Sunday, February 21, 2010

Message #4 From Your Artful Mentor

Hello My Marathoning Mentees! Yes, ‘tis I your Artful Mentor, with your weekly message. Today I will focus on going silent. What’s that, I can hear you say? My Artful Mentor is going to be silent this week? Hurrah!

No, that is not what I met. We are going to talk about the Silent Auction. But first, speaking of silent, I hope that those of you who were there enjoyed the Silent Mile yesterday. We only do that a couple of times a year. For me, it was good to see people from all of the other teams, and also to meet a couple more of you. I think I have now met almost all of you, between training and the event at Capital Ale House. I hope to meet the remaining ones soon.

All of you should have your web pages customized by now, and have sent at least two messages to everyone on your email list. That is a given. And you should be working on a letter to mail. Need any help with any of this? You know how to reach me, and you know how to reach Cate, so just reach out. Now, I am “going silent.”

Our team’s Silent Auction is going to be Tuesday, March 16th at 6:30. It is going to be at Blackfinn’s downtown on the Canal. It is a little out of the way and doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic, so it is going to be really important for you to let family and friends know about this. You will definitely want to participate in this and plan on being there yourself if at all possible, so mark your calendar! There are three keys to a successful silent auction, and you have control over two of them.

The first key is a good venue. Blackfinns has been very supportive of Team in Training, and they have a nice restaurant, easy parking in the attached garage, and a separate room to place all of the auction items. Plus at the last one that I was at, they provided great appetizers that were free to patrons of the auction. People could buy drinks and could eat dinner in the restaurant, but they didn’t have to. So Cate has taken care of the venue for us! Thanks, Cate!

What would a silent auction be without items to bid on? Really silent! So the second key to a success is great items. That is where we come in, for we come up with the items. How? Glad you asked! By asking for them! Do you know people who own businesses? If so ask, them first. Do you know crafty, artsy people, or are you such a person yourself? Get some donations of items from them. If, like me, you are not in either of those groups, just ask. Prepare a letter with information about LLS, the auction, and what you are doing. Include your webpage URL and email and phone contact. I have attached my example from last year. Then, practice your approach and hit the streets! Go into businesses you like, tell them what you are doing and why, and ask for an item or a gift certificate. Take your letters, and leave one if no one of authority is there to talk to. If someone gives you their card, follow-up with a reminder / thank you email. Like any thing else with fundraising, you are going to get plenty of non-responses. Just move on to the next place. If you go to enough places, you will get some items and these will add up. I personally made over $600 for LLS at our Spring 2009 silent auction, and I know someone who made over $1,000 at one. That is a serious chunk of your fundraising.

The last key to success is people coming through the door. If each of us gets six items and only the summer team members show up, are we all going to buy each other’s items? Not likely! So start telling people, everyone you know locally. Get that date out there to friends. Put up posters at work. Send emails. As the date gets closer, let people know what great items you and others will have. Once I start getting items, I will set up a page on my blog listing these, and I will be glad to add yours as well, and then you can send that link to friends so they can see what we have coming in. Sometimes people will see one special item they want and come just to get that item, but while they are there, they will see other great deals. Most things sell for 50-70% of retail value, so people do get deals. In a bad economy, everyone wants a deal! But they have to know about the deal, and you have to tell them. It is also a pretty fun social event, and people seem to have a good time at it.

Hope to see you all at training next week. After training is a repeat of the injury prevention clinic, so plan on going if at all possible. I will be at training but have to make a meeting later in the day and can’t stay for the clinic, but it will be great information for you.


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