Don’t skip the auction

Benefit dinners are about more than just the food – they’re a lifeline to financial security for your favorite nonprofit organization. That’s where auctions come in.

If you want to truly help out your do-good group of choice, don’t just attend the dinner, check out its auction offerings. You’ll find everything from hand-knit baby blankets to four-night weekends in Aspen.

Many items are surprisingly affordable. Because they’re donated, the organizations usually price them below their actual value, meaning if no one else loves that felt-and-silk scarf you adore, you can get it for a song.

Some aficionados of the charity dinner have been known to hover about, waiting to see if someone bids after them. And some organizations encourage that by keeping the auction open to the final minute, even as people are sitting down to dinner.

“It’s sort of fun to watch people guarding their items,” said Lee Hagar of Adaptive Sports Association, which will hold its Harvest Gala and auction Oct. 18. “We like that part.”

So whether its jewelry or wine, pottery or a quilt or just something for your fussy Aunt Mabel, a charity auction can likely provide it. And you, in turn, can help keep the lights on at your favorite cause.

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