Remember the stationery boxes I showed you? They sold in the silent auction with a tremendous amount of bidding. They were some of the most active items. However, in thinking about next year, I wanted to put this down in a place I might not forget it....
Lessons about the MANY (Museum Association of NY) silent auction:
1. Museum are stuff people. When they are at a conference, they are on vacation. Who needs to buy books about the history of the railroad, or notes about the house an ex-Vice President was born in? Stuff people want fun stuff for themselves. Not something from the triple markdown area at the History Center or House Museum's back table. Why buy smart when you can buy either instant gratification ("me me and me"!) or something silly, or fun.
2. Stuff that sells currently: my prints, my cards and card sets (I told you those cigar boxes did the trick...), food stuffs. They might like the odd cameos too. Things that don't sell-- trips and hotel rooms (we bought one for Lake Placid...NICE), fusty dusty books, hand knit baby things (gorgeous...but totally misunderstood by the crew there),things that are not fun. There was a person that brought the complete Wizard of Oz characters crocheted. She does Star Wars characters too. NOW THAT would be a killer....It would be key to presenting it well because it is beyond an odd craft...it is art.
3. We need to be more strategic and canny around the offerings...even creating them just to test the waters. I think we should make up some LUXE easter baskets, some LUXE locavore whiskey/wine/cider baskets, a collection of like things from the present closet (mine) that are cool and curated. Even ebay vintage stuff like Pendleton Blankets or even the blankets I got @Sierra Trading Post (as a close out) that were a steal. I should have bought more of them as they are so useful and universal. This is more a keep your eyes open reminder. Ah Well.
I am going to start building these things now for next year. I want to help them transform this very fun, very expected aspect of their conference. Wouldn't it be amazing if the silent auction was a highlight of the event?
4. We should preview the big stuff on the emails that went out prior to the conference priming the pump for folks to part with their money--pointing them to websites of the spots...so they can come prepped.
Now for other things worth remembering.
--We need to prompt often and regularly to those having the touch put on for the auction. We could take money to build or buy product to auction..
--We could sell ad space in the program to support other conference activities or pay for the printing of the booklet and raise a little capital.
--We should get lounging chairs back by the conference areas...and have the coffee out there to push more camaraderie.
--We should have some meet new people games (everyone gets a map and needs to mingle with others to get a sticker on the map where other folks come from...and a business card to go with it. Whoever gets the most cards, wins something from the gift table (note: have a gift table...the dusty fusty tomes can go there if need be). There are folks that are quiet folks who are not swept into all the friends in place. We need to be able to engage them and bind them to our community.
--The board and gregarious friends need to be on point to host tables of people and to help bring new folks on board during the day.
--The Sagamore Event should have a table with slides/ signup sheets etc. and should be manned to better "sell this event". It is not loud and proud and needs to be. Sagamore can help with this I would think.
- It would be great to have a sponsor fund a hospitality suite for post reception/post dinner on Monday night. By this time, the conference guests are comfortable with each other and really want to gather and talk their heads off. This networking gives these museum professionals and specialists a new group of people to pick up the phone and get support.
--Is there a sign up for a mentoring/ mentor -ee program? It would be great to be the mediator of this sort of exchange. Thoughts to talk with Rob about.
Gotta go. Sorry to blab on about this obtuse stuff. Top of mind today beyond the vacation my brain has been on.