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The Top 5 Worst Ways to Introduce an Auction

The way in which a fundraising auction is introduced tells the crowd a lot about what is to come. Successful events carefully map out the transition to the auction, ensuring that we’re building momentum to an important moment for the evening and the organization.

Occasionally, however, instead of setting the stage for success the person who introduces the auction (and auctioneer) sends a completely different message. Here, then, are the top 5 least successful ways to introduce a fundraising auction (all of which we’ve experienced at real galas):

  1. “I hate to interrupt your dinner, but it’s time to do the auction.”
  2. “I know everyone is having a good time, but…”
  3. “Boy, has anyone else’s 401k/portfolio taken as brutal a hit as mine did this last week? Seriously. I’m glad to see so many people given how bad the economy is…”
  4. “There’s going to be some dancing later, we’ve got a great band, so just sit through this and we’ll get to the fun part.”
  5. “I know we all hate auctions, but ours is short.”

That last one is, if you can believe it, verbatim from an event Ed did last fall - I was there, and saw the whole thing. And while a bad introduction for the auction and auctioneer isn’t the end of the world, it certainly didn’t set the right tone from the onset.

A bad introduction is also a sign of a lack of clear messaging across the entire event. If just one of your representatives onstage isn't tuned-in to your message, how off is the rest of your event? The lesson isn't simply to write a good introduction for your auction, the lesson is to do a message audit for your entire event, and make sure everyone is focused on your ultimate goal.