Nice work (so what else is new? :) ), Tom...
Live or silent auction(s) (or both)? We do one for the local comm.
college each year of roughly $30k; not tried the woodworking for craft
as items, though; don't know why. Get some quilts and art work some of
which does pretty well. I may have to give it a go for next
year--donated couple-dozen large rolls of grass hay this year...much
less effort particularly since auction timing was such could leave them
in field until pickup! :)
My woodworking club (Northeastern Woodworkers Association), at my request,
donated items for the local Scout Council silent auction at the
Distinguished Citizen Awards Banquet. I wouldn't say anyone over paid for
any of the items.... to the contrary, every item sold at bargain prices. The
single biggest problem is people cannot seem to differentiate between one of
a kind hand made items and mass produced Chinese imports... Comments and
bids reflected Chinese import prices as the benchmark for worth--the fact
that it was a fund raiser didn't seem to have any impact on bids. I've come
to accept that "general public" auctions are not going to pull the same
kinds of sale prices as garnered at an arts and craft fair such as
Woodstock-New Paltz Art & Crafts Fair http://www.quailhollow.com /. This as
people just don't get it...
Historically, and this year was no different, there are a lot of contrived
collectables in the auction (e.g., mass produced sports "paintings" and
9-11 memorials, etc. ), services (e.g., hair cuts, massages, rounds of golf,
meals), costume jewelry, and a small number of quality hand made items
(quilts, afghans, cutting boards). With the donations from NWA members we
had very nice turnings (natural edge, stone inlays), a handcut dovetailed
jewelry box, pens, and some solid white oak beverage trays. Bidders "over
paid" for golf and meals and universally "under paid" for the hand made
items while the "collectables" garnered "about retail" in many cases. It's
what people value in that is out of whack.... I think Doug Stowe is right
that as a society we've lost the sense of value and the sense for what it
takes to make something. See the archives on his Wisdom of the Hands
On Sat, 28 Nov 2009 09:12:53 -0500, "John Grossbohlin"
I won't disagree that many have a misplaced sense of value (witness
all the junk sold at "hobby" stores), but in this case I think the
venue was all wrong. People weren't expecting to buy heirlooms,
rather junk. While those items looked to be fine workmanship, they
aren't something I'd buy on the spur of the moment. Heirloom quality
stuff I want to be *exactly* what I want because I intend to keep it
until I can no longer keep anything.
If people attend a benefit/fund-raising auction w/ the intent of
"buying" anything, then their the ones of whom I was speaking that are
going for the wrong purpose/mindset. The expenditure should be viewed
as a donation, what comes with it just happens to be the carrot.
If I want to donate I'll give money. I don't want to buy something I
don't even want. I think the WW items are the wrong sorts of items
for the auction. The buyer and merchandise/seller aren't matched. I
like the idea of the craft fair (and donate the proceeds) better.
There is a much better chance that a buyer will appreciate the nice
work. Perhaps even the same buyer.
Then you're not the right target for attending a benefit auction... :)
Nothing wrong w/ that; different strokes etc., ...
Hard to tell, I think. How do you know a priori what _would_ be
appropriate articles for the charity auction, then?
There are a few items that always do well; others seem to be totally
hit-or-miss from year to year as to whether they do well or not.
If you have ideas, I'm all ears; while OT for the rec the auction is the
annual largest fund-raiser event and any ideas at all that might improve
it would be most appreciated...
Likely. I don't like junque. I have far too much stored away now and
we've done two interstate moves in the past two years. I do
appreciate nice things though. We bought Amish bedroom and dining
room sets a couple of years ago. The items we're discussing are the
sort of thins I would buy, but not very likely in that venue. An
auction is only successful when you get a number of like-minded people
together (with like items).
Sure, but my point is that such auctions are likely not the best place
to sell such things. It may not attract *enough* people who
appreciate fine woodworking and that actually want a certain item. The
chess board may be a counter-example, though.
From my experience the things that go well are just what was reported
here: A night in a nice hotel. A round of golf. Free lunch ;-).
Thinking about it some more, perhaps the chess board was a good one. A
lot of people like such things (as do I) and they're generic enough to
go with anyone's decor. I like the granite coasters that, IIRC, were
discussed a while back here in the wreck. Perhaps with an oiled
Walnut case. I may not buy a set but that's the sort of thing that
would go. The boxes shown looked to me to be something of almost
heirloom quality, something I'd never throw out, whether I grew tired
of them or not. They're not something I'd commit to in such an
That makes perfect sense.
It's a tough one, if limited to wood. Turned candlesticks are nice
and could go for decent money. Breadboards. End-grain cutting
boards. It may be a bit over the top, but TV trays are nice and
fairly generic too. I'd have to think a little more about it.
Our auctions have a wide range of items depending on what merchants are
willing to contribute as well as individuals. Our experience has been
that most of the the higher-end furniture items do not bring retail but
do sell for moderately good absolute $$ values so that they are
significant contributors to the overall bottom line. This is a very
small community by most standards so we get something from all of them
We have a few local artisans who do donate annually -- the success of
those depends on whether their particular whimsy of the year catches
somebody's fancy. In a couple of cases one can count on it being of
excellent work like Tom's but does it catch somebody to bid it up or not
is a toss-up.
All the low-cost items do go to the silent auction tables; many
merchants just do the certificates for lube-job's or something similar.
In a lot of ways we'd prefer to "just say no", but one has the problem
particularly in such a small community of not wanting to do that,
Perhaps; I was thinking of the single-item sort of thing. I just saw on
local news (local to the "big city" of Wichita, anyway, which is as
"local" as our TV gets even tho it's 200+ miles :) ) the annual crafts
show didn't do particularly well this year yesterday...
Indeed, that seems universal. The highest item last couple of years has
been the invitation for a mystery dinner hosted by the college president
and his wife (it's the college Foundation, after all).
That last is an interesting viewpoint I'd not thought of previously --
thanks. Have to consider how/whether the philosophy/mindset/psychology
it represents could possibly be exploited??? :)
Thanks for the thoughts/feedback...now back to our regularly-scheduled
Right. The reason they don't bring retail is that they're not exactly
what the buyer wanted. Most likely the reason they sell at all is
because it is a charity. The odds of bringing a real buyer for one
piece is small. Two is exceedingly small.
That's not surprising. Again, an auction where art is known to be
sold and the proceeds donated would likely bring far more to the
charity. Not as fun, perhaps, but reality.
Perfectly understandable. However, money is still money. I've seen
such auctions where some never had a bid. Embarrasing.
Also understandable. People are reigning in their purchases. The
good news, at least for the long term, is that consumer debt seems to
be going down.
That is a good one. Not my cup of tea, but I imagine it is for a
large number of people, SWMBO included. ;-)
I hope I haven't been too negative, just reporting what goes through
my mind at such things. Even when I'm browsing in stores I think
about whether I'd like the item in a year, or ten. Some things are
never tiring. Those I'm willing to pay dearly for (like $1600 for a
quilt), but not without a lot of thought.
What would happen if you had a video or a few snap shots of a hand made
item actually being constructed? It doesn't have to be a how-to video like
NYW, but just a "here's what we did" in 2-3 minutes like most of those
"transformation" TV shows.
That is a good suggestion...one thing we did new this year that seemed
to help for the live auction was to set up large-screen TVs on either
side to display the current bit item...
Even a few still shots might well help quite a lot w/ the presentation
to flash thru w/ the overall view. One thing again here is most know
most everybody else; seeing them in action might be incentive...
It's a general problem, agreed...we've been doing the Foundation Auction
event for nearly 20 years now and still are having difficulty w/
generating the "it's a fundraiser" mentality throughout the audience.
Many still come looking for bargains as if it were an estate auction.
OTOH, a neighboring community college and at least one four-year school
that have been at it for 30 or more years have seemed to actually begun
to win that battle by persistence.
I think it _can_ be done but persistence is the key...
Then it is an education problem. The MC/Auctioneer needs to be educated as
to the value of the items and he or she then needs to educate the bidders.
The bidders also need to be educated as to the value to the beneficiary
organization. I have seen a charity auction sell a Bridge City square for
five times its retail value. Somebody needs to get the bidders pumped and
work their way up to the big stuff.
If there is no MC/Auctioneer and Silent, it is a complete crap shoot. Might
as well set up a booth.
People like to be wooed. People like to compete. People like to be known for
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