How many events have you been to in which the Live Auction always feels the same? A boring PowerPoint slide pops up for each item (that is if anyone even bothered to make one) as the emcee reads verbatim what’s already in the program (and on the slide too). The auctioneer quickly sells each item, one after the other, with little to no fanfare or celebration to mark each winning bidder’s victory. No wonder so many live auctions lose steam and leave the audience exhausted - eager to never return to your event!
There’s a better way. You can add some flair, excitement, and entertainment to help make the evening flow, keep your guests engaged, and help add to the momentum of your Live Auction.
Before moving on to the 3 ways you can add some fun and grab attention for your amazing live auction items, be sure you have a plan for how you are going to market your items before your event. Don’t have a plan yet? Reach out and I can help you craft an actionable plan in under an hour.
Music = Attention + Fun
When done well and thoughtfully music can add a fun and festive vibe to your event. Guests are brought into the moment, and can often be caught dancing in their seats and eagerly anticipating your next item. All you have to do is play 10-15 secs of intro music that matches the theme of the item you are selling. Start the music louder and gradually decrease the volume of the music to segway into the emcee describing the item. Another option you can add is to play fun upbeat music every time the auctioneer says “sold!”. This option helps to create a celebratory environment and helps to build momentum to the next item.
Striking Images = Great Storytelling
They say a picture is worth a 1000 words. If you have a PowerPoint deck for your live auction (which I highly encourage) then highlight the most amazing images of your items. Leave out all the written details of your item (save those for your program) and instead feature larger high-quality photos. Keep in mind you can also have more than one PPT slide per item. Some items deserve several photos to tell the whole story well. Note- Your emcee will focus on the top 3-5 selling points of your item, keep it quick and exciting. Your guests should have the full descriptions of the items in the program (with color photos) as well as having received advanced promotions of the items well before the night of the event.
Video = Stronger Emotional Pull
If a picture is worth a 1000 words then a video is worth more! Playing 15-30 second video clips that highlight the best features of your item can help guests imagine what it would be like to buy the item. This is incredibly effective for trips. Don’t have someone who can help you with this? Don’t worry there are several online tools that can help you do this easily. Check out https://promo.com and also https://animoto.com. If you’re handy with PowerPoint and other platforms like that you may be able to create stunning videos right from within there as well. If you’re using consignment trips, many times they will have videos like this prepared, check out this wonderful video from Vidanta Resorts that can be played at events to showcase their resorts--doesn’t that make you want to raise your bid card up?
Bonus tip: Have a Live Auction display front and center as your guests walk into the main cocktail/reception area. It’s best if you can have an 18 x 24 sign for each item, full color, with the best selling bullet points of the item. Place it centrally in an area that every guest will have to walk by. Light it well and do all you can to draw attention to the display. Have a volunteer or two stationed nearby to answer questions and engage your guests.
Looking for other ways to add some excitement to your Live Auction? Reach out today and let’s make a plan to have your best Live Auction ever!
Michael Faith Benefit Auctioneer and fundraising professional