How to Choose the Best Day For Your Benefit Auction

Whether you’re organizing a live auction, a silent auction, or both for your charity, one of the best types of items to sell at your benefit will be something that can’t be purchased anywhere else. “One of a kind” items are always intriguing to guests.

One of the most popular types of items we sell silent auction display ideas are items having to do with the entertainment industry, such as “behind the scenes” activities for television shows. A behind-the-scenes activity usually refers to the guests watching the producing of a television or radio show. For someone who hasn’t worked in the media industry, these can be exciting to watch.

Here are some ideas on securing sought-after behind the scenes items.

Behind the Scenes auction tip #1: Ask family, friends, and everyone on the auction committee

Even when you think no one has a connection, you might be surprised. An email to your contacts might bring out a potential link. A group I worked with in Washington, D.C. had a former costume designer from New York among them. When we asked her if she had any way of getting some behind-the scenes activities, she immediately thought of friends she could ask. She secured two passes to Saturday Night Live’s dress rehearsal in New York! It was easy for her to get those passes, and she hadn’t even thought of asking her friends until the committee started brainstorming about potential behind-the-scenes ideas.

Behind the Scenes auction tip #2: Check your local cable companies show line-up

Your nearby cable company likely produces shows airing on local cable channels. A Website search of local Channel 6 in Lawrence, KS led me to find six shows being produced by Free State Studios Productions. Shows like Jayni’s Kitchen (a hairdresser who has her own cooking show) or The Drive (an unscripted sports talk show featuring four local pundits) might be willing to have guests sit and watch one of the episodes being taped. Research to see what is shooting in a 2-hour radius from where you live. It might be that one of your committee members even knows someone working on the show.

Behind the Scenes auction tip #3: Call the networks.

If you live in a city where one of the larger networks has a presence, ask if you can have a facility tour. Even if your tour takes place when nothing is shooting, still fun to have a tour! You can see the cameras and sound booth, and perhaps have your photo taken in front of the green screen. (Remember: If you wear green, you’ll be invisible.) It’s not uncommon for schools and business groups to take tours (I’ve been on a few of them myself), so clearly the studios are set-up to process requests. The worst they can do is say “no.” Good luck!