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What to Do When Your Fundraising Silent Auction Guests Are Gen X Or Gen Y

When you’re thinking about a venue for an auction event, I’m sure that you didn’t envision standing inside a hangar, looking out towards… the runway. Yes, I did say “runway”.

An unusual venue – like a plane hangar – can be a fundraising basket ideas fun place to have a benefit auction. During one benefit auction I attended, one of the favorite spots for the guests to gather was actually near the open hanger doors where they stood enjoying the view.

One of the stories in the August 2009 issue of Small Market Meetings was Planes, Trains, and Automobiles: Transportation Museums are on a Roll. The article discussed the many types of events held in transportation museums.

I haven’t conducted fundraising auctions in a transportation museum yet, but I have a lot of experience conducting fundraising auctions in transportation facilities. This article covers a charity auction held in an executive airplane hangar.

An unusual venue can make a guest do a double-take when considering whether to attend your auction fundraiser.

“Oh neat,” they’ll think, “The party will be held in ____.”

If it comes down to attending your function versus another event, they might very well opt for yours based on the unique auction venue. They might be more interested in a place they don’t get to see everyday.

Airplane hangars are definitely worth considering if you’re hosting a very large event. For example, in Kissimmee, FL there is a 10,000 sq. ft. hangar that can accommodate 1,500 people seated or 2,000 for receptions.

That said, auction committees should take some precautions when booking a nontraditional space. Every venue will have its challenges. You’ll want to tour the site and think about flow, and food stations, and silent auction tables, and all those things good Auction Chairs consider when they are sorting through an auction gala’s festivities in their mind’s eye.

* At this locale, the wide open space allowed the auction procurement and decor committees to have great flexibility in adjusting the facility to meet their needs. One big hangar = lots of space for 200 guests.

* On the flip side, a super-slick, bright white concrete floor can be slippery to high heels, and – vice versa – heels or other shoe soles made of the wrong material can be unkind to a super-clean, high-tech floor.