A few years ago, one of my onsite benefit auction clients utilized her entire consultation time with me by having me write all of her marketing gift basket ideas for silent auction emails leading up to the gala. Sometimes I’m asked to re-work sponsorship programs. Other times I am asked to revert to my old role at General Electric and be the event planner.
None of these are traditional “benefit auctioneer” roles, but they all impact your auction. Though I can do them all well, I really don’t like one of them.
Planning parties isn’t “my thing.” Even in my personal life, I throw myself upon the mercy of my friends for help. “We can hold it at my home,” I’ll say, “but I don’t want to be responsible for cooking, figuring out drinks, or music.”
Yet there are people in this world who like planning parties. They like parties so much, they build their business around them.
I’m talking about those many work-at-home, direct sales businesses; companies that advocate using home parties as a way to build a client base.
Direct sales businesses are hardly new. Fuller Brush, Avon and Raleigh representatives were in our home when I was a child.
Here’s what I noticed.
- For the most part, these types of businesses are operated by women.
- Interestingly, benefit auctions are also operated by women (95% of the time).
- Let’s connect these dots!
Realize that auction galas rarely only raise money from selling items. They raise money via tickets, raffles, games, sponsorships, fund-a-needs, direct sales… all of these are revenue streams. And as a benefit auctioneer, I’m often teaching about these non-auction revenue streams, such as throwing a party before your gala.
If you tap into these direct sales business consultants, you might get cash, items, or both via a pre-gala party.
This approach is most often embraced by school auctions, perhaps because the Moms are involved in one of these business ventures and are ready to help the school via her business.
Here are the direct sales companies I’ve seen tapped:
- Stella & Dot (jewelry)
- Arbonne (skincare)
- Lia Sophia (jewelry)
- Thirty One Gifts (purses)
- Pampered Chef (kitchen tools)
- UndercoverWear (lingerie)
- Mary Kay (makeup)