auction planning

Must Have Live Auction Item #5: Sports

This the post in my blog series on Must Have Auction Items for a Varied Live Auction. If you haven't caught the other posts, or aren't sure why it is so imporant to have a varied live auction, you can find all of those posts HERE or archived on my blog. Stay awhile and look around. I provide all of this information to help my clients or anyone else trying to plan their fundraiser. My goal is to help organizations be as successful as possible!  

The last type of item you should be looking for as you solicit items for your live auction is a Sports related item. 

Criteria for a successful Sports Item:

Exclusivity. Like with any live auction item, you will have more success if the item is not a dime a dozen. Signed swag is good if it is by a well-known, well-loved player who does not hand out their autograph liberally. 

Appeal. This should seem obvious, but for some people it is not. If you are receiving sports tickets, make sure it is to a GOOD game with GOOD seats. Example for all of my Minnesota friends: 50 yard line to the Vikings/Packers game.  

Open Availability. If someone in your association has great season tickets to some local professional team, ask them if they would be willing to donate tickets that the bidder can select the date. A few black-out dates are acceptable, but still not ideal. This takes a lot of sacrifice on the donors part, but it's worth asking.

Best way to get sports tickets: 

Ask your company to donate. So many companies have season tickets that they give out to clients or employees as incentives. It does not hurt them one bit to give a set to your organization to sell. If they are less than amazing tickets, sell them on the silent auction, but still ask and take those babies off their hands.

If you have questions about your sports related item or any of the other sports categories I've listed in this series, please contact me and I'd love to dialogue with you about your live auction line up. 

Must Have Live Auction Item #3: Unique Experience

A unique experience is the hardest item to come up with because you often need to think outside of the box and pull your personal connections in for this. There is really no real criteria here other than provide an experience or an item that people cannot access on their own. So, for this post, I will just be listing examples of things I have sold to get your creative juices flowing.

Examples of Unique Experiences

  • Character created about winning bidder in a well known author's next book
  • Trip to visit and tour Jay Leno's garage (with Jay Leno if the timing was right) 
  • Principal for a Day
  • Trip with a professional sport's team to an out of state game which included accommodations and riding with the team on their plane to and from the game as well as an after party post game.
  • Lock in sleepover at a museum with a roof top movie
  • Premier parking space for school pickup and drop off
  • Batboy (bat-kid) for local professional Baseball team
  • Box at a professional sports game hosted by a (well-known) retired player
  • Timed shopping spree at a local department store

The possibilities are endless for these types of items. What I would encourage you and your team to do is to plan an entire meeting that is set aside for brainstorming this type of item. Throw out ideas with the freedom of "no idea is a bad idea" and just go with it. Some of the best auction items sound "stupid" in your head before you say it outloud and realize that it could actually happen with the connections in the room. Eventually what will happen is one member will throw out an idea, another member will know someone with the right connections and you will find yourself with a very exclusive an unique idea. 

Hosting your Fundraising Auction on a Thursday (or any other weeknight)

Host your fundraising auction on a Thursday night! | Sarah Knox Benefit Auctions

So you’ve never thought about hosting your fundraiser on a Thursday? See the following reasons as to why hosting your fundraising auction on a Thursday is a killer idea:

1. People rarely have scheduling conflicts, so more people can attend!

2. People still give money on week nights – not just on weekends!

For a guest receiving an invite to an event, there is less to think about before responding “Yes – Chicken” when it’s on a Thursday. They already know they don’t have a wedding to attend that night, plus they can come straight from work and eat at your event.

If your annual event is more of a sit down dinner style with speakers who educate the guests on the amazing things your organizations provides to our community, this might be a good night for you! It’s easier for press to attend and cover these events as well because it’s not as competitive as Fridays or Saturdays.

Hosting your fundraiser on a Thursday can be wildly successful, but the only thing you need to do is be mindful of time. It’s helpful to put a start and end time on the invite so people can know how late they will be out on a weeknight. 6:00-9:00, for instance. I’ve even done successful Thursday events that are only two hours long 6:00-8:00. They’ve achieved this by either cutting out a silent auction all together or cutting out speakers and focusing on a live auction and fund-a-need. Guests are always appreciative when they know that the organization values and respects the guests’ time and it makes them more willing to come back and give year after year.

If you have questions about hosting your event on a Thursday night, contact me and I can walk you through some success stories and how this can be done efficiently and effectively.