Help! My Auction Floor is a Mess!

Stack of Jeans

Imagine walking into your favorite clothing store to buy a pair of jeans. You look up and down the wall with all the sizes and can’t find what you’re looking for because the sizes aren’t sorted in order. It’s up to you to dig through the piles of denim to find what you’re looking for, but if you’re anything like me, you’ll give up after not finding what you want in the first pile.

HedgeYour auction floor is no different. Guests at your event will quickly lose interest if they can’t find what they want or the packages appear uninteresting. I’ve compiled a few things to pay attention to when creating a space to showcase your packages that will truly make your auction floor shine.


Nothing can make your packages more forgettable if no one can see them. Be sure to visit the venue ahead of time to see what it will look like under the lighting available. If there are windows nearby, will the nighttime event have enough lighting to showcase your packages?


Too many packages on one table can easily make your guests uninterested in finding something for them. If it’s a small item, put it on a pedestal to really draw attention without it getting lost in the mix. Give plenty of room to place the bid sheet front and center on the table and prevent overcrowding. People can’t bid if they can’t reach the bid sheets!

Queen's Garden


It’s crucial to have the right information presented to those who will be bidding on the packages. First and foremost, include the donor on the placard or sign. It’s an easy way to once again thank your donors, many of whom may be at the event and helps in securing procuring auction packages for the next year. You may also want to include any restrictions on some important items on gift certificates such as blackout dates or conditions related to the package.

Gift Certificates

These packages can be hard to showcase especially if it doesn’t come with a tangible item to display. One of my favorite ways to show these off is covering a piece of foam board with fabric and printing out a branded sign for each of your gift certificates to affix. Your guests can easily follow all of the certificates right in one location without bending over to read the sign on a table. (Hint: Restaurants are great procurement targets and historically will net at or near their retail value!)


Online Bidding

Incorporating technology into your auction can be daunting, but done correctly will help engage those who would normally not gravitate towards the packages. With Greater Giving’s Online Bidding solution, you can even text guests important messaging to raise awareness on a particular package, or search those packages that nobody has bid on yet! Be sure to create signage with package information so guests can easily search on the bidding platform for what they’re looking for.

I recently attended an event that spent a little time organizing their packages and showcasing their merchandise to make the items more desirable. One of the most impactful effects was extending their Mad Hatter’s Tea Party theme into the auction floor by incorporating elements of Alice in Wonderland. They were able to transform the auction floor into the Queen of Hearts hedge maze thereby eliminating tables and freeing up lots of square footage for an already crowded event. The guests were so intrigued with seeing what was behind the next corner of the maze they were captivated in a whole new way in the auction floor. The hedges even had cutouts to place auction packages on. How cool is that?!

What are some ideas you’ve incorporated into your auction floor to make your packages stand out? Sound off in the “Share your thoughts” section below.

Mad Hatter’s Tea Party Event Photos
by Shana Anderson Photography

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