Author Topic: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?  (Read 3372 times)

Dicey

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Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« on: January 06, 2017, 04:39:53 PM »
Hi Mustachian Peeps,
I got suckered into chairing volunteered to head the Library Foundation's Annual Gala's Silent Auction Committee. This is a hoot of an affair because you get to dress up and have a sit-down dinner inside the library with a local author at each table. Yes, people putting away their electronic gizmos and sitting down to break bread with fellow library lovers, eating good food in a forbidden place for a wonderful cause is actually kind of a blast. This year the theme is "Out of This World" referencing all things in the universe, which dovetails nicely onto our One City, One Book Theme, which featured "The Martian", which was by a Bay Area author.

We are looking for fresh new ideas. We all know the way to get them is to stealborrow somebody else's great ideas. We've had some success with 2 airlines and a couple of hotels, but we're looking for trip ideas especially. Are there tourism boards that promote specific cities/events that you know of? I don't want to ask a ton of questions, because I'm really open to anything. We don't have a ton of space for the auction, so a live auctioneer is not an option, alas. Our goal is to raise 35K, with about 30-40 items/events. Thanks!

If anyone is willing to share a little but not a lot, please feel free to PM me. My goal is to come up with real things that I can get behind as a mustachian, not a bunch of Spa/Mani/Pedi/Handbag/Scarf/Jewelry crap that I can't feel good about people actually wasting  spending money on, if that makes sense. But a VIP trip to the Kennedy Space Center or JPL? Yeah, that's what I'm talking about.

swick

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2017, 04:45:16 PM »
Don't know if your authors would be into it, but could you action of "A Dinner or evening with..."  or an "Inside the author's life" tour/day

Authors could invite people into their homes for a meal, or take winners on a tour of their favorite places to write or show them an author's view of the settings in their books (if they are local or available for visit) things like that?

marty998

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2017, 08:22:18 PM »
Oh... putting down the electronic gizmos.... shame, my intended contribution to this thread isn't what you're after then...

I went to a charity ball last year. The auction of the items was done over an app/website (name escapes me). All it required was a code to identify your event and everyone was able to sign in via email and bid on the items and it would send you a text when you've been outbid and cheekily give you a link back to the item so you can bid again.

There was enough eating, drinking, dancing and music from a live band to keep people otherwise occupied.

Sporting memorabilia was very popular, along with art and paintings.

Sandia

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2017, 09:34:24 PM »
This really caught my imagination. Below is a rather bizarre brainstorming list:

NASA images are public domain: https://images.nasa.gov/#/
Can you get some gorgeous space photos printed inexpensively? A large print (maybe matted?) or hell even a coffee cup of a particularly nice galaxy might be a good low-cost auction item. It's still 'stuff' but it's beautiful, maybe useful stuff.

If you're really looking to combine the space and trip ideas, what about a trip to the Very Large Array?: http://www.vla.nrao.edu/
(Flights between San Francisco and Albuquerque can be super cheap, and maybe there's a keen tourism board in NM.)

Or SPACE CAMP, which I can attest is all kinds of awesome: http://www.spacecamp.com/

Here's a particularly wacky idea: could you find a caricature artist to draw people as aliens for $10? A fun activity before dinner whilst people are mingling, the artist can hand out business cards but the proceeds go to the library.

How about a VIP experience at a space museum in CA: https://www.nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/about/museums.html

Can you find some meteorite bits to auction off? (This is where my money would be going, but I realise not everyone is a rock nerd like me.)

A trip to Meteorite Crater in Arizona: http://meteorcrater.com/

Can you find any classic Sci Fi memorabilia or signed books or similar to combine the space theme with the library? (or at least decorate the library with quotes and book covers?) Ray Bradbury, Issac Assimov, Ursula K LeGuin, etc.

Book collections of great sci fi authors or a collection of films on the theme (like a diy film festival for sci fi).

Dr. Who/Star Wars stuff?


I hope you have fun with this and let us know how it goes!

lhamo

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #4 on: January 06, 2017, 11:01:39 PM »
Would your library's patrons/supporters be familiar with Nancy Pearl?  She started the One City One Book program in 1998 when she worked at the Seattle Public Library (the book was Russell Banks' The Sweet Hereafter - I'm still haunted by it....). She is a big local celebrity among the bookish crowd, and has gained some national acclaim for her Book Lust series (where she provides reviews of various genres)  A local novelty store even made a (very popular) action figure out of her:  https://mcphee.com/pages/librarian-action-figure

Her personal website at nancypearl.com seems to have gone dormant in 2013, but she still appears regularly on our local NPR station: 

http://www.npr.org/podcasts/381444796/k-u-o-w-s-nancy-pearl-book-reviews

I'm sure she gets lots of requests, and it would probably be a long shot, but maybe you could get her to agree to meet with the winner of an auction as part of a Seattle-focused book tour.   Maybe arrange for the person to sit in on a taping of one of her review sessions at the KUOw, followed by coffee or lunch at a book-friendly place (I haven't been to the new Elliot Bay Books since they moved several years ago, but if they still have a cafe that would be the obvious choice).

Maybe someone could donate Alaska miles to cover the plane ticket?  And a hotel voucher (something people also have hanging around some times)

Hopefully some of the other readerly Seattle folk will see this and suggest other ideas.   The greater Seattle area has one of the highest library use rates in the country -- partly because both Seattle Public LIbraries and King County Libraries are both world class systems.  The main Seattle library building downtown is also really interesting architecturally, and most of the KCLS branches are beautiful examples of Northwest architecture.  Anyway, my point is there is lots to love about our libraries -- maybe one of your librarians will win the bid and come up and get some ideas/do some networking!  Or someone else can bid on it and then donate it back to the library....

Nudelkopf

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #5 on: January 06, 2017, 11:35:48 PM »
You know how authors sometimes use real people's names as a character in their next book? I'd totally bid on having a character named after me. I remember ad a kid always wishing that Harry Potter ended up with a secret sister called 'Nudekopf' haha.

Dicey

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #6 on: January 07, 2017, 01:13:53 AM »
You guys are awesome! Keep 'em coming, I can take it! I greedily want all.the.ideas. Where is monster monster, our non profit goddess extraordinaire?

Lhamo, I adore the main Seattle Public Library! Here's a quick tale. I was dating a guy who lived in Seattle, but he spent a lot of time in the Bay Area, so I mostly saw him when he was here. When we were planning my first trip to Seattle, I asked to go to the library. My heart knew he wasn't the one when his next comments were: "Why do you want to go there?", " How do you know about it?" And "I've never been there". In that moment, his true inner troll was revealed. He (obviously) didn't work out, but the library did not disappoint. Some  years later, I took my *husband* there. He loved it, which is part of why I love him so. Hmmm, perhaps the main Seattle Library saved me from marrying the wrong guy. Could it really be??

Okay, funny thing about writers. Unless they are cookbook authors with bitchin' kitchens, they don't generally cotton to the idea of hosting strangers, even library geeks, in their homes. Occasionally, one will agree to an appearance at a dinner hosted at someone else's home, but in general, they seem to be an introverted bunch, lol. Kinda like here.

Blindsquirrel

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2017, 06:40:12 PM »
   This is off the wall but contact any local fishing clubs and see if they will donate a guided fishing trip. I donate guide trips to local charities and they always sell well.

Livingthedream55

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2017, 11:59:37 AM »
We had a silent auction and a volunteer donated some great framed, vintage items that he owned (he had bought them really cheaply at yard sales - things like framed maps, signed sports memorabilia) - so maybe ask your team if they want to declutter anything from their household. Anything mid-century, vintage, funky, fun.

BlueHouse

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2017, 09:53:52 AM »
I live in WDC and there is a yearly fundraiser called Literary Feast, where a number of people volunteer to host (and cook and serve and clean up) a dinner party that has a theme of a particular book, then other mere mortals sign up to go to one of these dinner parties for prices from $100-$500 per plate.  Last year there were 38 dinner parties occurring simultaneously in peoples' homes.  Afterwards, everyone walked over to a meeting place for desert and to discuss how wonderful their dinner party was.  Really great way to meet other like-minded people and have a good time. 

https://www.aliteraryfeast.org/this-years-dinners/

If you could get a few people to commit to hosting a dinner party (for 8-12 people each), then you could auction off seats at the dinners. 

BlueHouse

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2017, 11:32:37 AM »
Have you tried any of the local universities to see if a grad student could lead an astronomy viewing party and supply the high-powered binoculars or a portable telescope? 
You could also see if one of the amateur clubs might provide some resources for a "Star Party" for a small group. 

 http://www.sfaa-astronomy.org/star_parties/

Miss Piggy

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2017, 04:23:50 PM »
I got suckered into chairing volunteered to head the Library Foundation's Annual Gala's Silent Auction Committee.

There's another expression for this: You were voluntold to head the ...

Dicey

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2017, 06:11:06 PM »
I live in WDC and there is a yearly fundraiser called Literary Feast, where a number of people volunteer to host (and cook and serve and clean up) a dinner party that has a theme of a particular book, then other mere mortals sign up to go to one of these dinner parties for prices from $100-$500 per plate.  Last year there were 38 dinner parties occurring simultaneously in peoples' homes.  Afterwards, everyone walked over to a meeting place for desert and to discuss how wonderful their dinner party was.  Really great way to meet other like-minded people and have a good time. 

https://www.aliteraryfeast.org/this-years-dinners/

If you could get a few people to commit to hosting a dinner party (for 8-12 people each), then you could auction off seats at the dinners.
Yes! This is the kind of thing I'm looking for. Low overhead and another opportunity to interact with a community of somewhat like-minded souls. Off to follow your link.

BTW, lots of other good ideas here too. Please keep the suggestions (bonus points for links) coming.

Dicey

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2017, 09:45:30 PM »
Hi All,
Just found this gem and thought I'd share it with all you fine PNW folks. I noticed that Stash Teas has a Community Giving Program. If you're a non-profit and fit their profile, you might want to check out the link below. I know Whole Foods has a similar program. When I posted this request, I was hoping to find more of this kind of thing, so I'm passing it on.

https://www.stashtea.com/pages/about-us

Just a brief update: We are starting to gather some steam and cool auction items are coming in, including Camp Galileo, Disneyland and Southwest Airlines. Little by little...

Now, if only I could get my hands on a nice pair of...Hamilton tickets. Ideas welcome.
Kind regards,
Diane C

lhamo

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2017, 10:08:19 PM »
New party game:   Six Degrees of Lin Manuel Miranda.

GO!

PJ

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2017, 10:35:24 PM »
You know how authors sometimes use real people's names as a character in their next book? I'd totally bid on having a character named after me. I remember ad a kid always wishing that Harry Potter ended up with a secret sister called 'Nudekopf' haha.

This is what I was going to suggest!

Hopefully some of the other readerly Seattle folk will see this and suggest other ideas.   The greater Seattle area has one of the highest library use rates in the country -- partly because both Seattle Public LIbraries and King County Libraries are both world class systems.  The main Seattle library building downtown is also really interesting architecturally, and most of the KCLS branches are beautiful examples of Northwest architecture.  Anyway, my point is there is lots to love about our libraries -- maybe one of your librarians will win the bid and come up and get some ideas/do some networking!  Or someone else can bid on it and then donate it back to the library....

Combining with someone else's photography suggestion, a series of framed photos of local libraries, if they're really that interesting architecturally.  Could be full city landscape photos, or more abstract close-ups of various corners, carvings, etc.

Along the lines of fishing trips, dinner parties, and astronomy nights, don't forget local sailing clubs, model railroad enthusiasts, hot air ballooning, etc.  And pick a themed book to go with each of those "experience" type adventures - maybe a local book store would be willing to donate?

Also, think of stuff for kids.  People will sometimes purchase/bid on extravagant stuff for their kids or grandkids, that they wouldn't buy for themselves.  Local children's entertainers might donate their time to do a free birthday party, for example?  Or a place that does children's classes and birthday parties (rock climbing?  trampolines?  circus school?) might donate a free session.

Dicey

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Re: Hey You Non-Profit Gurus: Got Any Great Silent Auction Ideas?
« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2017, 10:50:27 PM »
New party game:   Six Degrees of Lin Manuel Miranda.

GO!

Actually, I think I have a better shot with "Six Degrees of Carole Shorenstein Hays". She owns the theater. Today, I actually found a friend whose husband used to work for her late husband, but there's no longer a connection. Still, I think it's my best shot. Thanks, lhamo. I'm honored to think that my mind is tracking similarly to yours. <preen, preen>

Oh yeah, at the same event this morning I approached another woman I know who is 1) an accomplished artist 2) lives in a beautiful home that she and her husband designed and built, with a little help from her artist friends, complete with 3) a charming studio 4) sweeping mountain top views, 5) a fabulous garden and 6) lots of parking! (I want to have a sign-up item where people pay to go to an event at some future date. I'm thinking 25 tickets for $100 each.) She said YES!!! She's done them before for other charities, but none that cross over with mine. Woo-hoo!

ETA: Ooh, just thought of scheduling this event for a full moon evening and possibly bringing in an astronomer friend. Hmmm...

Oh and last Friday, I went door-to-door to over thirty restaurants in town, begging for Gift Certificates. I got two on the spot and several more commitments, so things are happening. Dinners out and wine always sell well at our Silent Auctions. It kinda cracks me up that we sell all this un-mustachian stuff to support a very mustachian cause (additional library materials and free programs).
« Last Edit: February 02, 2017, 10:54:27 PM by Diane C »