, whichever media you might have used to attract or inform the bidders, it is unwise to mention any price or value of the artwork. This usually causes the bid to end abruptly at the mentioned value while there might actually be people interested in paying a lot more than its perceived value. It is a good idea to augment the live auction by following it up with a silent, plea, or gift auction. There are always people who would like to spend more for a good cause. The décor should be pleasant but the lighting should focus on the artworks being auctioned and not on the stage. The sound system and its quality is extremely important for a successful auction. If the bidders can’t hear or understand the auctioneer, they would not be able to bid either. The live auction is more like a performance and to keep the bidders on their toes, it should build up to a crescendo. The highest priced artwork should be positioned at about 3/4th of the list. The timing should be decided wisely. If it runs too late, the bidders might actually leave before the really interesting or high priced artworks even reach the block. The auctioneer is usually a professional and trained to do what he does. The most important things to be supplied to them should be a descriptive list of the artworks by lot and a good wire free microphone. The reserve prices for the artworks on the list should never be disclosed to the public. This list should only be available to the auctioneer. The minimum bids where the auction may begin for any particular artwork should be decided by the auctioneer who is sure to have more knowledge and experience when compared to the staff. If the consignors request a minimum selling price for the artwork, it might actually end up not getting sold thus putting a huge dent in the total profit. It is therefore wise to keep such issues sorted and preferably avoided. As an organizer, it is better to not judge the piece being sold. Beauty and value of artworks is often subjective. Even if you do not like a particular artwork, bidders might! It is imprudent to spend too much or go overboard on frivolous activities when organizing a fundraiser. The intent is to make money, but for a cause.