|by Murray Archibald|
|Team Players and other tales of the Sundance Auction
On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend the doors of the RB Convention Center will open for the first night of the 18th Annual Sundance benefitthe Sundance 2005 Live and Silent Auction. Over the years the Auction has raised an enormous amount of money for Sundance and with over 500 items in all price ranges it attracts a diverse mix of men and womenboth young and old, gay and straight. It's a huge success that sells out early and is fun for allyou get to shop and party at the same time.
I wasn't always for the Auction, I have to confess. We started Sundance way back in 1988 as a dance at the now legendary Strand dance club on Rehoboth Avenue. When Steve [Elkins] suggested that we add an auction before the dance, my first thought was that he was crazy, but in 1990 at the third Sundance we did just thatand the rest is history, as the saying goes.
That first auction, I think, had less than 50 items, but it quickly became apparent that it was a great way to make more money and involve more people in the community. Of course, that first year, the auction ended and all of a sudden we realized that we really had not given much thought to what happed after the auctionlike figuring out how we were supposed to know who was highest bidder and how many items they were supposed to be paying for. Fortunately, some quick thinking volunteers jumped in and solved the problems and everyone went home happy.
Over the years the system we developed for handling the auction has proved to be a good one, but one that now depends on quite a few more than "a couple" of volunteers. Now there are whole teams of people working to make it all happen.
The Auction event officially begins when the auction letter is mailed to all the businesses and past donors (mailing team). After that, comes a follow-up call and/or a pickup trip (phone team, pickup team) or in the case of new donors a cold call (cold call team). As the items begin to arrive at the CAMP office they are tagged and sent on to the official Sundance Auction Co-Chair Natalie Moss, who personally numbers and enters a brief description into the Auction database. Four days before the event, Sundance volunteers (decor team, facilities team) set up the auction room (set up team) at the Convention Center and graphics and computer rooms for, of course, the (graphics team) and the (copy writing and computer teams), and move (moving team) all the items to the auction room where they are assigned a space that corresponds to their auction number. The auction items remain in the auction room until the above mentioned graphics, copy writing, and computer teams have completed all the materials that accompany each item including mounted descriptions and bid sheets.
On the morning of the event all of the items are moved out on the auction floor (auction item setup team, decor team, display team) in preparation for the evenings auction. At 9:15 that night, when the silent auction closes, volunteers (auction floor teams) immediately gather the bid sheets and take them to Natalie and her crew (auction tally team) where the results are quickly tabulated and entered on both large foam core signs and into the database. As soon as the bid sheets have been collected, the auction floor teams remove all the auction items to the auction pick up area where another team (the auction room team) returns the items to their assigned location. When the silent auction ends, the live auction (auctioneer team, spotting team, and the "Vanna White" team) conduct the live auction. As the live auction ends, and the tabulations arrive from the tally team, the cashiers and auction room teams begin the process of auction item pickup and purchase. On the following morning, the auction pick-up (Sunday auction pickup team) continues until 3 p.m., when any uncollected items go to the second highest bidder. At 4 p.m. any remaining items are re-auctioned live by the second auction auctioneer, second auction spotters, and the second auction "Vanna White" teams. The next day the whole move-in process is reversed (move out team) and all the display units, computers, decorations, and graphics materials are returned to their rightful place for another season.
Whew! I need a team just to help me remember all that!
I was about to say that I exaggerated a little, but the fact is, it really happens this wayand I didn't even include the food prep teams, food service teams, bartenders, door, security, tickets, and the light and sound crews.
Most years we write about the vast array of auction items, and I don't want to make light of the generous contributions that area business and individuals have given to make the Sundance Auction and extraordinary eventwe again have furniture, a hot tub, art, vacation packages and dinners at almost all of the area's finest restaurants (plus food by the Blue Moon, incredible gourmet desserts from Joel Robbins and Michael Linder and an open bar all night)but none of it would happen without the dedication and efforts of the Sundance Production Team Captains and the many volunteers who make up the Sundance Teams. All of them are "team players" who make working on Sundance as fun and exciting as is the event.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No. 12 August 26, 2005