There are so many moving parts when you get close to the big auction date including what information needs to go where. So how do you determine what to say, what to print and what to showcase?
We’ve got a breakdown of what you need to keep your audience engaged at your event.
THE SCRIPT - What to say
The script is the map for your emcee and all your live speakers to know what happens next. And when done correctly, can keep you from succumbing to major pitfalls. I always say, “There shouldn’t be any surprises at your event unless someone gives more than we expected!” The script makes sure no one goes on a tangent and everyone knows where to be and when.
Most scripts have 3 main columns: Time - Script - Tech Notes
A successful Script needs to include:
Announcements for your professional Benefit Auctioneer in the cocktail hour- this includes raffle information and any additional revenue generators for folks to participate in
Silent auction closing times and call to seating
All speakers, including your emcee and auctioneer, speaking parts for the entire night - fully scripted with the exact words you expect them to say. Not sure what to include, check out our blog on Scripting, Language and Your Event for additional guidance.
Item descriptions written as you want the emcee to describe them. This is the salespersonship of the package. “Enjoy 7 nights and 6 days in Mexico. That’s right, while it’s raining at home, you’ll be sinking your toes in the warm sand in Cancun.” You get the idea.
Appeal Speech (add the video time if you are using a video)
Appeal levels and any precommitted donations listed under the appropriate level of giving with phonetics for names
TECH NOTES - There is a whole separate column for this so everything happens exactly as planned. Share the script with your AV Team and they will feel more invested in your event execution.
When you provide a script to your speakers, you will create momentum in your event. That momentum keeps your audience attentive. And when you know what you want your audience to hear about your organization, you can control the narrative. When you have control of the narrative and have created momentum, that's where the magic happens.
THE CATALOG - What to print
The place you put all the nitty gritty details and get them all in the palm of your bidders hands as well as some general information about your organization. Think of the catalog as the place for the legal jargon. No one wants to hear that from the stage as it’s a bit of a bummer, but you need to provide it to each bidder. This is that space.
SIDE NOTE - If you decide to Go Green and not have a catalog, please at least have a one page sheet with all your auction items information. Guests won’t bid without being able to read what is in the package.
A successful Catalog needs to include:
A welcome note from your Head of School or Executive Director
Thank you from the Auction Chair or Development Director
Overview of the night’s events*
*You don’t need to list times for each and every thing that will be happening and when. Keep it simple and adaptable. And please, don’t list the doors open time - they will already be in the room.
Cocktail Hour and Silent Auction Bidding
Dinner by YumFood Catering
Afterparty with DJ DanceParty
Menu - This is good for folks who may have allergies or sensitivities.
Emcee and Auctioneer Bios
Live Auction Items*
*This is where the fine print matters. You want all the restrictions, limitations and expirations for each auction package to be listed here. If a guest complains they didn’t have all the details of the package, you can remind them it was printed in the catalog and everyone got one. No surprises.
Sponsor recognitions and logos for those who were promised that as part of their sponsorship
Your catalog will guide your attendees through your night and gives them a reference as to who folks are. They can know what to expect later in the program. The catalog gives them a heads up on some of the packages you have to sell. So, that means they are ready for bidding when the time comes. And if they loved something they saw at your event, they know who to reach out to because you have thanked all your donors. After all, we want folks to engage with the people who supported our event. So make sure they are listed.
Oh, and hey, while we are here, can you do your auctioneer a solid? Don’t print your bidder numbers on the back of the catalog. When we look out and see a sea of folks reading their catalogs, what we really see is confusion of whether someone is bidding or not. Keep the bid cards separate. I bet your printer will appreciate that as well.
THE POWERPOINT: What to showcase
This is the visual cue to your guests to know where we are in the program. It doesn’t need to have full descriptions or multiple slides. A little goes a long way here. So pick an image that will leave you with no other desire but to be in that location, or dining on that mouthwatering entree. You get the idea.
A successful Powerpoint needs to include:
A fun image that makes you want this package. If you are using clipart, you are not selling it.
Package Number that matches the Catalog and Script
Title of the package
The best 2 - 3 bullet points about the package
That’s it! The powerpoint is a visual cue for folks to check. Remember that item they were excited to see in the catalog? Well, this is the gentle nudge to say "now is the time to bid" and get their focus for the package. When your guests see their visual cue they can jump into the action. It's also a great place for what I call "Auction Wallpaper" where you list sponsors and images of your great work. This is a place to put the picture that is worth a thousand words.
When you have all 3 of these resources working together at your event, it creates a smooth guest experience and eliminates confusion. Each one is vitally important to your success. Don’t skip them.
Have additional questions about your guest resources? Reach out. We love to help.