Audio is a must-have at the gala auction; visuals are a nice to have
By: Sherry Truhlar of RedAppleAuctions
Here's my opinion:
- A good auction sound system is a must-have for your live auction.
- A large screen projecting visuals of the live auction items as the auctioneer sells them is a nice-to-have.
Audio is critical for gala auction. Guests won't bid if they can't understand what numbers are being said!
In contrast, visuals projected onto a large screen will support the sale, but it's not often a make-or-break deal. When push comes to shove, I can get that item sold without a visual.
Sure, it's more compelling to have a slick graphic or photo tempting guests to bid. But from a financial perspective, how much more compelling?
I don't know the answer. It might increase bids by 1%, 10%, or ... who knows.
That said, there are some groups which need to think twice before they eliminate using a large screen and projector. By virtue of the event's design, these events must rely on the screens more heavily.
These include gala auctions which ...
- didn't advertise the live auction items prior to or at the gala.
- did display the live items at the event, but the crowd is so large (or the schedule is so frenetic) that not everyone will have a chance to see the items up close.
- have unfamiliar, but nice, items. For instance, most people can visualize an apartment in Paris because of those Americans who have traveled overseas, Paris is a popular destination. But if your auction includes the sale of a week stay in a Budapest apartment, you might have some hesitant bidders! Alleviate their concerns about an unfamiliar location by showing them a photo of the condo's living room and that gorgeous view straight out the balcony doors.
- are using an auctioneer who is good at calling bids, but isn't strong at describing items.
Now to be clear, I’m not writing that I don't like visuals. I love visuals! Many of us prefer to look at a graphic or photo rather than read text. Plus the screens can be used in other ways, such as giving sponsors recognition, reminding your guests of event procedures (e.g. “Check-out opens at 7:30 PM”), and offering general announcements (e.g. “Congratulations to our Longest Drive winner, John Smith.”).
But when your auction budget absolutely, positively dictates that you get audio OR visuals, opt for the former. Audio is a must-have.
Fundraising auctioneer Sherry Truhlar, CMP, BAS, CAI is featured in national publications for her trend-setting work with auction fundraisers. She teaches auction chairs easy ways to improve an auction’s financial return. Start improving your auction today by getting her FREE Auction Item Guide TM. The Guide lists the 100 top-selling items sold for over value in charity auctions. Claim your FREE copy at http://www.RedAppleAuctions.com.