Missing a donor’s attempt to bid during the Live Auction has many bad consequences, from losing money for your cause, to offending a donor who wants to give. That’s why at Live Auctions there are bid spotters in the audience who act as the eyes of the auctioneer. Their job is to assist relaying the bids from your attendees to your auctioneer. You might need as few as two and as many as 25 Bid Spotters, depending on the size of your event.

But what tools might be used to get the auctioneer’s attention on stage? Are flashlights the right call? We have seen every form of flashlight: light sabers, magic wands, glow rings, regular flashlights, airplane landing style flashlights, you name it.

One problem, of course, with any lighted device is that it is a risk—either mechanically, or by the person operating it. Batteries fail or are weak; switches and bulbs break. …Or, the users fail you. They waive them around without realizing they are signaling a bid. They point them at each other while “having fun” during the auction. Or, they point them at your eyes in a darkened room. Even when they are working well and used well you are competing against the many lights of a room. Simply put, they are often very hard to see.

Need an alternative that saves on cost? I prefer a simple white cloth napkin--easy to use; multidimensional when waived; nothing to fail mechanically; and unless you’re a magician, nothing especially fun to play with. Save the flashlights for the campground and make money appear by waving the white napkins.