Operating live and silent auctions to raise funds is a well-established activity among associations:
- Meeting Planners International successfully raised at least $23,000 with an on-line Auction this past spring that offered glamorous trips to Montreal, Mexico, and St. Johns, among others, donated by the destinations.
- UPS is currently running an auction to benefit United Way that is offering hard-to-get tickets for concerts, sports collectibles, and even a day with NASCAR Driver David Ragan, and a chance to be part of a NASCAR pit crew for a day.
- MSI, an association management company, recently ran a silent auction to benefit the American Heart Association, raising more than $14,000 in an evening.
It’s a fun way to encourage contributions and reward donors, and on any given day dozens of events are happening — live and online.
For its upcoming Annual Meeting, August 6-9, in St. Louis, Missouri, the American Society of Association Executives has taken the idea of a silent auction and elevated the idea to increase its punch. New this year, bidding on the prizes in the silent auction will take place on the floor of the expo hall, in the booths of contributing exhibitors. This innovative move brings the auction into the mainstream of the meeting, rather than off in a long lonely hall, and builds traffic for the expo at the same time.
The “prizes” themselves are a little different too. Prize sponsors have created “packaged” experiences that go above and beyond the usual “free hotel nights” auction items.
Among the many innovative packages being offered are:
- Round-trip air to Atlanta, and accommodations for 2 for three nights plus golf at Eastlake Golf Club with the President/CEO of the sponsor – the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Association; a behind the scenes tour of the Aquarium and a chance to dive with whale sharks; and tours of CNN and Coca-Cola.
- Two platinum seats to see the NBA 2011 Champion Dallas Mavericks (NBA) game at the American Airlines Center in Victory Park—including garage parking pass and $50 for munchies, and two hotel nights and two airline tickets to get you there, all courtesy of the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau.
- A board meeting for 15 board members, including accommodations, lots of meals and white water rafting or through a “ropes” course.
I’ll be bidding – and also covering the event with daily reports from the floor of the show and the classrooms, sharing key ideas that emerge that can benefit all associations. If you are there, and have a story to share, let me know. If you can’t make it, tune in to this column to share in the experience.