How to put on a successful charity auction

A successful charity auction will not only generate funds for a cause close to your heart but will also be a fun and memorable occasion.

A good place to start is to get a committee together. This group of people should ideally be well connected as they will be expected to help source the donated lots and provide the bidders for the major lots.

The most popular form of charity auction takes place in conjunction with a dinner. There is a greater incentive to attend a dinner than a simple reception and guests have more time to relax before the auction, making them more likely to buy. It is also easier to charge more for tickets to a dinner and this can help cover the costs of the event.

The guest list is crucial to the success of the auction; you may have incredible lots, but if you don't have the right buyers, they won't sell at anywhere near the value. While celebrity involvement is good public relations, they often don't participate in the auction itself. Therefore, your guest list should include high net worth individuals, particularly those with an interest in your charity's cause.

A prestigious venue will instantly raise the interest and profile of your event. It helps to hold the event in a single room, with a stage or platform that allows Edward Rising to have good visibility. It is important at the start of the auction, to bring the house lights up to make bid spotting as easy as possible, and also ensure that no source of bright light is aimed directly towards the auctioneer. For large events it is essential to have a good sound system. The microphone should be cordless as Edward tends to be run around the stage while he encourages your guests to participate. It is enormously helpful for each item to be visually displayed as it is offered.

It is usually best to have between six and fifteen lots in the auction as this will take approximately half an hour. If you have many more lots you should consider putting these extra lots in a silent auction. It is very helpful for guests to have the lots listed in a printed programme which can also incorporate the menu and timing of the evening, sponsorship advertisements, and any other information. Ideally, each lot would be illustrated and have a brief description. It is best not to have estimates printed and never publish reserve prices. At a large charity auction the order of the lots in the live auction is incredibly important. Edward will be able to advise you on this before your programme goes to print.