Fundraising Auctioneer - Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Fundraising Auctioneer

Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Setting: An Example (Part 2)

Posted by Scott On March 27th

2013-09-14 18.00.13

In my last Blog I discussed the subject of decorating a venue. In it I had to confess I don’t get involved in the process because it’s not my forte. Just ask my wife Mary. When guests walk through our home we receive many compliments which I have to quickly deflect in Mary’s direction. Sure, I can hang a curtain rod, but she’s the one with the eye for interior design.

However, I did make a few suggestions regarding what to do and not do when decorating a venue.  Those suggestions included:

1)               Never use tall centerpieces

2)               Don’t overspend on decorations

3)               The decorations should make a statement about the mission. If your mission is to feed the hungry, then decorate the tables with canned food items that will remind the donors why they are there.

I do have one more suggestion when it comes to setting the mood at a fundraising event – and that’s the use of “Uplighting.”


Uplighting is the process where theatrical lighting fixtures – such as Par Cans (mostly widely used lights for concerts, nightclubs and touring productions) and Color Bars are used to add color to a room.

These light fixtures are placed on the floor pointing up and project color on surfaces such as columns, alcoves, corners and any other piece of architecture that you want to stand out. The good news is these lights can add any color you wish and may be programmed to change colors throughout the evening.

Perhaps the best part of Uplighting is that it can be achieved at a minimum cost and yet have a maximum impact.

At an event I did last year the decorating committee used Uplighting extremely well.  The effects were amazing and I dare say that most of the crowd had no idea the beautiful and colorful lighting effect was simply an Uplight on a regular household screen.

Let me conclude this 2-Blog subject by reiterating that I am in no way suggesting that decorations do not play an important role at a gala. It does. It’s just not my field of expertise.

I really enjoy watching the guests arrive – and when they walk into the venue for the first time – listen to their Oohs and Ahhs as they head to their assigned tables.

The decorations also play a key role in recruiting for next year’s event. Remember, your guests are paying a significant amount per ticket to attend the event, $100 – $500 per person at most of the events I conduct.  They don’t want to feel as if the charity “went cheap” and lessened the quality of the event and their experience at the fundraiser.

But there is a balance. It’s up to the decorating committee to understand where that balance is so both parties – the charity and the donors – go home feeling great about the hours they just spent helping others in need.


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