Printer’s Plates Revitalize Silent Auctions Ideas

A few months ago I had written an article about a unique silent auction idea involving printer’s plates. Here’s a quick refresher before I get to my experience:

Printer’s plates are the image from the unique silent auction ideas newspaper’s front page. These plates are relatively easy to obtain, even without a contact at the paper. For example, you can check your local newspaper’s Contact Us page and find either a telephone number or email address to begin the process.

They make for nice silent auction items because they are unusual. Multiple plates are often made of the various front pages so you may be able to obtain one that has historical significance such as Presidential inaugurations, World Series, etc.

At a recent benefit auction, I was doing a walk-through with my client before guests arrived. As we approached these plates (one of which was a gorgeous printer’s plate from an uplifting day in history for Cal Ripken and his fans), she said, “We’re really excited about these.”

“Wow!, “I said, “How interesting. I wrote about how to get these donated a few months ago, but I don’t often see them in auctions.” “I know you wrote about it,” she said, “That’s how I got the idea.”

Turns out, this ambitious auction chair read every one of my blog posts and subscribed to my FREE e-zine to prepare for her auction. When she read my blog post about printer’s plates, she asked one of her auction team members to follow-up with a local newspaper. The newspaper sent this group — amazing! — two beautiful historical plates with copies of the front page framed.

She was so excited to have them in the auction. And now I was excited, too. I couldn’t believe how nice these were. The newspaper donated two sports-related printer’s plates. These plates were different than what I’d seen donated from The Wall Street Journal. These were clearly more contemporary-looking. The plates were printed on a polyester plate material that looked like a metal.

Final numbers are still out, but a preliminary audit indicates that the auction related activities raised twice as much as in year’s past. They also hit a new attendance record. (Let’s not forget that at the time of this writing, we’re still in a recession.) Friends, making money at a benefit auction is simply a matter of using a proven system with a little creative planning.