Re-ignite the fire

Have you been watching as the attendance to your annual benefit drops year after year? Are you resorting to comping tickets just to put bums in chairs? Does anyone laugh at your MC's jokes anymore? Is the crowd tired of listening to the live auction drag on and on?

Maybe your event is suffering from BAS, the boring auction syndrome. Typically, the first call to action is to get rid of the MC and the auctioneer you've been using forever and replace them with professionals who have proven results. You will notice the difference immediately on the stage, in your event revenues, and even on your invoice from your auctioneer. As they say, "You get what you pay for." Someone who can turn your event around or grow your fundraising revenues year after year is worth his weight in gold. I've been on both ends of the stick and typically; if you've done your homework, you'll notice improvements in your event right away, whether big or small. Though if the core components of your benefit remain unchanged, so will your results. Auction prizes are typically the same at most fundraising events: art, wine, trips, special dinner and hotel packages or maybe even a one-on-one meeting with a B-list celebrity. While auction prizes make up some of the building blocks of your benefit, they are never going to be the components that bring your special event to that next level.

So how do you make the leap? While not a new concept, it's the people who make the event. Whether it's the tireless dynamos who sit on your fundraising board, or the generous patrons in the audience, or even the best audio-visual techs in town; it all comes down to the people. Brainstorming, event-planning, ticket-selling - every component it takes to put together a successful event, requires the person who best fits the job! Have you ever been successful at putting a square peg into a round hole? Shaking things up on your planning committee and on your stage may be just the changes your event needs. Heck, move the stage and change the venue while you're at it! This may be just what it takes to get your auction rocking again. Ask the members of your board, the loyal guests people who have been coming to your event year in and year out, maybe even some of your event volunteers. A cross-group brainstorming session may reveal the answer or answers you need to reconnect with your audience or to re-energize your planning committee. There is no end to the resources or ideas that can re-ignite your auction's fire. Give one or all of these ideas a try as you begin planning for your next benefit auction.