I need a BiG favor

So, I’ve begun (along with a fabulous team) to plan the Dead of Winter costume gala for March of 2011.  We have a million things to do, and a million different ideas about how to make this the best fundraiser/event ever.  I’d like to ask for help though.

Many of you?  Most of you?  have attended multiple fundraisers in your lifetime.  I’d like you to cull through your various experiences to help me  plan this event.

This is a typical silent auction item.  It is cute, thematically-appropriate, and thoughtfully put together.  I’d like to put together baskets that are just as good, if not better (e.g.  more likely to bring in larger donations of cash).  This is where you come in…tell me about amazing baskets you’ve created.  Tell me about the great items you won at the Cystic Fibrosis silent auction.  Remember (with a mixture of nostalgia and embarrassment) the great bucket put together for your own elementary school fundraiser.  Think back to the silliest item that fetched the most cash.   Do all of these things, and please share them with me!

After all of that, think about the elegant chow served at these various affairs.  Was there a shrimp dish that wowed you?  An appetizer that looked good on paper, but was too messy to eat? Is there some fabulous food served in some region of the country that I’ve missed?  Seriously, if you know a great dish–well… dish!  I have a few ideas, so does the team, but we are eager to hear from YOU!

Ideas about food/beverage/auction items/decor, etc– all will be gratefully received.  As an added incentive, I’ll throw in my  2 cents (x 100) for each comment shared.  12 good ideas will add up to a 24.00 donation to EOR,  100 good ideas will add  up to an amazing event AND an awfully big donation to EOR.

Don’t say no right away–you DO have knowledge to share.  Sleep on it, and tell me in the morning–I really want to know!


7 thoughts on “I need a BiG favor

  1. a few tidbits off the top of my head after attending quite a few charity auction events (will think about more to add later):

    1. wine is good. good wine is even better. people bid more – always – when well lubricated, and they’ll want to drink more if it doesn’t take like dreck. If you cheap out on the booze, you are only cheating yourself. 🙂
    2. auction lots comprised of “experiences” (vs. stuff) tend to garner the biggest bids. a dinner for 12 with a private chef… a private tour / tasting at a winery… access to some cool place not normally available to the public or after hours… lunch with a local luminary… that kind of thing. nothing wrong with baskets, and you’ll need those too, but the big money is not there.
    3. finger food is good. heavy sit-down meals tend to put people to sleep (and are more expensive). for silent auctions, it’s good to have food “stations” all around the room – encourages circulation. put the drinks on the opposite side of the room from the food… you want people to walk past the tables as often as possible.
    4. insert little pieces of paper with prize descriptions written on them into balloons, then inflate the balloons. most of these prizes should be small/low value, but a couple should be bigger have folks circulating around with a bunch of balloons. guests can buy a balloon for a set amount (usually something just below the value of the lesser prize), then the balloon will be popped for them, revealing the prize. the sound of those popping balloons can be heard by everyone and make people curious and want to buy a balloon for themselves. kind of fun.
    5. always nice to have a combo of silent auction lots and (for the big-ticket items) a short live auction segment. it is so important to have a good auctioneer! and critical to not drag it out too long… keep it entertaining and engaging. and do it after folks have had a chance to drink a bit. 🙂
    6. get all the lots in and organized beforehand so you can publish an auction catalog. this is really important and often not done (because it’s just hard to be that organized). distribute it to all attendees in advance (and make available online). giving people the chance to “window shop” and get attached to the idea of winning a certain lot really helps participation.
    7. there is a way to hold a web auction in conjunction with the silent auction – not sure how it works, but my alma mater does it every year and people can bid online for about a week before the auction and right up until the night of the event. I can try to find out more about that if you want.
    8. for silent auctions, it’s helpful to have tables organized by theme… art at one table, restaurant gift certificates and food at another, jewelry at another, etc…
    9. if you have some jewelry lots, consider having some of the staff/volunteers “model” them – it’s fun and a great way to whip up interest in the lots.

    OK, that’s all I can think of now.

    HOW FUN! I am so excited to see what you come up with!!

  2. Wow, P’s thoughts are great. I second the finger food motion. Also, the experiences thing is good. For example, for an auction item I’ve also hit up massage therapist friends, or folks with GOOD season tickets to a local sports game.

    I know these aren’t that great, but I thought I’d try to get your juices flowing.

    I love appetizers with bacon, shrimp and or course, bruschetta can’t go wrong.

  3. I would also add that if your Ethiopian adoptive friends are coming, try to get a basket that has a personalized theme with the kids. A basket filled with games or Ethiopia themed books that has a liner with all the kids’ handprints. A big seller at our school auction!


  4. Hello Sister, and dear EOR members. I will dig through my file and see if I can put together some interesting finger foods/canapes etc. I’ll try to be FAR more exciting then carrot and celery sticks with a puddle of ranch (one of my guilty pleasures I’ll have you know). I’ll put together some ideas and give you a call, then e-mail the recipes of the things you want. Cheers and Great Luck!!! — Brett

  5. I like Habesha Child’s ideas, too. A couple of fingerfoods that I would suggest are (a) half baby red potatoes with a fancy chive/creamcheese topping (put on like frosting), (b) crab stuffed mushrooms, (c) caprese bites (mozzerella, tomatoes, basil in balsamic/olive oil on toothpics), and (d) bruschetta. Good luck!

  6. I came up with Vegetarian Caviar (cuke slice, a mint leaf, and the juicy squiggly bit inside the tomato, a touch of sea salt), and an updated version of a bagel with cream cheese and lox. Use bagel chips (or chunks of flat bread) with an herbed goat chevre, and some salmon roe. you could re-use the solid bits of tomato for the Carese salad bites mentioned above, or for a panzanetta salad etc. If you need/want anything else just give me a call whenever you’d like!

  7. Thanks, boy!

    My baby brother takes good care of me.

    Anyone else? Really, I want to make a bigger donation!

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