The Top 9 Mistakes That Can Ruin a Live Charity Auction

Live Charity Auction

Written by Tim Grable

March 9, 2017

Charity event ideas can come easily. Charity events can be messed up just as easily. How? With some beginner blunders that we have seen happen more often than they should.

You don’t want your live auction to be a snooze fest. Keeping your guests entertained should be your top priority.

Avoid the following nine mistakes, and you’ll have no problems:

Top Mistakes That Can Ruin a Live Charity Auction

1. Holding the Live Charity Auction at the End

Just think of the following. You go to a gala, have a grand time. The food is good, the champagne is cold, the entertainment is top notch. At some point, you start yawning. It’s getting late. You should be heading home.

But wait, the people who organized the gala want to hold the live auction. You and your friends need to go, however. The fundraiser organizer just lost a few bidders.

That is one of the worst charity event ideas. Not only has the gala organizer spent money to invite these people, but the auction didn’t have enough participants.

Make sure to keep the Live Charity Auction early in the evening. Guests are less likely to leave before the entertainment is over – even less when there are drinks involved!  You can also check interesting art charities at

2. Forgetting That People Give to People, Not Charities

Your charity is based on an idea – one that other people, especially philanthropists, might believe in. But people don’t donate to ideas; they give to those who hold them.

As such, you should choose your guests on their like-mindedness, and their ability to bid. People who share your ideas are more likely to donate to your cause.

You also have the possibility of creating fruitful relationships with your donors. You might not even have to approach anybody yourself. Those who truly believe in your cause will look for you.

3. Keeping Your Audience in the Dark

When considering your charity event ideas, don’t keep your audience in the dark. We mean that literally.

Unless your entertainment requires the room to be dark, such as Joe Castillo’s sand art, keep everything bright.

That is especially true when you’re holding the live charity auction. If you don’t see who’s bidding, you have a problem. The auctioneer doesn’t need to be in the spotlight, the audience does.

Use bright lights around the room to stave off drowsiness. If your bidders are dozing off, how will you grab their attention?

dark, sleep, boring, movie

4. Letting Your Audience Doze Off

Speaking of sleep, you should never let your bidders doze off. Rent a professional sound system so everyone can hear the band you’ve hired. The same applies during the live charity auction so that people can hear the auctioneer.

If you do it right, your audience will be much more engaged. Surround sound systems help your public immerse themselves into the event.

That is especially true if you hire a keynote speaker such as Jim “The Rookie” Morris to promote some success stories. People love a touching story to go with a worthy cause. Just make sure they can hear it.

5. Charity Event Ideas Should Be Fun

Honestly, the biggest mistake you could make is not having a good time at your charity. Never disregard the entertainment has on bidders – no matter how sad the cause you’re fighting for is.

After all, people are going to be spending a lot of money at your event. You might as well offer them something good in return.

What Not to Do at a Charity Art Auction Event

A charity art auction event is a great way of helping your cause as well as promoting culture. There are some things that you have to watch out for, though. A few mistakes are enough to hurt the fundraiser severely.

While organizing your event, make sure you avoid these pitfalls:

6. Alienating Your Audience

Not every charity art auction event is full of art connoisseurs. By using art jargon that is too complicated, you may lose the interest of regular guests.

As a rule of thumb, those who know more about art will be able to understand you correctly regardless. Try to explain the items in a way that the people that aren’t as art-savvy understand too.  Complicated details will only take away from the experience and put off possible buyers. Keep the descriptions short and clear.

7. Not Choosing an Experienced Auctioneer

Being an auctioneer is not easy. Showcasing art is even harder. Take your time when picking the auctioneer at your charity art auction event. Choosing someone who is not prepared can have dire ramifications.

Your audience will want to know about the piece and the artist. If described poorly, you can expect it to sell for less or not at all. Moreover, the auctioneer also needs to keep people excited throughout the event.

Pick someone with experience and give them time to examine every item. The more prepared the person is, the better the charity art auction event will be.

8. Spending Too Much Time on Unimportant Things

The gala needs to keep up the pace to go well. Talking too much about your organization will bore guests. Explain the important things but don’t lose too much time.

Your two main talking points should be the items and the cause you represent. You can, of course, talk about anything you deem necessary but keep it brief.

Give some details about the art and artists. It is necessary to get the audience interested. The amount of money you will raise will depend on the presentation just as much as on the art itself.

Explain why you are raising money and how people can help. It offers two main benefits. Firstly, it can evoke empathy in the guests, getting them to donate more. Secondly, it ensures that they will give in the future as well, not just a one-time thing.

9. Choosing Inappropriate Entertainment

Not just any entertainer works well in a charity event setting. The fact that it is an art auction narrows it down even more. Make sure the person you get can do the event justice.

A band or comedian would not work well in this situation. Instead, look for a fellow artist. Heidi Schwartz is an excellent example. Her live paintings capture not only the image of the event but the hopes and dreams it represents.

With her talent, you can inspire your guests just as she is inspired by what she paints. Just listen to what she has to say to get a feel of the wonder she can bring to the event.

She can make the experience truly unique for the audience. The painting she creates, whether you auction it or not, will keep the memory of the event alive.

Who Should Represent Your Charity Art Auction Event?

There are many entertainers out there who can differentiate your auction from any other. You only need to choose which one fits the best. Art can take many shapes, and you have plenty of options.

Having trouble considering the entertainment at your auction?  We want your event to be a resounding success so we will help you find the best entertainer. Let’s work together and create something unique.

Give us a call now and we’ll put you in touch with someone suitable for your cause.


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