Run Around Auction Game – Guest Contributor Bill Menish

The 90’s band, Blues Traveler asked “Why do you want to give me the run around?”

Great song, but more than 20 years later I have the answer; because “it is a sure fire way to speed things up” at the end of the Raise-The-Paddle (or Fund-A-Need) and raise a bunch of money for your non-profit client.

This late player to the Run Around game is a believer; and I know I can help you raise so much more money than you ever planned  by conducting a Run Around at your next benefit auction!

So why was I late to the game? I was very aware of what is the appropriate amount of times to “ask” for 10649638_928370227178558_130558019201740783_nmoney from our guests. We can do a raffle, plus the heads or tails game. We have displayed nearly 100 items to bid on in the silent auction. During the live, we pitch, then sell from 5 to 45 items (yes- I have a client who sells around 45 items in their live auction.) Then we play an emotional video or hear from a passionate speaker to touch on the heart strings; to open the purse strings to make a 100% tax deductible donation to the Raise-The-Paddle (Or Fund-A-Need,Send-Kids-To-Camp, Fund-A_Cure and many more names).

The “ask” is often times the most successful part of the gala, and any organization not using it today might just have the wrong facilitator. Get a great Benefit Auction Specialist and double or triple your success with an appeal at your gala.

So this is where the “Run Around” comes in; and as fast and furious as a Blues Traveler harmonica solo, it grabs attention, creates emotion, in laughter and applause, and produces tremendous results. So, how does it work? It is simple, but you must follow the map. Let’s call it a traveler’s map…

You have worked hard to create a message in your video or from your speaker to inspire your guests to give. This is crucial. Hopefully, you have also worked the phones to reach out to your most obvious and generous donors to lock in your top spots such as a $5,000, $10,000 or $20,000 donation. Nobody wants to hear crickets when the auctioneer asks “Who will donate at the $10,000 level?!”

1914197_1369689722850_8374801_nSo, you’ve done your work and the auctioneer is plucking off bidders at $10,000, $5,000, $2,500, $1,000, $500 and $250. So here we are, at the last level of the night. The last chance to give to the cause. The $100 dollar level. So we go for it with tons of passion and enthusiasm to get them to give, and we call the bidder numbers out until we get to the very last one in the room to donate $100. Realize that this would have been the very last $100 donation the client was going to receive that night.

This is when we say “Ma’am or Sir, please keep your card up for a moment. Ladies and gentlemen, is this the last $100 donation of the night? An amazing night indeed, but are we done here? Is this really the last $100 donation? Then we say “We want to thank this person for being the last donation of the night… or I should say, we want to thank whoever the last last one to donate tonight…. with this Yeti cooler!” Yes, we are going to give this brand new Yeti Cooler to whoever is the last donor tonight, for being the last to donate!”

bolala3“Thank you bidder number 108… but wait, there’s another donation. I guess the Yeti cooler goes to bidder 276. Wait, we have another. All of these donations still count and we continue to collect for the cause, but is 321 our last donation of the night and the winner of the Yeti cooler? No! Bidder 111 is in for $100!”

This continues until the very last donation is made in the room. In the last three auctions we used the “Run Around,” we have made no less than $4,000 using this system. Understand, we are talking about an additional $4,000 after the very last person said they were willing to give. There was more money available, we just had to get creative to get it or inspire them to give it.  This continues till we get our very last donation and they get the cooler, or the bike, or the ipad or whatever you use for the “Run Around.” Like Blues Traveler said in their Run Around, “Like a game show contestant with a a parting gift, I could not believe my eyes.” You will not believe your eyes and you will not believe the results of even your very first Run Around. I’m a believer. I’m also a strong advocate for you to go knock it out of the park at your next auction with the Run Around game.

One more lyric that is so appropriate from that song that will benefit you and your clients… “And as we seek so shall we find.” You will find hundreds, even thousands at your next gala conducting a Run Around.

Here’s a link to Blues Traveler’s “Run Around” to get you rockin on you next auction, hopefully including the Run Around game!

One Response to “Run Around Auction Game – Guest Contributor Bill Menish”

  1. We did this Run Around portion, but we called it Popcorn because people keep raising their hands like the last kernels of popcorn popping.….and it indeed works well. It was a fun addition to our event. We were the first in our community to do it so that was really fun for everyone.


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