Live Auction

A  Live Auction with a Fund a Cause (Cash Call) portion should be about 25 minutes

Always hold the live auction before the fashion show. This ensures that the guests remain seated and builds momentum. The auctioneer should dedicate no more than two to three minutes to describing each lot to sustain guests’ attention.

Music in the background gets louder between the lots and revs up the crowd.

Create a power point presentation or slide show of photos that corresponds to each lot so guests can “see” what they are bidding on (for example, photos of a tasting at a winery). Ensure the order of the photos is in sync with the order of lots in the bidding program.

Hearing a name pronounced incorrectly is always painful, especially when it’s preventable. Rehearse the pronunciation of all names in all of the lots in case the donors are present at the event.

Have volunteers assigned as “spotters” who “communicate” with the auctioneer. This helps everyone with the process.

The value of a lot will raise significantly when the auctioneer reminds the guests that the wine country experiences are “once in a lifetime opportunities that are not open to the general public” and “cannot be duplicated.” This language is essential in describing hospitality lots.

Start the auction with your least important warm-up lot.

Begin the bidding at 50-60 percent of the lot’s value. Be sure to list the lot value on your display and programs.

Place your most important lot about two-thirds of the way through or at the end. People will be waiting for it.

It's very important to have some hoopla for the winning bid once the gavel has come down. Plan for some music between lots, at least 5-10 seconds, and encourage raucous applause to keep the crowd energized. Review the Ideal Auction video on the Auction Committee Landing Page to get the idea.

Click here for Auction Donation Template 1, and click here for Auction Donation Template 2. 


Fund a Cause (Cash Call)

Holding a "cash call," what we call a Fund a Cause, during the Live Auction can raise $30,000. If you don’t do this in the right way it can cost you 10K. Tie it to specific servicesor results for your charity: a family meal, daycare program, clothing for foster kids, send a child to camp, school supplies, etc.

Remind guests that this is an opportunity to give without getting back. Tie the "Fund a Cause" to concrete outcomes, for example, $10K gets x number of kids out of foster care, saving the State x number of dollars.

Strategy for the Fund a Cause:

Position the Fund a Cause in the middle of the Live Auction, before the most important lot. Halfway to two-thirds through the auction is about right. They need to be warmed up but not pooped out.

A “Heartfelt Story” immediately precedes the Fund a Cause. Show an emotional video (no more than two minutes) about your charity before you ask for the cash for the most impact. A live person can be long-winded, boring or not good at triggering people’s emotions. The whole Fund a Cause lead-in should be no longer than three minutes.

Before the event, ensure there’s one good bidder (a “sure thing”) in the audience—someone you know plans to give money. Speak with this person before the event and ask her or him to be the first to “fund a wish” if others aren’t bidding. This will entice others to give.

Start the bidding high, at $5,000 or so, and go down in increments (up to you) but perhaps $2,500, $1,000, $500, $100. Be sure to have feel good background music playing during the bidding. We like "Brand New Day," by Sting or "O-o-h Child," by the Five Stair Steps. Put your choice on a loop since the Cash Call will run longer than one song.

Silent Auction

Stage your silent auction in a high traffic central area near the shopping and wine tasting.

Dedicate one to two feet on a display table to present the more complex packages. In our experience, the bids are higher if the lots are not all crammed together.

Each silent auction lot display should be a minimum of 20 inches wide.

Click here for Auction Donation Template 1, and click here for Auction Donation Template 2. 





Consider fun props to acknowledge lot winners. In Marin they gave the “Make Me Your Shoemmelier” lot winners cute little plastic firemen hats which they wore for the rest of the event (the lot was dinner at a firehouse with firemen Shoe Guys.)