When it comes to promoting your auction many of your guests will be looking on your website for the date, time and place as well as other general information. When it comes to promoting the items you are going to auction off during the fundraising event, nothing beats an old fashion catalog.
I recommend sending out the catalogs two weeks prior to the event – no more, no less. This will give individuals and couples plenty of time to page through the catalog and determine which items they are interested in bidding on but not allow them time to postpone reviewing the catalog.
Although the first few pages can have a few words from the event chair and some information regarding the charity itself, when it comes to the actual auction items, each live auction item should have a page of its own.
Each page should include a photo of the item and a brief, easy to read description. It’s important to note that color photos are preferred if the printing budget allows for it. Yes, it’s more expensive. But, we live in a let-me-see color world and fortunately I’ve learned over the 20-plus years I’ve been a benefit auctioneer that catalogs with color pays for itself by raising the level of interest in an item and the level of excitement during the auction. And that translates into higher prices.
Finally, I recommend testimonials be included with an item where appropriate.
Here’s a great example. Let’s say you are auctioning off a fishing trip to Alaska, which includes a stay at a private chalet and the best fishing captain at the port. If you auctioned off the same trip the year prior get some quotes from the person who took the trip and let them describe – in their own words – what a fantastic adventure it was. You simply can’t beat positive personal experiences.
And don’t forget about silent auction items. Although it increases the work load, listing all the silent auction items, in categories provides greater exposure to the profit makers. For instance if you have golf experiences from various country clubs. The catergory will be “GOLF” with the items listed below with the their respective silent auction number. (see example below) This will allow you spread out the golf trips all around the silent area but group them in the catalog. Pictures are generally not provided for silent auction items.
Item number Description Location
12 Foursome at Fiddlesticks CC Ft Myers FL
23 Foursome at Quail West Naples FL
42 Foursome at Black Diamond Crystal River FL
66 Foursome at Bear’s Paw Sarasota FL
So, don’t forget to get those catalogs out on time and give each live auction item its own colorful, descriptive page. And be sure to have a copy of the same catalog at the event so your guests can remind themselves exactly on what they want to bid.