A few days ago a strange, but an absolute right-on comparison popped into my head and I thought I’d share it with you today. A fundraising gala – that has both a silent auction and a live auction – is much like a game of musical chairs. You weren’t expecting that comparison where you?! But, hear me out.
During an event, with both a silent auction and a live auction, there is a time when your guests should be on their feet and a time when they should take a seat.
Let’s begin with the silent auction. This is the time of the event you want your guests on their feet. You want them to be mobile so they can walk around and mingle – preferably bidding on the silent auction items.
It’s alright to have a little bit of seating for those who have difficulty walking or standing, but place the seating in the corners of the room and away from the silent auction area.
However, you can have tables near the silent auction area, but they should be high cocktail tables with NO bar stools. This will give your guests a place to rest their drinks and chat with those immediately around them without them sitters. Remember, once a person sits they tend to protect their “real estate” and not move from their seats. Keeping them standing or walking around the silent auction tables will result in higher revenue being generated for the charity.
With that said, it’s just the opposite during a live auction. You want everyone seated – no movement. This will keep your guests focused on the PowerPoint presentation containing the live auction slides, the auctioneer, and especially the items being auctioned.
It’s much like a high school football coach, when near the end of practice, he tells his players to take a knee as he goes over today’s practice and what they can expect at this week’s game. By doing this the coach knows he’s taller than the players – and he has the stage. It also assures no player’s view is blocked and his message will reach everyone within listening distance.
If your guests are walking around the room where the live auction is being held they create a disturbance and the others in the room lose focus. A loss of focus is a loss of revenue.
This is one of the primary reasons not to have a buffet at your fundraising auction. Whenever possible choose the sit down dinner
So keep them standing when they should be standing. Keep them seated when they should be seated. At the end of the day your bottom line will thank you.