Most fundraising events take place in the evening, so I typically start my auction days at noon.
As a female auctioneer, I need more prep time than the men in my field. Sad, but true. So, I start early to make sure there’s time to get everything done properly.
I start with a shower, then I settle in to blow dry my hair. And I mean settle in. I like to blow dry my hair while sitting on the floor and reading a book. This means it takes me a bit longer to blow dry my hair than the average person, but it’s worth it.
Next, I consult my trusty charity auctioneer outfit spreadsheet. That’s right, I keep track of the outfits I wear to each event, each year. I only see most of the people at these events once a year, and the sad fact is that if I show up in the same outfit twice in a row, I will get comments.
Once I have chosen an outfit for the event, I pack it away in my garment bag and pack my auction bag.
Makeup comes next, but I don’t do it all before I leave the house. I do my skincare routine and put on foundation, everything else waits until I’m at the venue. My foundation looks best if it has time to sink into my skin before I do anything else. So, while it does that, I drive over to the venue.
Depending on how far I’m driving, I’m in the car between 2:00 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. I always stop for an energy drink on the way. I sip on it slowly on my way to the venue, usually only getting through a quarter of the can before I throw it away.
The first thing I do when I get to the venue is find my contact. If I can’t find them, I go straight to the sound booth to introduce myself. The sound crew is my backbone. If I don’t have good audio, the auction will sink like a rock. I get a sound check as soon as I possibly can.
Once the sound check is over, I head to the green room or whatever behind the scenes space they have set aside for the event. I get changed into my auction outfit and do the rest of my makeup.
At about 5:00 p.m. I have a final meeting with the Development Director. Ostensibly this is so they can make sure I have everything I need, but usually it’s the other way around. Then I wait for the auction to begin.
Some of my clients want me out on the floor schmoozing with the guests during the cocktail hour, some of them want me to rehearse with their Fund-A-Need speaker. I fill this pre-auction time with whatever small tasks the nonprofit needs me to do.
Sometime between 8:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. I take to the stage to do the Fund-A-Need and live auction. Afterwards, I meet with the auction recorders and go through my post-auction routine. Sometimes I will hang around to observe the rest of the event, especially if the crowd is particularly energized. Otherwise, I slip into my sweatpants and walk out the door. The funny thing about dressing the way I do for auctions is that as soon as I take my bright, shimmery outfits off, I become invisible. No one remembers what I look like and I can slip out of the building undetected, and before the valet station gets busy.
Then I drive home, probably stopping at McDonald's on the way. And that’s it, that’s a day in my life if I have an auction in the evening.
Are you a charity auctioneer or nonprofit professional? What does your event day look like? Let me know in the comments.