5 Important Factors for Picking Benefit Auction Themes

Michael Faith

Bring Your Event’s Personality to Life

Having a theme for your benefit can be a lot of fun. And when done well, it adds a special element, making the event remarkable and memorable. On the other hand, themes are a lot of work and can cause extra anxiety – for example, “What am I going to wear??” They can also overshadow the organization’s mission and the message you want to convey to your donors at the event.

5 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Theme:

1. To Theme or Not to Theme?

Consider your guests – your core group of donors. Would they appreciate a theme? Do they like to dress up? Do they like decorations? Would some of your major supporters decide not to come because they don’t like the theme? Some folks love pulling out their favorite go-to 80s outfit – others can’t imagine going out in anything less than a suit or ball gown. Know your audience. Do they enjoy “playing dress-up” or would they prefer to stick to formalwear?

2. Mission Test

If you do go forward with a theme, one of the most important elements to consider is this: is the theme in alignment with your mission, or at the very least, does it not conflict with it? Think about the people you serve or issues you address. For example, if you work with addiction issues, having a speakeasy theme would not be appropriate. Or if you are an environmental group, having a theme that generates much trash would not be in alignment with your mission. Contrarily, having a theme can enhance the mission. At a recent “Glow Ball,” an organization used the tagline “recharge your inner light” – a perfect compliment for the performing arts organization’s mission.

3. Make It Easy

You want guests to participate if you have a theme so make it easy for them. Offer suggestions in the invite or show them ways they can match the theme on your social media channels. Also, avoid themes that force people to spend a ton of money on costumes. You want them spending money on your cause, not their clothing! Another suggestion: have accessory stations situated at the event where guests can choose items to add flair and get them get in the spirit. At the aforementioned Glow Ball, organizers provided a “charging station” where guests could grab a glow stick or glow jewelry to complete their looks.

4. Make It Fun

People go to benefits to have fun. When choosing a theme, think of ways in which you can build fun and excitement into the night. Can your table decorations add to the theme? Can your auction revenue activities align with the theme? Can you provide elements in your program or other event materials that enhance the theme? Could there be a special drink or food item that serves as your signature indulgence? The more you bring it into the room, the more opportunities for fun!

5. Make It Memorable

Will people want to take selfies in costume? Would a photo booth help capture some of the fun? Will people leave feeling better than when they came? When done well, themes can make your event more memorable – and make your guests eager to see what you come up with next! An added bonus – they’re more likely to talk about the experience on social media, which, in turn, spreads your good word!

To find out more about how to make your event a lasting experience, contact us!

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auction team