Why do later what you could now?
When it comes to planning an auction, you can never start too early! There are many factors to consider when coordinating an event to make you money or earn funds for your organization. It is better to have the time and be sure all bases have been covered and every detail has been accounted for, than have to be nervous up until the eleventh hour, second guessing yourself.
Many auctions start preparations six to twelve months in advance. Especially when organizing a benefit event, the further ahead you can start planning, the better. If your benefit auction is to be an annual event, the proceeding years will be less stressful and more successful if planned well in advance the first year.
Maybe the most time consuming process of the auction process is item procurement. Collecting donations from your community members and area businesses may seem like a daunting task, but can be easy if you request items well ahead of time. Big ticket items are appropriate to request early to make sure they are available by the time your auction comes around. Businesses are grateful for the advanced notice as well as private donors.
Finding a venue and obtaining the necessary licenses for the event are best done as soon as you can. If you have a home, business, or building at your disposal for free, consider how many guests to expect to invite and attend. Acoustics are important to remember when having a live auction also. Everyone should be able to clearly hear and understand the auctioneer and speakers throughout the entire room at all times. If you would like to cater and or serve alcohol, be sure that the building will allow it.
Establishing a guest list and how many people you want at your auction. After sending invitations, be sure to send a “save the date” and or RSVPs several months before the big day. This should give you an idea of how much to cater, how many seats, an appropriate amount of materials you’ll need, and how many workers or volunteers to help make sure everything goes smoothly. A good rule of thumb for benefit auctions is to have one volunteer for every ten to twelve guests.
Marketing your auction is critical to ensure a good turn out. Many professional auctioneers will provide a marketing package included in their commission or for a flat rate. If you hire the auctioneer to provide the marketing, it will ultimately benefit you, even if you have to pay them a percentage. Many auction firms have a marketing team that designs custom advertising and marketing program, using a wide range of advertising media to market, including newspaper and magazine print, internet, brochures, signs, radio, and much more. This attracts the people most interested in your property, which stimulates competition, thus securing the best possible results for you, the seller. These will be published months and weeks ahead of time.
Auction set-up, decorating, and final lot inventory can be done in the final weeks or days before the selling day. Final touches, last minute minor changes, seating, and staging are recommended to be decided or ready the week of if possible. You would hate to do a final walk-through the day before and realize you don’t have enough of something or room for something. For security, placing sale items on display should be done last; the day of maybe.
If you allow yourself the time, help, and organized planning, you are sure to have a successful auction and the event of the year!