Organizing successful auction experiences is definitely a challenge. Not only are you raising money for a cause that you are passionate about, but you also want to ensure that you are creating an experience that shoppers can enjoy. In other words, there are a lot of different considerations that could inspire you to make sure that the event runs smoothly.
From choosing the right space to knowing how many items to offer, from ensuring that the pieces look attractive to engaging with your guests throughout the event, there is a lot that you need to take care of. To help you organize the best fashion auction possible, keep reading to learn the essential tips for hosting a fashion auction event.
1. Ensure you have enough (and not too much) space.
First and foremost, if you are going to be organizing a fashion auction, you want to make sure that you are renting a place with just enough space so that people can comfortably view your items. The last thing you want is for the area to feel too crowded, or to have so many people around that no one can properly see the items on display.
On the other hand, you also don’t want to have too much space to the point that the room feels empty. Therefore, you want to visit several fashion auction sites and think long and hard before you decide on which one will host this event.
Space is also essential when you are setting up the items because you don’t want to have cluttered displays of fashion items. This is a surefire way of overwhelming bidders and making them less likely to get involved with the auction. Generally, you want to aim for 6-12 inches between each piece to ensure that they all get the attention that they deserve. This will help to encourage bidding and boost your fundraising efforts, which is the overall goal!
2. Plan out items.
When you are in the beginning phases of organizing your fashion auction, you want to make sure you are focusing enough time on planning out the logistics thoroughly. After all, you are going to spend plenty of time making sure the venue is decorated and that there are valuable fashion items, so don’t forget to spend just as much time on auction logistics. As the organizer of this auction, it is your responsibility to ensure that it is as easy as possible for attendees to submit their bids and donate to your cause.
One of the biggest mistakes first-time auction organizers make is that they have too many items – yes, there can be an excess of choices! Too many options are going to overwhelm guests and make it hard for them to make a decision.
Therefore, you want to aim to have approximately one item for every eight guests. If you have more items than this, opt to bundle them together with other related items. These bundles can make fantastic grand prizes. Speak with your committee about how they are going to collect items from your sponsors and donors and how much they think is enough.
You certainly want to have a cut-off date for item donations; otherwise, you may find yourself having to update your list with hundreds of new listings just before the event starts. Last-minute additions and subtractions to your auction items list are some of the most common hiccups that occur for these kinds of events. Similarly, you also want to ensure you have a system in place for adequately tracking all silent auction items from day one.
3. Make sure you attractively display auction items.
No matter how fantastic your auction items are, if you aren’t attractively displaying them, then it is going to be hard to get individuals to start bidding competitively. Therefore, the presentation of items needs to be a major focus. This will have a significant impact on how much people offer and how much you are able to raise overall.
One of the most important aspects of displaying the items is providing all the necessary information upfront so that bidders know exactly what they are (potentially) buying. In addition to the item title (which should be big and bold), you also want to list the item information; here, you can get creative to present the item in an irresistible manner.
Similarly, because you are creating an experience for shoppers, you want to think outside the box when it comes to presentation. If you have gift certificates, make sure to use photos or props to entice donors. Otherwise, if it is just the gift certificate by itself, then it is likely that bidders will walk right past. They aren’t as likely to do that if they see a large photo of someone enjoying that (or a similar) fashion item.
4. Engage with your guests throughout the event.
Throughout the event, you want to ensure you are engaging with your guests as much as possible. Your ability to connect with them will dramatically impact how much money the event can raise. It will also help you to increase your potential reach for the next event you host!
Make sure you have people who are guiding attendees through the space and who are able to answer any questions at all times.
Another option is to utilize a mobile bidding system that permits you to share your fashion auction experience with anyone who has access to the internet. This can significantly boost your potential bidders because you can reach those who are unable to attend the event in person or those who live too far away to attend. By having a mobile bidding system, potential bidders from around the world can look at your online fundraising page, browse through your items, and bid on those that they like. This is a fantastic way to increase your donor pool and funds raised.
Have you ever hosted a fashion auction? Have you ever attended one? What do you think makes or breaks this kind of event? Let us know your thoughts, comments, and any relevant experiences in the comments below!