Charity Fundraisers procure high bids on exciting and quality on auction items. But what if your guests take forever to park? What if they have to stand in long lines? What if the noisy crowd is obnoxious?

Here at Charity Fundraising, we specialize in high procuring auction items – Autographed Memorabilia and Experience/Vacation Packages.

But we’ve also been around the block, hundreds upon hundreds of times. We’ve seen many efficient . . . and not so efficient of fundraisers.

Giving your guests a fun and smooth experience at your next fundraiser with these simple steps is so important to the success of your event.

You’d be surprised at how these little things can affect the effectiveness of your event!

Here are the ways you can improve the guest experience at your next charity fundraiser:

  1. Use Signage!
  2. Give Instructions
  3. Eliminate Lines
  4. Control Alcohol Intake


1. Use Signage 

It sounds simple, right?

It is, but it’s so important.

Utilize signage in two ways: for bathroom directions and for event directions.

Where is the restroom?

This question is of number one priority.

It is the most-asked question.

Signage, greeters, escorts are all ways to help people find and excuse themselves quickly.

The more time spent looking, the more frustrated your guests will be. Let’s not forget that they’ll also be unengaged with the event during this time too!

Where is….?

There are some emotions you want your guests to stay far away from the entire time at your event. One of these is the feeling of being lost.

No one likes to be lost.

Signs used for directing and labeling, information tables, and point people are all ways of giving your guests clues and tips on how to navigate your event and venue.

Hotel venues or conference centers feel like they designed them to be mazes!

This is true no matter how many times you’ve put on this event or how comfortable you’d assume your guests are in the venue.

A palpable red herring is School fundraisers held at the school building. Most people would assume that the bulk of the attendees would know how to navigate the school since most of the guests will be family of the students. But maybe one parent usually drops off the kids at school and the other has rarely been there.

2. Give Instructions

Signage is important for the day of the event. But don’t forget that instructions can be sent out to your guests before the event!

This is particularly true when it comes to parking or valet options.

Kicking off the experience with a misunderstanding on validation for valet is not preferable.

Having no idea where to park is also not preferable. I can’t tell you how many events I’ve been to where the GPS has told us “we’ve arrived at our destination”, but now we just need to spend 30 minutes finding where we can park!

It’s easy to send this kind of information out on social media, connected to a “Save the Date” invitation!

Remember, giving your guests a good and smooth experience expands outside of the day-of preparations.

3. Control Alcohol Intake

Alcohol consumption at charity fundraisers is tricky. – You want your guests to enjoy themselves, be loose and free, but not unfettered. High energy can turn quickly to tiredness. That or, the high energy can sometimes become too high from overconsumption.

Utilizing timing of the auction portion of the event is a pivotal way of engaging your guests at the sweet spot of that energy curve.

Try minimizing alcohol consumption by having a signature drink offered and/or closing the bar (if you decide to have one) for certain portions of the program.

And as always, if you are going to supply alcohol, remember to prepare ways for guests to get home safely. Get an Uber account set aside or try getting a yellow cab sponsorship! There are ways to be creative, but driving is no small matter after drinking.

4. Eliminate Lines

Hopefully, supplying proper signage during and good direction before the event will help eliminate bottlenecked crowds with a dazed and confused look on their face.

Nevertheless, it is still important to smooth out the kinks of your event that creates burdensome and dragging lines.

There are two simple ways to eliminate the two worst kind of lines at a charity auction event: have parking volunteers and eliminate alphabetical check-in lines.

Parking Volunteers

 Have you ever been in the traffic jam of a parking lot? There are four cars stacked in line waiting for their turn at an open spot. Four way crosses are piled up on all sides.

Mass confusion and a little bit of chaos is how I’d describe this kind of parking experiences.

Now, have you ever been to a parking lot where someone directed your line of traffic at a four way, leading you to someone who told you to turn right, and then had another person direct you to a specific open spot?

Pampered might be the word I’d use to describe this kind of parking experience.

If you can, have parking volunteers. It makes the process so much easier on your guests.

Let your guests begin the night happy and relaxed, not frazzled, confused, and frustrated.

Alphabetical Check-ins

The problem with Alphabetical Check-ins is the fact that some letters have more traffic than other letters. The bottleneck at J to P table is substantial, and the poor A and B tables are essentially vacant.

Utilize all the lines for all guests. This eliminates lines and creates a more fluid and professional environment.

That’s it!

We hope these tips help your next charity fundraising auction! Remember to but yourself in your guests’ shoes. As experts in the field of auction events, its easy for us all to forget what it’s like to be a first-time guest!

Contact Charity Fundraising for more tips, advice, and if you’re interested in any of our zero-risk auction items!

Give your guests a smooth event experience and an exciting one with buzz-worthy auction items!