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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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How do I contribute something to the Interfilk auction or Fan Fund?

Question: How do I contribute something to the Interfilk auction or Fan Fund?

I'm hoping that representatives of Interfilk and/or the Fan Fund step up here to volunteer info, since my info is limited. If anyone there can help describe the internal process of how items are accepted as well as offer any tips of items which do/don't sell, please do post below!

How to contribute

In my experience, you can contribute to the Interfilk auction by bringing the item or items that you plan to contribute to the convention, or getting someone to take it for you. Depending on the convention, the Interfilk donation table is usually set up sometime on Friday evening. Don't just leave your item on the table...find out who's in charge, and let them know you have something to contribute. It's best to wait AFTER the table has been set up rather than bug the Interfilk rep beforehand.

You'll be asked to fill out a short form with your name, a brief description of the item, and a suggested starting bid (if you want to specify one).

My auction item went for a much lower price than I expected! How come?

It's difficult to predict what will sell well at an auction. I find it depends heavily on the people in the room, and if more than one person wants your item, and how badly they want your item.

I've found that uniqueness is a big factor. If people know they can just as easily buy the item online, then they won't have as much incentive to get into a bidding war.

But in the end, my advice is to focus on the fact that you're helping Interfilk. Don't count on showcasing yourself or your new CD or other project you're trying to push. Sure, the egoboo is always nice, but remind yourself of WHY Interfilk auctions exist.

Contributions: they all count, no matter how small

Kudos to everyone out there who has ever contributed to Interfilk in any way, especially those whose contributions may seem small and may not get the limelight shared by some of the "bigger" items in auctions. Most items tend to go straight to voice auction, but I strongly suspect that the sum that these lower-profile items have raised exceeds the sum raised by the higher-profile items. Both are important to the auction, in my opinion; "bigger" items often add to the entertainment value of an Interfilk auction, and can draw more people who may very well end up putting in bids for smaller items as well.

If you've ever contributed an item to Interfilk, no matter how small, please do post about it below; hopefully this will encourage more people to contribute. Also feel free to highlight anyone you think has made a significant contribution to Interfilk auctions but doesn't tend to be in the limelight as much as others.

What is Interfilk?
What is an Interfilk wench?

Reader Comments (2)

In the UK a Filk Fund Auction table is normally set up in the dealer's room and you just put your things on the table and that's it. We experiemtned with having bidding sheets but sufficiently few people put bids on them that everything ended up going to voice auction anyway.

Unique or not easily available items usually sell best but it's hard to tell from before what's going to make the most money, and it depends on the mood of the audience. In all the auctions I've been to if you want to donate something just so that you have then chocolate is usually the best bet. It normally sells for well over it's retail value, in the US and Canada especially so if it's not normally available in that location or if it's unusual (eg chocolate barbecue sauce I took to FKO once sold really well), or if several things have been bundled together attractively.

March 3, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterLissa Allcock

As a Director for Interfilk perhaps I can help with this.

Usually, but not always, Interfilk accepts donations for auction at conventions, very much as Debbie described. We do ask that donors fill out a bid slip, naming/describing the article and the expected starting bid. We receive far too many items for every item to go to voice auction, so usually silent bids are taken, art show style. Usually five bids will send an item to voice auction. In some cases, especially when a unique musical item is involved, the directors, and only the directors, will send an item straight to voice auction. Then, it's the whim of the bidders, and how well the auctioneer and the wenches present the item.

There are other ways to donate to Interfilk. Some performers have signed over royalties when they've appeared on a con recording. These amounts usually run to $5-10 a year, but enough people have done this that it adds up. We are not averse to accepting simple donations, in check, money order, whatever.

FWIW, Interfilk is entirely volunteer run. We draw no salaries, and get precious few perks. There is no paid staff. Mostly we don't even get expenses reimbursed. Your donations and bids go to the purpose of Interfilk, which is sending filkers who are interesting and worthy of exposure to cons they normally would not attend.


March 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJudith Hayman
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