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Silent Auction Strategy #6: Fight Annual Fundraiser Fatigue with a Themed Event

Posted by Evan Doyle on August 3, 2012

Does your charitable organization hold an annual fundraiser auction? Has attendance started to drop as guests begin to expect the same thing, year after year? If so, consider changing things up by giving your next auction a theme.

A theme will naturally refresh and enliven the atmosphere of your event by shaping the style of decorations, activities, auction items, entertainment, food, drinks, and more. To get the renewed attendance numbers you’re aiming for, be sure to send out invitations that strongly reflect the theme in both style and content.

If everything goes according to plan, the memories of one year’s amazing event will help drive attendance for the next year.

Below I’ve gathered a list of some of the more fun auction themes that our clients have used over the years.

Cocktail Party and Formal Affair Themes

  • Denim and Diamonds
  • Blazers and Baubles
  • Black & White Bash
  • Masquerade Ball
  • Make Believe Ball

Western Themes

  • An Evening In The Wild West
  • Rhinestone Rodeo
  • The (Organization’s Name) Hoe Down
  • Rockin’ Roundup

Decade-Inspired Themes

  • The Roarin’ 20’s
  • Gatsby Gala
  • Puttin’ On The Ritz (or Glitz)
  • 50’s Beach Party
  • Greased Lightening
  • Mad Men Gala
  • Boogie Fever
  • Disco Fever
  • Saturday Night Fever
  • Back To The Future
  • Preppy Makes a Comeback

Casino Party Themes

  • New York, New York
  • Rolling the Dice
  • Lucky 13
  • Let the Good Times Roll
  • An Evening In Monte Carlo

Animal Themes

  • Tailgate Party
  • Paws and Claws
  • Call Of The Wild

Holiday and Seasonal Event Themes

  • Cinco de Mayo
  • Sweetheart Auction
  • Cupid’s Ball
  • Jolly Holly Auction
  • Jest For Fun, A Mardi Gras Party
  • March Madness

Exotic Destination Themes

  • Passport To Unexpected Destinations
  • Passport To… Paris, London, Madrid, etc.
  • Moroccan Nights
  • Paris in the Park
  • Around the World
  • An Evening In… Argentina, New Orleans, the South Pacific, etc.
  • Hawaiian Paradise

Music and Movie Themes

  • Disco Fever
  • Let’s Rock-n-Roll
  • Beatles (or any classic rock group that strikes a chord)
  • Imagine
  • Hollywood Forever
  • Hollywood Nights
  • A Night With Oscar
  • Hurray for Hollywood
  • Cabaret
  • All That Jazz
  • Ahoy Matey!

Seasons and Nature Themes

  • Spring into Auction
  • Night Under the Stars
  • Reach for the Stars
  • Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea
  • Garden Party
  • Splish Splash

Themes with No Convenient Category

  • Kids in Motion
  • Mad Science
  • Celebration of Community
  • Carnival of Dreams
  • Just Imagine
  • Raising the Roof
  • If We Build It…
  • Sports Trivia

Make this year’s auction one the guests will never forget, and they’ll have their friends clamoring for tickets to the next one!

If you’ve conducted an auction—or attended one—that had an awesome theme, please pass the idea along in a comment on this post. I’m sure lots of other people will be happy you’ve shared the idea.

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