LIGHT IT RIGHT!
Don’t lose thousands of dollars with a dim auction venue!
Proper Benefit Auction Lighting Ignites Bidding! Specialized benefit auction lighting is critical to maximize your fundraising auction success. A huge error that many auction committees make is low dinner style lighting during the live auction – a costly mistake that is easily remedied.
Make sure you have strong lighting at the Silent Auction and Live Auction displays. In many cases, you’ll need to bring in extra lighting for your silent and live auction displays. Ensure that your guests can read the silent auction items and bid forms. Many of your guests wear reading glasses and do need that extra illumination. (Tip: have volunteers with some extra reading glasses on hand for guests who forgot theirs.)
Light the real stars of the auction – your treasured auction guests. Turn up the house lights full during the live auction! Dim dinner-style lighting will lose thousands of dollars and put supporters to sleep – that means an inattentive crowd and sluggish bidding and serious loss of your auction revenue.
Never spotlight your auctioneer, period! It is impossible to see those waving bid cards and your generous bidders. (Think of what happens when someone shines a bright flash light in your eyes, you can’t see anything – aka we can’t see your bidders.)
I remember a recent auction venue so dark (mistake: the room only had mini white lights and votive candles) that I could not even see the numbers on the bid cards, it cost that nonprofit thousands of dollars in lost bidding!
What about lighting for the stage? If you have performers, you will want to customize the stage lighting per their contract. Be certain that you communicate all the various lighting levels to the lighting company and lighting technician prior to your event. They will need to know that you will need extra light on your audience during the live auction. For a fundraising auction, house lights up, and NO spotlights on the auctioneer. You can wash the stage with light with down lights or lights from the side. Keep any follow spotlights out of the auctioneer’s eyes. Important! Use a dimmer switch so that lights can be turned full for live auction and adjusted for other phases of the evening.
Be sure to enlighten your lighting and venue managers because these auction requirements are exactly opposite from the lighting for entertainers.
Always rehearse all of the lighting changes when you conduct sound check. Ask your sound tech, speakers and your auctioneer to come early for a run-through of lighting and lighting transitions as well as a sound check.
Tips for auction tent lighting. Insist on these special lighting techniques when your benefit auction is in a tent. It’s imperative to have lighting levels that guests can read the silent auction bid forms and descriptions and their auction catalogs. Remember that many guests need reading glasses and can not see well in low light. Place 3-4 flood lights on each tent poles. Direct the lights up to the tent to create great ambient light.
Remember, in advance of your benefit auction, communicate in writing and in person with your event planner, lighting tech and auction venue manager about these special charity auction lighting tips so they can be part of your successful fundraising team.