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Fundraiser Auction Entertainment Ideas – Portrait Photos and Boothomatic

Three of my auction fundraisers this past year have had professional portraits offered on-site. The photo offers guests a remembrance of your benefit auction. Portrait photography works especially well for charity auctions which tend to have co-workers attending, such as corporate and hospital foundations. Guests look spiffy, so the photos show employees in their best light (all the better, considering those photos may show up on the company intranet).

This auction idea works for four reasons:

– The activity allows company departments and smaller teams of co-workers to have their photo taken together, which is a nice touch.

– A photo with a traditional background seems more professional with your co-workers than, for instance, a backdrop of Las Vegas.

– The photos allow for more flexibility later, such as if the company’s foundation wanted to include a photo of the work team in an issue of the company newsletter, or even in a proposal for a prospective client.

– When individuals have a portrait taken, the finished headshot can be used for business cards or on the external company website.

Near the entrance to the silent auction is usually the best location for the photography station. The photographer will show guests where to stand and offer basic instructions to capture the best angle and shot. For group photos, the photographer often takes a hands-on approach to ensuring everyone is in the photograph. Guests are given a photo, often housed in a cardstock black frame.

The developed photos are displayed on a table near the check-out area so guests can take their photo as they leave. Photos with groups of people are developed multiple times so each person in the photo can take a copy home.

In short, this is a good activity for fundraising auctions. The big perk is that you can use those photos in a multi-purpose way long after the event is finished.

A second photo option for charity auctions

I read an article from BizBash’s newsletter entitled “The Photo Booth That Can Capture the Whole Party.” http://www.bizbash.com/newyork/content/editorial/16574_a_photo_booth_that_can_capture_the_whole_party.php It talks about a new portable photo-booth AKA, the Boothomatic which rolls around the party, enabling guests to take photos wherever they might be.

After reading the short article and checking out the photo, here are my immediate thoughts as to whether the Boothomatic would work in a benefit auction environment.

My immediate thought is that this is something for a younger crowd. I can see as where Generation Y or Generation Z would totally get into this! But I don’t envision most of the guests at my benefit auction (age 40+) comfortably jumping in front of the booth without encouragement from an outgoing photographer.

I’m still unclear after reading the article as to whether a photographer supervises the booth. If he does and if that photographer is a gregarious type who can comfortably corral guests for photos this would work. But if the booth is not supervised, my crowds would ignore it.

In many hotels, the Boothmatic would work fine. But if the auction is to be held in an unusual facility such as a historic home or even an outdoor garden, I’d consider alternative forms of entertainment. You’ll want a venue (and a floor!) that allows the booth to roll unencumbered.

I love that photographs of the event are available for download from a website! They also offer customized packages. My only concern is that once again some of my less savvy older guests won’t understand how to download photos from a site. Those same guests *would* take home a photo of themselves if it’s printed onsite, but they would be less likely to check a website in the days following the gala.

The price in New York is apparently $2500 for a 4-hour rental. I don’t know NYC rates well enough to gauge if this is in-line with other forms of photo entertainment or not. But given that there are no printed photographs available to guests onsite, I would hope that the Boothomatic would be less in price than something, say, like portrait photography.

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