There is a lot to take into consideration when planning a fundraising event. What to serve can seem like a minor subject, but it’s still important. People come together over food. We plan our days around meals! Here’s a little food for thought when planning an event. (Sorry, we’re feeling punny!)
When picking out a venue for a gala or event, be sure to find out if there is a required in-house caterer and/or bar. Often times venues have exclusive contracts with one caterer and won’t allow outside vendors. Find out before signing a contract! If there is an in-house caterer, find out who it is and do a little research on their service. Online reviews are a great way to quickly find out what others have thought! Be sure to ask if any outside food or beverages are allowed. Sometimes if a venue’s special caterer has menu limitations, they’ll allow certain items to be outsourced.
Plated meal? Buffet line? Heavy hors d’oeuvres? It can be hard to decide! Take into consideration the size of your audience and the time of the event. Whenever your event falls during the general time of a major meal, it’s polite to serve something substantial. If your event is more casual, consider buffet lines. It keeps guests active and engaged. For more formal events, a plated meal is normally expected. Evaluate your ticket prices to accommodate your food costs. For higher ticket prices, guests generally expect to be served.
Should you stop your Silent Auction before dinner begins? If you’re doing heavy hors d’oeuvres, it shouldn’t interfere with the bidding time. It’s a more casual experience where guests graze as they choose. If you’re serving a full meal, consider the timing with regard to your auction. When guests are seated and waiting to be served, they’re not up bidding on Silent Auction items. Same with a buffet; guests can’t bid from a buffet line in traditional auctions. As guests begin to be seated and enjoy their meal, it’s a great time to have your Auctioneer or MC build excitement for the Live Auction and Paddle Raise portion of the evening. If you have a speaker or entertainment, mealtime is the ideal period for it. It’s our experience that Silent Auctions are most successful when opened immediately upon check-in and closed as dinner begins.
Don’t want to impede bidding momentum by guests getting dinner and eating? Consider making your next event a Mobile Bidding auction! Guests can bid from anywhere on their phone. No more missed bids when the buffet line opens! Instant text notification alerts a guest they’ve been outbid and they can place a new bid directly from their phone. Ask us how to get started today!