Plan A Successful Auction minus the Stress!
Many couples have something in common- some like to go hiking together, others play on a sports team together, and others take couples cooking classes. My fiancé, Ben, and I pride ourselves on being efficient. I enjoy keeping organized and being ahead of schedule. I love writing checklists and especially love the feeling of accomplishment when I cross something off. Ben hates slow walkers and likes to get from point A to B in the shortest amount of time possible. In fact, when we take the T together he always gets in the car that will drop us off as close to the exit as possible.
Put these qualities together and it results in trips to the supermarket that are incredibly strategic. There’s no wandering around aimlessly – we walk in there with a plan of attack to ensure that we get all of the items we need, in the least amount of steps possible, and can leave in the shortest amount of time.
So, when we got engaged earlier this year and started planning our wedding, we naturally felt compelled to continue on this path of efficiency and organization. We set a date for over a year out, just to have enough time to get as much done ahead of schedule without a lot of stress. Venue: booked! Dress: ordered! Photographer: deposit made! Cake Topper: in a box in the living room! You see? This gal isn’t going to become a stressed out, fire-breathing Bridezilla! (Nor is Ben becoming a Groomzilla.)
We’ve discussed this before, but planning a wedding is a lot like planning an auction. There’s a lot of preparation involved, people you’re trying to please, and things that need to get done to ensure success. One of the points I try to make with my clients is that if you give yourself plenty of time to prepare your auction doesn’t have to be stressful and anxiety-inducing. There are plenty of things to do well in advance:
- Prepare your lists of potential donors to solicit for item donations: That way they’re ready for you and your team to contact as soon as you’re ready for your item acquisition campaign to start (we recommend at least 8-10 weeks out).
- Prepare your solicitation letter to donors: Again, so it’s ready when you’re ready to start the acquisition campaign.
- Upload your email lists: Then they’re ready when you’re ready to start promoting (plan on promoting at least a few weeks before the auction opens)
- Create a Coming Soon page: Even if it’s not activated yet, you can start entering information about your organization, set your auction colors, and upload your banner.
I cringe every time someone tells me to “just wait” until it’s a month before my wedding because I will definitely be stressed then. I know that there are going to be several things that can’t be done until a few weeks before the wedding or even the day of. As much as I would love to buy my cake now, I know I won’t be able to do that until its a little closer to the "big day". I also can’t get my hair and makeup done until the day of.
Likewise, there are some things that will either happen last minute or you won’t be able to address until your auction opens. Even though you set a deadline to have items sent to you two weeks before your auction opens, you may get some last minute donations and you’ll have to add those items to your catalog the day the auction opens. Perhaps one of your items’ descriptions had some inaccurate information and now you need to correct the item, contact bidders, and potentially remove bids.
The way I see it, if Ben and I take care of as much as possible now, the days approaching the wedding and “big day” itself will be much easier to manage. If something springs up at the last minute, we’ll be able to address it in stride. The same thing applies to your auction: If you can give yourself some time to prepare, plan and get organized, you’ll be in a better position to handle those last minute issues and final details.
As my "wedding day" approaches and your "auction day" approaches, I will be looking forward to comparing notes with many of you to see how our planning paid off!