Smoothing out Auction Night Snags

06 Apr 2013 By Roger Devine

In our last blog we talked about the most important pieces of information to have with you on Auction night. In today’s post, we’re adding to that list some equally important details which, in the heat of the moment, could make or break your results.

Here you go – a handy cheat sheet you’ll want to have with you during set-up:

  • Have these telephone and account number on hand at all times.
    • Contact information for the person who set up the internet access, in case the router crashes and needs to be restarted. You’ll also need all of the passwords to get back on the network, and keys to the room where the router is located.
    • Contact information for the person who set up your merchant and gateway accounts, as well as the account numbers, logins and passwords.
    • Contact information for the support team! We’ll send you the direct number for the support tech assigned to your event a few days before it happens… so be sure to print it out and have it with you.
  • Set up a “Help” station, manned by a highly competent team member. In addition to you 3-5 check-in/check-out stations manned by team members, you’ll also want a troubleshooting table manned by someone who is authorized to make decisions about guest payments, returns, and disputed bids… and whom knows the software well. When a situation arises that threatens to bog down the check-in or check-out line, refer the guest to the troubleshooting station. This way, guests don’t have to wait in long lines and volunteers aren’t stuck trying to help each other instead of helping guests.

  • Discourage early check-out. This is the most common (and preventable) cause of check-out delays due to extra time spent tracking down bids and prizes. To avoid early check-out chaos and confusion, clearly post signs stating “CHECK OUT WILL BEGIN AT XX:00” If a guest insists on early check-out, ask if they have vaulted a credit card at check-in; if so, they can leave and you an email their receipt later. If not, you can quickly get their credit card info on the check-in screen. Both guests and volunteers will appreciate that the lines continue moving while every guest gets the attention they deserve.

  • Take good care of your volunteers! On event night, your amazing team of volunteers will be working hard and dealing with a lot of different people and scenarios. It’s important to have plenty of support at each stage of the evening. Here are some tips for maximizing volunteer productivity while minimizing event night glitches:
    • When one group of volunteers are entering data on sales, make sure there is another volunteer available to inquiries from guest, so they can concentrate on their task.
    • Always have someone on hand who has the authority to decide about returns, lost tickets, etc.
    • If possible, recruit enough volunteers so that everybody gets a break – and perhaps a chance to do a little bidding.
    • Consider a volunteer swap arrangement. Contact us to ask if we can connect you with another school or organization in your area that would be willing to swap volunteer squads for an evening. Your team would work their event and their team would work yours. This is a great way for your volunteers to be able to enjoy the fruits of their own labor by participating on event night.
    • Feed them! Some hot food is a really nice perk for busy volunteers… and glass of wine can do wonders as well.
  • Know where your ICE documents are located at all times. ICE stands for in Case of Emergency. Our support team will point these out to you a few days before your event; they include:
    • Guest List with space to record sales
    • Auction Item List with space to record buyer or track inventory
  • Have these supplies on hand on event night:
    • An extra ream of paper for the printers
    • Sheets of 8.5 x 11” card stock paper, for emergency bid paddles
    • At least 1 Sharpie pen
    • Pens and staplers and scissors – a handful of each
    • CELL PHONE CHARGER (we speak from experience…)

With you all the way,

Delila and the team