“Less is More” – A Guide to Silent Auction Success!

To help your patrons out, make sure the bid sheets are easily accessible!

To help your patrons out, make sure the bid sheets are easily accessible!

“Less is more”, is a phrase from the 1855 poem “Andrea del Sarto, called ‘The Faultless Painter'” by Robert Browning and adopted by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe as a precept for minimalist design. “Minimalist” is the word of the day. Digest it, and let it ring in your ears as you contemplate your Silent Auction Design.

A trend we have noticed as of late is the success groups are having when they reduce the number of their silent auction lots. Indeed, “Less is More.” Everybody reading this blog has undoubtedly heard me preach countless times to reduce reduce reduce that silent auction. It’s a big concept to grasp and requires a leap of faith. The best thing I can do is provide real life accounts with two events that did it! (And did it well)…
The 2013 Heart Ball with 850 patrons in attendance has historically provided 200+ items in their silent auction. With mostly couples attending, that means 425 households or “checkbooks” bidding. Knowing there are some coming solo, we can round that number to 500. Quick quiz…who remembers that silent auction formula? (Insert Jeopardy music). Ok, yes! You’re right! 20%! That means 100 items, which is what they had. The result…they had their most successful silent auction in 26 years of doing this event. Can you imagine the time they saved procuring 100 fewer items? Less work, more money, big smiles! The trifecta for auction and event success!

The 2013 Service Guild Gala followed the same formula, and perhaps even more so. There were approximately 500 patrons and a 45 item silent auction. Do we dare guess at their results? Of course we do, for we are a daring lot of type “A” personalities! Their silent auction produced nearly twice what it did the previous year with fewer than HALF the number of items! The items, because of the reduced number, were all top quality and all received very competitive bidding with some items (in a silent auction mind you) going in excess of $600.

Methinks there is something to this “Less is More” philosophy! How would YOU like to work half as hard and produce twice as much? I’m thinking this falls into the “no brainer” category, which is good, because I qualify for this at times! (Please no response from the peanut gallery!)

This silent auction philosophy doesn’t just help your silent auction bottom line either! In my next blog we’ll talk about pledging and how the less is more silent auction helps your pledging. “Clark, it’s the gift that keeps on giving the whole year”…but, this is way better than the jelly of the month club! Happy Bidding!
-Joey

Spring Fever!

Jack Granger in full flight!

Jack Granger in full flight!

Well folks, Birmingham’s Gala Season has come and gone!  We are still catching our breath.  Granger Thagard Auctioneers has been blessed this year to have worked with so many wonderful groups and play an integral role in well executed and successful events.  Some new trends are moving in for 2013 and some are still tried and true.  One thing is certain…the events that consider all of the components of their night, that have a TEAM concept, rather than a bunch of individual parts, are enjoying seamless, fun and financially successful events.decor 

I’d love to tell you that Granger Thagard Auctioneers are SO good that we can show up the night of your event, work our magic, and leave your guests mesmerized and your event with tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.  But, alas, we are not magicians…and will leave the prestidigitation to David Copperfield.  We are, however, very knowledgeable about how to make your event successful. 
Sooo, what you want to know is what’s still working and what is something new, right?  Well, what still holds true, much like the last 12-18 months, is having trips and great dining packages in your live auction.  People are spending more these days and I’d tell you that leaning a little heavier on the trips, both in the US and abroad, is a good idea.  Some of you are still hell bent on having personal property items (artwork, jewelry, fur coat) in your live auction (against my professional suggestion) and have to hear the dreaded “I told ya so” afterward.  I promise I don’t like having to use that line.  Your live auction is not a time to “Let’s see how it does”.  Those slots, let’s call them live auction real estate, are far too valuable.  We did an event for The Service Guild with approximately 500 in attendance. The live auction had 10 items (all travel and dining…Yippee) and each item was simple and with few components.  What happened was highly competitive bidding, an auction that did not drag on and on and a whole lot of fun!

Happy winners at the Heart Ball

Happy winners at the Heart Ball

  Fun + $$ = Success.  Sounds simple right?  In a way it is…though, the ladies behind this event’s success will show you a binder with 6 months worth of notes.  If you do the work leading up to the night of, you will enjoy the benefits of your labor.  So, what’s a new trend?  It has to do with your Silent Auction and for that, you will have to tune in to our next blog.  Hint:  it will be titled “Less is More”