The News Tribune logo

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Lesson in Auction Fundraising!

I recently attended an auction to benefit Lowell Elementary School in Tacoma that was held and the Tacoma Yacht Club. I attended the auction as an alumna (Go Class of '81!) and because I have dear friends whose children attend the school and love it just as I did. Now look at the picture above--that's little ol' me perusing the many items in the silent auction and working the crowd (and raising my wine glass in celebration). What a wonderful time we had! Terrific items, great food and drink, visits with friends, making new friends, and fun in a festive atmosphere. Great, right?

Here's what better. I've attended many local charity events over the years and this one in particular really gives a blueprint of how to run a successful auction. Let me break it down (the points below are in no particular order).

1. Enthusiasm, hands down. My friend Rachael and her auction team really sold the fun and excitement of this event through word of mouth and written advertising. Upon attending the auction, I watched as EACH auction chairperson happily introduced themselves to auction patrons and warmly welcomed their support with a sense of fun and purpose.

2. Energy and momentum. Again, the auction team was tireless and hardworking throughout the event, but had fun too! The auction was lively yet moved at a nice pace (not too fast, so folks would get overwhelmed, but not too slow, so folks would lose interest).

3. Venue. The Tacoma Yacht Club features panoramic views of Commencement Bay and maritime scenery. Parking was ample and employees of the club were friendly and helpful. Food and drinks were great and food service and delivery was timely and efficient.

4. TELL people to dress casually and they shall come! This auction said hey, wear your favorite jeans and add a little sparkle just for fun. Jeans? Did you hear the collective sigh of relief? The Pacific Northwest is a casual place and to honor that makes people feel comfortable.

5. Procure, procure, procure (and get stuff for everyone). The auction team had a number of items (from art to beauty treatments, to restaurant fare, to sports equipment, to trips and everything in between). There were items to fit every budget, taste, and lifestyle.

6. Give a healthy dose of the auction RECIPIENTS and keep reminding folks why they are there. The children were represented well with artwork, student pictures to mark the tables, and many terrific class projects for family and friends to bid on. Plus as an added bonus, lots of teachers, the principal and other school staff were on hand to celebrate and participate. In fact, the teachers had the rowdiest table in my opinion.

7. A great emcee and auctioneer. That adds fun, interest, and professionalism. Again, this auction hit the mark!

8. A great seating and weather plan! Silent auction items were moved outdoors on the spacious deck area but were nicely covered with an enclosed tent with a view and heat lamps. Plus, having a SECOND bar there was an added bonus! Having items out in this area, freed up space on the interior for comfortable dining and visiting.

Here are some more pics of our evening!

Here is my husband Rick bidding away!

Ah, the dessert auction! This was the most PERFECT red velvet cake I have EVER eaten!

My friend Nina and I feeling happy. Well done Lowell!


JosephMcG said...

Great writing... lots of heart... inspirational moment... thank you for sharing it with us

Kim Thompson said...

You are welcome my friend! I love seeing community helping community. We do it right here in the South Sound, don't we Joseph?

Lorraine Hart said...

I love to see support for our to hear about it in the news...yaaaaay Kim!

Stephanie Frieze said...

Thank you for the great post and sharing your energy and love for the community. The dessert looks yummy!

Kim Thompson said...

Thanks ladies! I love this kind of stuff. It's really the best.

That cake, Stephanie is a red velvet cake from Celebration Cakes at Freighthouse Square in Tacoma. It was literally, the best cake I've ever eaten. I am actually going to "investigate this business and do a write up eventually.

Back to Lowell: This school has an autism program and lots of options for children to get involved in the environment (keeping it green!) and to do charity deeds for local organizations. I think this is amazing and is to be celebrated.

Anonymous said...

Kim, This is magnificent. Thank you for writing a beautiful piece and I am so happy that you and Rick had a great time. We did too!


Kim Thompson said...

Oh you are welcome Rachael. I felt it was important to share this experience on two levels. One, being that I LOVE to highlight good works on this blog and local community events that make a difference. I also appreciate the time, energy and work that went into this auction.