New auction ideas create new opportunities to raise money

With the economy creating hardships for businesses, it has been especially difficult to convince local and regional businesses to donate items and services. With less donations than in previous years, the Endowment Committee, in which the auction is under, and the Auction Coordinator, Rebecca Piner, a Scholastic Press Office Undergraduate assistant had to come up with new ways of advertising and attracting people in hopes of raising just as much money as they had previously.
“Every year we raise right around $3,000, so with about twenty less donations than last year, we really had to get creative,” Piner said.
Changes made this year included tweeting silent auction bid changes; hosting the silent auction all afternoon and offering snacks and playing music; opening up the auction to hotel personnel and the public; and presenting live music at the live auction.
“The more people we can get to enter the room, the more people are looking and the more they bid,” said Piner. “We just have to get them interested.”
Opening up the auction to the public and hotel staff hadn’t even occurred the committee until a group of employees setting up the room, saw the Carolina Panthers and Green Bay Packers footballs and asked if they could bid.
“We had never even thought to open up the auction to the public,” Scholastic Press Manager Leslie Dennis said. “But we realized there are a lot of donations that anybody would want, not just journalists, so it was a great way to get more participation.”
Both the silent and live auctions raised a total of $2,781 to be donated to the Endowment Committee for scholarships and speakers. The highest bid on a basket was from Steve Johnson for the “Virginia is for Lovers” Basket, with a bid of $80. Phillip Caston’s, JL Mann adviser, BBQ Services was the highest service bid with $200.  Gary Dickey’s hand-carved bowl received the highest bid overall with $300.
“I think continuing the changes and thinking of new ways to keep people involved is the only way to continually have a successful auction,” said Piner.