At a charity fundraising event, there are two primarily components: charity auction items and fundraiser guests.

Each organization carefully picks their auction items.

Months go into the process of selecting the items.

Sponsors are found.

Board meetings and brainstorming meetings are held.

…But do you carefully select where your fundraising guests sit?

If your fundraising guests are as important as we say they are, why don’t we consider how they are going to experience the live auction?

Here are some simple rules to remember when strategically seating your guests at a live auction.


1) Place the interactive donors in the front!

It makes the live auction easier.

The auctioneer has the ability to be more strategic too! Robertson

Scott Robertson told Winspire in a recent article, “auctioneers get the highest bids when they’re able to celebrate donors’ opportunity to bid and create an emotional feeling in the room.”

Big donors want to engage, contribute, and make big bids! They want to be generous!

Enthusiastically recognizing donors gets excitement and competition in the atmosphere, more people get engaged, and the event is simultaneously more fun and successful!

TIP: Don’t waste your time with reserving seating. Focus on reserving tables. Save the time, and hair loss from the stress by being broader in your approach.


2) Prioritize those who are strong supporters  

By giving your more interactive and generous donors the front seats, you are prioritizing them!

After all, if you don’t reserve the tables, people who spend the least can get the best seats.

Yes, it is better for your event’s success for your loyal donors to be in the front. But it is also more convenient for them! If you do have an engaged donor, it’s harder to engage from the back of the room or in the right hand corner table.

This can the sad fate of a donor who is attempting to engage and bid in the silent auction before the live auction starts. Those who aren’t preoccupied with the silent auction have more time to find their way to the better seating for the night.

This leaves the supportive donors scrambling.


3) Optimize the space

 The best seats in the house may not be in the front row.

It is entirely dependent on the layout of your venue and the style of the auctioneer.

Sometimes, the front is too close.

(Think about it in terms of sports – at a basketball game, “courtside seats” are coveted, whereas at a football game, box seats are usually higher so one can get a fuller view of the field).

Get creative, talk to your auctioneer, and get familiar with the venues you work with.

It’s worth it!


4) Sell tables!

Some people critique the competitive nature that arises from reserving tables.

Ranking donors in this kind of way can feel uncomfortable to some organizations.

Selling towards-the-front tables and keeping open seating in the back is a way to get the best of both worlds.


They are simple, but effective rules! After years of experience and thousands of charity fundraising events, we have seen this help procurement and create fun and exciting environments. And what’s more important than taking care of your guests by giving them a good experience and good auction items to bid on? Contact us for all your Charity Fundraising auction item needs!