Auction in November or December? Stick a Bow on It!

Bow Brilliant Gifts

Thanks to Michael J. Conners for the photo! Courtesy of

Bow Brilliant Gifts

Thanks Cooee for the picture! Courtesy of Remixed by Shari.

I was planning a post about the December holidays, but Sherry beat me to it. Read Sherry’s tips on how to remind your attendees that your auction items will make brilliant gifts for their friends and family. -Shari

One of the natural advantages of hosting a school auction in the late fall (think October through December) is its proximity to Christmas. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, December marks a big month of gift giving for many people. Why not play on that natural cycle and use it to help sell your items?

Here are some tips to make the most of the season:

Tip #1 – Be blatant. Don’t try to hide anything. In your marketing literature, remind people that they should be on the look-out for brilliant gifts at your fundraiser.

  • “Buy your gifts at our auction.”
  • “We’re receiving great donations that even Santa would swoon to give.”
  • “The designer purse that arrived today would look great under your tree.”
  • “Dad would love the meat locker that will be sold in our silent auction.”
Tip #2 – Be visual. I have a Catholic school client in Wisconsin that holds its fundraising auction in November. Each silent auction item is displayed with care, festively topped with a bow. Having organized this auction for many years, the school must have hundreds of bows by now. Many of them are saved and re-used, year after year. That’s a smart investment! Another idea: 

Thanks to Cohdra for the photo! Courtesy of Remixed by Shari.

Put a sticky note on the item.  Write, “This would be a great gift for that hard-to-buy-for person.” Or perhaps, “We love the idea of giving this to a set of active grandparents.” Don’t assume people will remember to shop for gifts. Remind them often and directly that this is the season to buy.


Tip #3 – Be verbal.Ask your auctioneer to make some announcements. Goodness knows that I’m always pitching merchandise in the silent auction. At an SPCA auction in New Hampshire last month, a number of pets are getting Christmas presents, thanks to me. (Ahem…) “Have you purchased a gift for your dog yet,” I’d inquire of the shoppers swarming the tables. “This package is adorable … and it doesn’t even yet have a bid?!” I’d astonishingly wide-eye the guest. Or, “I never have time to shop,” I’ll truthfully say, “So I keep extra wine on hand to take to those last minute invitations I receive to dinner parties. Here’s a FABULOUS case of Chardonnay, and what hostess isn’t going to love a bottle of that?!” I’d point to the case sitting on the table.

Let’s be real.  Selling is about helping people. One way your auctioneer can help people (and your charity, specifically) is by saving guests time. Have your auctioneer cut to the chase and verbalize the advantages of why the guest should buy that, and that, and that. 

In short, if you’re holding your auction during this time of year, it’s the perfect time to get guests to buy. Just don’t forget to promote your reason AND the season. is Coming Soon – “Where Donors Find You!”

It’s time for an online solution that simplifies soliciting school auction donations. Finally, there’s a fun way for your auctions to grow –


Sherry Truhlar Bio PicSherry Truhlar of Red Apple Auctions is a charity auction educator and onstage auctioneer, helping schools and nonprofits across the USA plan more profitable benefit auctions. Her advice is tapped by planners around the world who seek to improve their benefit auctions, and she’s been covered in Town & Country, The Washington Post Magazine, Auctioneer, and other publications. Her no-cost annual item guide is downloaded by thousands each year who seek to discover the latest creative items trending in fundraising auctions. Get your complementary guide filled with 100 auction ideas at

That is one of Sherry’s auction adventures. How about yours?

If you’ve held an auction in November or December, has mentioning buying auction items for gifts sold more for you?

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