This one is easy, but not necessarily for every auction. It is a slight variation of the popular "54 Card Drawing", but can also be handled like any standard raffle the night of your charity auction.
In a nutshell...you sell your guests “the opportunity to take their choice of any item from the live auction before it even starts."
You pick the number of tickets to sell and the price at which they are offered.
Sell 100 chances @ $100 each for $10,000 profit! or Sell $50 Chances at $50 for $2500!
Every room has a different level of comfort for buying tickets at a given price.
Draw the winner immediately prior to the start of your Live Auction and the winner takes ANY item they want from the live.
Oftentimes, its pretty easy to guess, in advance, what the winner will choose. This will enable you to guesstimate the value of your prize and set your ticket prices appropriately. Make certain you don't have something in the live that could, under normal circumstances, fetch more than your expected gross ticket sales.
Selling 100 First Choice Tickets at $25 each is not going to work if you have a 14 Day Hawaiian Vacation, valued at $7500.00 in your live. In most live auctions, that item is going to perform very well and the winner will likely take the vacation. That's a problem if we only sold $2500 in tickets. You could lose $5000.00 on the deal.
Adjust ticket prices to make sure the math is in line. If you are not very confident you can SELL OUT the game, don't do it. Always assume they will take the best item in your auction.
If you have fewer than 300 people attending your event, really think hard about this game. Also take special note of your "event ticket price". Do people who paid $45 to attend your event, really take a $100 gamble? Anything is possible, but be realisitc on how many tickets you feel you can sell at that high price point. My experience is that to sell 50 chances at $100 each, you need at least 400 people in the room. Of course, Your milage may differ.
NOTE: I’ve seen organizations try to exclude one key item from the “first choice” because it was considered to be “exceptional”. I strongly disagree with this practice. It’s confusing all night to be explaining that you could win “almost anything” from the live.