Loanables - Page 4 of 10 - Helping save the planet

Meet Fancy Fluff

Fancy Fluff has reinvented that timeless treat we all remember from days at the county fair, school carnival or friend’s birthday party: cotton candy. While classic sugar spinning techniques may not have changed much, the ingredients that comprise the perfect swirl of cotton certainly have. No longer must we accept the refined sugars and artificial flavors from the past, because Jessica Halich has created the same nostalgic feeling with modern ingredients like organic sugar and natural flavors.

And the flavors have certainly received an upgrade. Options like bourbon maple and jalapeno provide a unique tasting opportunity for adults, while classic flavors like strawberry, butterscotch and creamsicle please party-goers of all ages!

Jessica began honing her sugar spinning skills back in high school. It didn’t take long for her become lead spinner, running the cotton candy machine at every school event. But she didn’t take note of the business potential until years later, when she attended a birthday party with her own children. She saw that cotton candy had remained virtually unchanged all those years later, and knew she had an opportunity to modernize the classic treat. Using her business skills and creativity previously directed toward event production, Jessica created Fancy Fluff and now pleases Austin palettes at Mitzavahs, galas and corporate events all year long.

Fancy Fluff has always offered live sugar spinners for your event, creating not just classic cones, but also themed-inspired shapes like Troll hair for birthday parties and bunny shapes for Easter! And now, they’ve added a new way for adults to enjoy this fancy treat. Fancy Fluff now delivers the perfect Friday treat, dropping off 50 tubs of their delectable flavors to enjoy at your office! The total package is $175 and includes delivery in the Austin area. Celebrate the end of the week with some sweet fluffiness!

Want to win a cotton candy office party for yourself? Enter to win here. Your coworkers will thank you!

 

 

 

Types of Rental Chairs

When I planned a party for my parents, I needed to rent tables and chairs. Until then, I never knew how many different types were available to rent. Today, I respond, every day to requests for chair rentals; and most people don’t have an exact type of chair in mind when they first start the party planning process.  If you’re planning an event, I hope this helps you narrow down your options.

Most Common Types of Chairs Rented for Events

Type Avg. Price
Stackable, light weight, folding Poly Chair $1.50
Wood or Resin Chair with Pad $3.00
Chiavari Chair $7.00

 

In the first category, the stackable, light weight folding Poly Chairs, you will generally find either poly or alloy chairs at every rental company. These are the least least expensive chairs you can rent:

  1. A poly chair is made from polypropylene, a type of plastic.  
  2. An alloy chair is made by mixing two elements, one of which is a metal. The alloy is a little more sturdy than the poly.

You will also hear these chairs called Samsonite chairs, but that is just a brand name (same company that makes the luggage). It’s confusing because Samsonite makes plastic and metal chairs.

These stackable, light weight folding chairs range from $1 each to $2 each and generally come in black, charcoal or white. When you find some for $1, make sure to ask about the condition of the chair. If you are looking for a white chair, it is also important to ask about any discoloration.

The second category is the Resin or Wood chair. These are more sturdy than the poly or alloy chairs, and they usually come with a cushion so they are more comfortable as well. You will also hear these referred to as garden or wedding chairs. Most rental companies offer these in white, black, and a wood color and they run about $3/chair.

The Chiavari chair is also known as a Chiavarina; it was created by an Italian cabinet maker in 1807. Most rental companies carry these in several different colors including white, black, gold, silver and wood. These are the most expensive, about $7/chair but they make an elegant addition to your event décor.

Other options

Some people will use chair covers with the options above or with a conference chair. These chairs have thick padding because they are made for people sitting long periods of time. The average price to rent these is $4.

Chair covers range from about $3 – $6. I usually recommend going with the elegant chiavari chair over spending so much on chair covers, but it does depend upon the theme and style of the event.

I’ve gone over the most common chairs that are rented, but there are many other chairs available as well including barstools, ghost chairs, king and queen chairs, antique chairs, kids chairs, high chairs, etc. If it’s available to rent in Austin, Loanables has access to it. We work with over 200 rental companies in the Austin area so we can find the best options and pricing for your event. The best part is you do a lot less work but pay the same price that you would if you went directly to the rental company.

Here are a couple of other relevant blogs I’ve written:

Table Sizes – How Many People will Fit?

What Size Linen Fits My Table?

How much does it cost to rent table place settings?

Let me know what you think or what other topics you’d like me to cover.

 

Email info@loanables.com if you need help finding chairs for your event or just want general advice on event rentals.  We are always happy to help.

 

 

Behind The Scenes – Explore Austin’s 2018 Quest for the Summit

Anna and Jason Herd are passionate about helping kids and about the outdoors. So, it’s no wonder that in 2009 when they learned about Explore Austin from one of Jason’s business school professors who was also one of the organization’s founders, they had to get involved. Originally a host family, Anna and Jason have been involved in Explore Austin for the last 9 years. Jason joined their Board of Directors in 2016, and this year, the couple is chairing the organization’s big spring fundraiser, Quest for the Summit.

I sat down with the Herds to learn more about Explore Austin, their involvement, and the upcoming Quest for the Summit.

Mentorship and the Great Outdoors

Coming from outdoorsy families, both Anna and Jason felt that spending time outside and having strong mentorship in their lives was really important to them as children and played a critical role in who they are today. Growing up, Anna remembers: spending weekends and summers driving 4 wheelers;  joining her dad on timber cruises on a lush family property in Mississippi full of wildlife; living in the mountains of Costa Rica (where she had to walk down the road to buy groceries from a local farmer); and doing Sail Caribbean a couple of summers in a row.

Jason grew up in a ranching family and spent his weekends hunting, fishing, working cattle, and fixing fences. He also was the first of his peer group to achieve Eagle Scout. Both of them say that they had excellent mentorship and a support system of family and friends that helped shape them and allowed them to excel. Jason said “You don’t get to Eagle Scout without strong mentorship. My dad was very influential and he wouldn’t let me get my driver’s license until I did it.”

These days, the couple and their two young sons love the outdoors and take advantage of any opportunity to be hiking, camping, skiing, doing sports, or anything out in nature. They try to include an outside component to any family vacation. During our conversation, Jason commented that his father was a successful entrepreneur but was always there for the important events and both he and Anna want to do the same for their boys. They would also like to provide this mentorship and these outdoor opportunities to as many kids as possible.

Explore Austin

Explore Austin is providing both these outdoor experiences and long term mentorship to children who might otherwise not have these things.

Founded in 2006, the organization was put together to test a model of mentoring and outdoor adventure for underserved youth. They approached one of the local Kipp charter schools and essentially took a group of boys (Explorers) on a camping trip. Since then, the program has grown to around 270 Explorers and 90 Mentors with a mission to change the lives of underserved youth through leadership, mentoring, and adventure.

Each spring, Explore Austin recruits 2 new teams (one 6th grade boys team and one 6th grade girls team) primarily from schools where most kids qualify for free or reduced lunch and pairs each team of 15 youth with 5 adult mentors. They then provide these youth with leadership training, long term mentors and outdoor experiences. Both the explorers and their mentors spend one Saturday per month outside in Austin hiking, mountain biking, bouldering, canoeing, etc. In addition, they spend a week in the summer somewhere in the backcountry in Texas or states like Wyoming, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, or New Mexico on a much more challenging outdoor wilderness adventure. This is the first time many of these kids have been on an airplane, lived out of backpacks, and faced physically and mentally challenging activities.

The program is 6 years in duration and the Explorers and Mentors are asked to make a long term commitment. Currently, they have over a 90% Mentor retention rate and close to that for the Explorers. An unintended outcome has been that most, if not all, of these kids end up applying for and being accepted to college, something many of their parents have not accomplished.

2018 Quest for the Summit

The organization would love to expand it’s reach and add more teams in the next few years as the outcome for these students are tremendous. In order to do this and to support the existing program, they are holding the 9th Annual Quest for the Summit on April 5th at Fair Market. The fundraising goal for this event is $230k  and close to 300 guests are expected for a night filled with music, food, drinks and outdoor games like corn hole and washers. The night will be more relaxed than a typical fundraising event and attendees will have the opportunity to mingle with other guests, Explorers, Mentors, and Explore Staff to learn more about the organization and how they can get involved. Explorers will share their stories and there will be opportunities to support the program and even participate in a mystery raffle for a Yeti filled with all sorts of fun supplies. Prior to the Quest, there will be a graduation ceremony honoring all graduating senior Explorers and their Mentors for six years of dedication.

It will definitely be a night not to miss and a wonderful opportunity to learn even more about an organization that is clearly making such a big difference in the lives of underserved youth in the Austin community.

If you would like to sponsor the event or purchase tickets for this year’s Quest for the Summit, you can do so Here.

Spotlight on Austin Events: Meals not to Miss

If there are two meals you don’t want to miss, it’s these two: Swift’s Attic Wild Hog Dinner benefitting Operation Turkey and Lost Pines Nursery Benefit Dinner. Here are the details you need to know!

Wild Hog Dinner at Swift’s Attic

Let’s start with a sustainably-sourced Wild Hog Dinner featuring skilled chefs from WuChow, Eberly and Swift’s Attic. This no rules dinner allows the chefs to make whatever they fancy utilizing wild hog from a sustainable hunt with Michael Moore of River Bottom Trackers. Produce is also sourced from local farms for a true farm-to-table experience.

Who  Brian Tolbert, Executive Director of Operation Turkey, began this dinner series about 5 years ago. His original dinner featured seafood, wild-caught by hand (his hands!) during a fishing trip to Alaska and has continued to feature sustainably sourced proteins.

What  5-course, family-style dinner along with donated wines, tequila and live music performed by Big Britches.

Where  Swift’s Attic, 3rd & Congress

When  Sunday, March 4, 5-9pm, dinner served at 6pm

Why  All proceeds benefit Operation Turkey through which every dollar is used for food or food preparation as the organization is 100% volunteer-operated. Last year, 5,000 volunteers worked from 8am until noon on Thanksgiving Day to provide 8,000 Thanksgiving meals in Austin alone. Countless more were fed through Operation Turkey’s volunteer groups in surrounding Austin areas as well as Dallas, Houston, Lubbock, and outside of Texas in Colorado, Georgia, New Mexico and North Carolina. To learn more about how you can volunteer, sign up for informational emails here.

Pro-tip (from the Hunter)  You get the best meat by sourcing animals from a place where they have the highest quality diet. For example, many hogs can be found feeding on acorns all day long, but the hogs used for this dinner live in wheat fields, producing a much higher quality protein.

Tickets still available for the Wild Hog Dinner here.

Lost Pines Nursery Benefit Dinner

Next, brought to you by a team of acclaimed culinary and botany masters, The Lost Pines Nursery Benefit Dinner at Barr Mansion is an unparalleled opportunity to experience farm-to-table fare with the Farmer-in-Residence, Christian Drake, walking guests through the courses from his unique botanical perspective.

Who  Botanists Christian Drake & Ben McMurray have taken on the task of revitalizing Bastrop’s historic nursery. Chefs Jessica Ximenes of Barr Mansion & Bethany DiBaggio of La Pera have curated and designed the evening’s meal.

What  The Lost Pines Nursery Dinner at Barr Mansion & Artisan Ballroom will feature a prix fixe menu focused on items grown in the nursery. Don’t miss out on the plant auction!

Where  Barr Mansion & Artisan Ballroom 10463 Sprinkle Rd. Austin, TX 78754

When  Wednesday, March 7, 6:30-9:30pm

Why  Be part of revitalizing Lost Pines Nursery while treating yourself to a special evening. The goal of the evening is to raise capital to begin operations and spread awareness of the nursery’s re-opening to serve the Austin area and beyond in Central Texas. Drake & McMurray have a culinary farming focus and are utilizing unique agricultural solutions like special watering techniques and soil-nutrient mixtures that work together to create the highest quality plant. While they are starting with tomatoes, they will broaden the scope to include both exotic and native plants.

Pro-tip (from the Farmer)  Have you ever noticed how some of those tomatoes from the grocery store don’t seem to have much tomato flavor at all? That’s because farms that supply grocery stores over water the plants in order to create the highest yield or poundage. Well, if you stop watering tomatoes as soon as they turn red, you may see a lower yield, but you will have the tastiest tomatoes ever!

Tickets still available for The Lost Table here.

How much does it cost to rent table place settings?

I have 3 friends either building a home or completely remodeling a home right now. Listening to all of the decisions that have to be made on a daily basis is overwhelming. There are hundreds of options with every choice you have to make (Do you want tile or hardwood floors? Seems simple enough until you answer that question only to find there are hundreds of choice either way you go).  It can be overwhelming and make the whole process of building a house draining. The similarities to planning a large event are staggering.

People call me and they have a simple question like, “how much does it cost to rent dinnerware?” I want to give a straight, simple answer, but the answer is dependent upon so many different things. What you choose to rent is probably different than what the next person I talk to will choose. With that said, there are some general guidelines you can use for budgeting purposes. Please keep in mind this is an over-simplification just to get you started with budgeting. I chose a common range of prices – there are ALWAYS more expensive options when you start customizing.

Per Person Cost for Formal Place Setting

Item Good Better Best
Charger $1.10 $4.50 $6.95
Dinner Plate $0.55 $0.95 $2.00
Salad Plate $0.55 $0.95 $2.00
Bread Plate $0.55 $0.95 $2.00
Dessert Plate $0.55 $0.95 $2.00
Beverage Glass $0.50 $0.95 $2.25
Red Wine Glass $0.55 $0.95 $2.25
White Wine Glass $0.55 $0.95 $2.25
Coffee Cup $0.50 $0.70 $0.95
Coffee Cup Saucer $0.50 $0.60 $0.95
Salad Fork $0.40 $0.55 $0.75
Dinner Fork $0.40 $0.55 $0.75
Dinner Knife $0.40 $0.55 $0.75
Dessert Fork $0.40 $0.55 $0.75
Teaspoon $0.40 $0.55 $0.75
Butter Knife $0.40 $0.55 $0.75

Total Per Person

$8.30 $15.75 $28.10

Per Person Cost for Casual Place Setting

Item Good Better Best
Dinner Plate $0.55 $0.95 $2.00
Salad Plate $0.55 $0.95 $2.00
Bread Plate $0.55 $0.95 $2.00
Beverage Glass $0.50 $0.95 $2.25
Dinner Fork $0.40 $0.55 $0.75
Dinner Knife $0.40 $0.55 $0.75
Teaspoon $0.40 $0.55 $0.75
Butter Knife $0.40 $0.55 $0.75

Total Per Person

$3.75 $6.00 $11.25

I’ve worked with several people who have chosen to just get the Dinner Plate, Beverage Glass, Wine Glass, Dinner Fork, Dinner Knife, Spoon. (I actually prefer this approach unless it is a very formal event). So…on the low end, you can expect to pay about $3 per person for plain white china or glass with stainless still flatware. On the very high-end, you are looking at about $28 per person for gold or silver-rimmed china with silver-plated flatware and crystal stemware.

I really think planning a party should be fun.

“The pleasure isn’t in doing the thing, the pleasure is in planning it.”
― John GreenPaper Towns

I’m on a mission to make this quote true 😉

Here are a couple of other relevant blogs I’ve written:

Types of Rental Chairs and Average Prices

What Size Linen Fits My Table?

Table Sizes – How Many People will Fit?

Let me know what you think or what other topics you’d like me to cover.

Top 5 Austin Events in March

SXSW dominates the scene in Austin during the month of March, but there are many other local events to get excited about as well! Let’s start it off with something fun for the whole family…

89th ABC Kite Fest March 4

This is one of Austin’s incredible FREE events. Did you know it is the nation’s oldest kite festival? Brought to you by ABC Home and Commercial Services, the day is filled with kite making, kite flying & kite contests! But wait, there’s more! MossFest, a children’s music concert, a fun run and, of course, great food are all staples at this long-standing event. Proceeds from the day are gifted to Communities in Schools of Central Texas and the Moss Pieratt Foundation. What a great reason to get out and enjoy the day at Zilker Park!

SXSW March 9-18

There is so much to do at this year’s SXSW event. From music to emerging tech talks to film and fashion, it is hard to decide what to attend. Here are just a couple of events we are excited about:

BBQ Crash Course: sampling some of Texas’ best barbecue with a chance to meet the pitmasters, at Southbites Trailer Park

AI: Transforming Luxury, Fashion and Beauty: a panel discussion about the future of fashion with AI, at the Four Seasons

Think VC: The Value of Women Investing in Women: a panel discussion about increasing the number of female early stage investors, at the Hilton

Cindy Y. Log (Red Velvet Events): mentor session by one of Austin’s best event planners, at the JW Marriott

Just Press Go: Waymo’s Self-Driving Cars Are Here: CEO John Krafcik shares about the 9 years and 4 million miles that brought the reality of self-driving cars to Arizona and soon to a city near you, at the Austin Convention Center

Rodeo Austin March 10-24

The Travis County Expo Center is home to Rodeo Austin. Two solid weeks are packed with live music, fair games & food and, of course, the rodeo and stock show. Our favorite rodeo pastime is watching Mutton Bustin’ in which aspiring cowboys and cowgirls (ages 6-8) get 6 seconds to hang on to a sheep for dear life! Signups for your son or daughter to participate are already full but you can still enjoy the show and get them mentally prepared for next year.

Cirque Eloize: Saloon March 29-30

This acrobatic comedy has all the components of the perfect western- a lover’s tale, folk music from the likes of Johnny Cash & Patsy Cline and a motley crew with great stories of fortune and folly. See this original western musical on stage at The Long Center. Tickets start at just $29 and the show is appropriate for all ages. Watch a clip of the show here.

Fashion X Austin March 29-April 7

Austin lifestyle expert and designer Katie Kime will be designing the runway for the 10th anniversary of Austin Fashion Week. Catch the main live show on March 29th along with soirees at local stores March 31-April 4. The week long event concludes April 5-7 with nightly runways from designers across the country.

 

Did we miss your favorite March event? Let us know so we can spotlight it!

 

Event Tents: Types, Sizes and Prices

Pole tent

Pole tent – has elegant peaks

I went to Target yesterday to get mascara and sat on the make-up aisle just staring at all of the choices. I didn’t want to choose between long, curly, luscious, or thick. I wanted all of those things. There were so many choices, I ended up leaving without mascara. I went home and ordered the last one I had purchased off Amazon. It’s not even one that I love, but it was easier than choosing a new one.

Did you know there is an actual psychological effect dubbed The Paradox of Choice? Barry Schwartz wrote a best-selling book about it. The gist is: we all want choices, but in today’s consumer-driven marketplace, there are too many choices, which is often paralyzing.

I see this paralyzation frequently when someone planning a party needs to rent a tent. There are different types, sizes, structures. It’s overwhelming. Trying to figure out the size tent you need is akin to sitting in high school algebra class – it’s definitely not the most fun part of planning your event.

I’ve put together a chart and some general guidelines to get you started with your planning. And if math isn’t your thing, email info@loanables.com. We are happy to do the drudgery for you.

Frame tent

Frame tent – can be set up on any surface

What size tent to I need and how much will it cost?

Tent
Size
Square
Feet
# of Guests
Ceremony/Theatre Style
# of Guests at
Round Tables
Approximate
Cost to Rent
10×10 100 15 10 people at 1 tables $50 – $150
20×20 400 68 40 people at 4 tables $280 – $350
20×30 600 90 60 people at 6 tables $400 – $550
20×40 800 100 80 people at 8 tables $520 – $650
30×30 900 125 90 people at 9 tables $600 – $700
30×60 1800 245 180 people at 18 tables $900 – $1400
40×60 2400 342 240 people at 24 tables $1600 – $1850
40×80 3200 450 320 people at 32 tables $2100 – $2500
Frame tent

Frame tent doesn’t have poles on the inside

Sq. Ft. Needed for Rented Items

Item Square
Feet Needed Each
48″ Round Table (seats 6-8) 80
60″ Round Table (seats 10) 100
72″ Round Table (seats 12) 120
6′ Rectangle Banquet Table (seats 8) 80
8′ Rectangle Banquet Table (seats 10) 90
Buffet Table 100
Bar 100
Dance Floor 2-4 per guest
DJ Area 100
Marquee Tent

Marquee Tent – has the peaks but no poles on the inside

And if figuring out the size wasn’t enough, you also need to figure out the style of tent you want…

Types of Tents for Parties and Events

Type Description
Pole Secured with stakes – can’t be used on concrete or asphalt. Poles create peaks and dips which makes it look very elegant
Frame Free standing so can be set up on any surface. There are no poles inside so you don’t have to worry about planning or decorating around those
Marquee Hybrid of the pole and frame tent. They give you the elegant peaks of the pole tent but are free standing like the frame tent
Frame Structure Has wider openings and taller ceilings than the standard frame tent. Can support more weight than other types of tents, and has tighter fitting sections and walls, making it the best option for heating and air-conditioning
Frame Structure Tent

Frame Structure Tent – this is the best option for heating and air conditioning.

Check out this blog for inspiration.  It shows pictures of several different types of tents – all gorgeous!

I recently helped plan a 150 person wedding.

We had to make room for guests tables, buffet table, bar and dance floor.  To stay within budget, we selected to go with the pole tent (usually the most economical). Here’s how the math worked out:

  • 1000 square feet for the guest tables
  • 100 square feet for the buffet table
  • 100 square feet for the bar
  • 300 square feet for the dance floor
  • 100 square feet for the DJ

We needed a total of 1600 square feet so we went with a 30 x 60 tent.  The cost for the tent was $750.  A frame tent would have cost about $1,100.

Here are some other, related blogs that you might find helpful:

Types of Rental Chairs

Table Sizes and Seating: How Many People Will Fit?!?

What Size Linen Fits My Table?

How much does it cost to rent table place settings?

Calculating Dance Floor Size + Average prices in Austin

Hopefully this gives you a good starting point. If you have questions, email us at info@loanables.com.

Pole tent

A pole tent will have poles in the center that you will have to plan around.

 

 

 

 

Live Auction, Silent Auction or Raffle?

When is it best to do a live auction?  What about a silent auction?  Or a raffle?  How do I decide which one, two, or three of these options will work best for me?

These are just a few of the most commonly asked questions from people planning fundraising events.  While all of these options have their advantages, it is important to carefully evaluate your event to determine which is going to be the best fit for your audience, your auction items, and your fundraising venue.

Below are some things to consider when trying to decide the best fundraising option for your charity or organization’s next event.

Things to Consider for Silent Auctions

1 – Silent auctions are a good option if the auction is being held as part of another event – an annual dinner or the like.  In these situations, a silent auction can be conducted in a side room or in a corner of the event space.

2 – Silent auctions are ideal for charity/benefit events that have a lot of items to sell.

3 – Silent auctions are ideal for low-mid-priced items.

4 – Silent auctions work better for items that need to be observed or examined up close.

4 – Silent auction items typically sell for about 50% of their value.  This is important to consider in your fundraising goals

.

Things to Consider for Live Auctions

Live auctions are often seen as more fun than silent auctions because they get everyone involved and, if done right, captivate the audience for a short period of time.  When trying to decide whether to do a live auction, you should consider the following:

1 – What kinds of items will you be auctioning off?  Live auctions are typically reserved for high ticket items – a ski cabin for a week in Colorado, expensive artwork, a car etc. but sometimes include items that just pull on the audience’s heartstrings – for example, a puppy or kitten.

2 – How much time will be dedicated to a live auction?  Benefit auctions should encompass no more than 40 minutes in the live auction as guests begin to grow impatient which causes bidding to slow down or stop.

3 – Given that it takes approximately 3 minutes for a professional auctioneer to sell an item, you should have no more than 10 – 12 live auction items to stick to the 40 minute timeline consider a minute to move between items.

4 – Do you have resources to get a professional auctioneer?  This is essential to capturing the audience’s attention and getting the most money for the items on auction.

5 – Live auction items will usually sell for close to or above their value, another important thing to consider in your fundraising goals.

Things to Consider for Raffles

There is always a question about whether or not to add raffle items or conduct a raffle rather than a silent auction.  Some things to consider are:

1 – How many people will be attending the event?  If the numbers are large, it may be better to put most of your items in the silent auction, but if attendance will be low or most people are not expected to participate in a silent auction, a raffle may be more appropriate.

2 – How many volunteers do you have?  It takes far fewer volunteers to coordinate a raffle than an auction.

3 – How many tickets can you sell?  If you plan to conduct the raffle before as well as during the event, you need to consider how you will sell the tickets and how many you think you can sell.  A raffle is only lucrative if you can sell lots of tickets!

4 – There are IRS regulations concerning raffles.  When you do a raffle, you must get any winner of a prize worth $600 or more to compete a W-2G (gambling winnings form).  For larger prizes you are required to withhold a percentage for federal income taxes.

5 – Higher value prizes and larger numbers of prizes (and winners) may make your raffle more appealing, and therefore, make people more likely to buy tickets!  This is important to consider when determining what you will place in your raffle vs. an auction.

Deciding Between Live Auction, Silent Auction and Raffle

Below is a very simple graphic showing how you might decide on the best option for your event.  Keep in mind that this does not take into account venue size.  This should really be your first decision point as you can be limited by your venue.  Also, if you have a lot of items you may choose to do a combination of silent and live auctions keeping in mind that you don’t want a live auction to last too long but you make significantly more money selling the same item in a live auction than you would selling it in a silent auction.

The Best Bet is a Combination

In reality, many events tend to be a blend of a silent and live auction with the option to buy a few raffle tickets for one or two key items.

Attendees are often invited to purchase raffle tickets prior to the event and then again at the door.  They also may receive a ticket or two as part of their admission ticket.  The events then start with a silent auction allowing guests to enjoy a cocktail and bid on smaller items thus warming them up for the live auction.

This format invites participation as some may be attending the event as a spectator but happy to contribute by way of buying a few raffle tickets, others may be more comfortable with a silent auction and less likely to get into the competitive live auction bidding, and a few may be there for the excitement of the live auction.

Whatever you decide to do, your will be much more successful if you spend some time in the early stages of your event planning process considering your fundraising goal, the size and shape of your venue, the event format, and the types of items you will be giving away/selling.

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes: Unmasked 2018

When you want the inside scoop on an upcoming event, it is best to start with the source. We reached out to Kelly Hyde, chair of this year’s Unmasked Gala, and she took a few moments to share her story and the passion behind her involvement with Wonders & Worries.

In college, both Kelly & her husband pursued studies to prepare themselves for careers in medicine. They took the required classes at the University of Texas, studied and passed the MCAT, and began looking into medical schools. Along the way, they decided to prioritize family over having both of them pursue this career, so Kelly made what she now knows was the best decision for balance and happiness through the tough medical training years and decided to focus on raising their children. As it turned out, this decision also allowed her to develop another passion, culinary arts. Kelly was able to hone her skills and make some extra money while her husband went through medical school and residency by catering lunches at physicians’ offices in Galveston and Clear Lake, and when her husband’s fellowship moved them to Lexington, Kentucky, she went on to work as the head cook and baker at the Gift Box Tea Room. Ultimately, they returned to Austin, where Kelly graduated from the Escoffier School of Culinary Arts and provided personal chef services for several families in Westlake. All while raising her four children– talk about a strong, smart and powerful woman!

Kelly first heard about Wonders & Worries through her involvement with the Travis County Medical Alliance (TCMA), a group that helps foster social networks for the families of medical professionals, among other goals. In Kelly’s case, the organization accomplished just that when she found a kindred spirit in Meredith Cooper, co-founder of Wonders & Worries. She has now been involved on the board for two years and has taken on more responsibility by chairing the committee for the 2018 annual event, Unmasked. The gala committee is comprised of both past participants in the organization as well as those who learned about the organization through friends, like Kelly. They meet regularly with the goal of spreading the word, making the plans, divvying up the work and raising funds to support Wonders & Worries.

Kelly shared that Wonders & Worries helps children with parents suffering from any life-threatening illness, not just cancer. One story at this year’s event will feature a mother of four who is a heart transplant patient. This type of situation is of particular interest to Kelly, as her husband is now a practicing heart surgeon. Wonders & Worries provides support and services to these families as a way to help them navigate the unknown journey of a parent facing a life-threatening illness. It offers services free of charge regardless of financial need so that families going through these difficult situations are not given one more decision to weigh based on finances. Kelly explained that parents are often dealing with their own roller coaster of a changing diagnosis and Wonders & Worries equips them with how to explain things to their children, like what it will be like in the hospital. Wonders & Worries provides individual and group sessions, along with family fun events and parent resources.

This year’s gala will help spread awareness to friends, family and physicians but the extra-special surprise of the soiree is being kept tightly under wraps– perhaps you could say, behind the mask. 😉 We do know there will be a fabulous meal complimented by signature cocktails and wine service, an entertaining live auction led by Cowboy Auctioneers, and after-party entertainment including the spinning styles of DJ Gatsby. You’ll have to attend to experience the full unveiling of Unmasked!

Get tickets for the February 23rd event here.

 

Spotlight on Austin Events: CASAblanca

Looking for a fabulous night out while giving back to the Austin Community? Consider attending the CASAblanca Gala benefitting CASA of Travis County on February 3, 2018 at the JW Marriott in downtown Austin.

If you know anything about CASA, you know just how much they do for kids in our community.  If you don’t know anything about CASA, you should definitely take a minute to familiarize yourself with this incredible organization.

CASA’s mission is to promote and protect the best interest of children who have been abused or neglected by training volunteers to advocate for them in the courts, in schools, and in our community to help them find safe, permanent, and loving homes.  Currently, CASA serves all children ages 5 and over with court appointed special advocates.  Through this year’s CASAblanca Gala, their hope is to be able to add enough volunteers and funding to expand that offering to children ages 2-5 who also need this service.

Victoria Young, Events Manager for CASA, has been working with this year’s magnificent gala chair, Donna Bell, and honorary chair, Catherine Sansbury as well as the gala committee to organize this year’s event entitled “creating brighter futures”.  This year marks the 25th anniversary of the gala and will include uniquely told stories of the children whose lives have been impacted by the wonderful work at CASA.  It will be moving and inspiring to all who attend.

In addition to the narratives, there will be live music by The Eggmen, performances by Violet Crown Collective, and a Verbena bloom bar with corsages, boutonnieres and other flower adornments for attendees.  In addition, there will be mystery boxes featuring Kendra Scott jewelry, a live and silent auction (get a sneak peak of what you can win on the event home page here), bling from Diamonds Direct (who will get to take home the real deal?), and a casino after party. It is definitely an event not to be missed.

So, what are you waiting for? Round up your friends and get your tickets to this fabulous event today. And if you are thinking about volunteering as a CASA advocate yourself, consider this from long time volunteer, K. Brown. “I would say if you have a love for children and basic human rights, then CASA is for you. It will be tough at first and you’ll give your entire heart to each child, but when you form that bond and become their advocate, you have officially changed that child’s life. There is no greater reward than protecting and defending a child from the abuse they have endured.”