Call for donations for the Wanda Chin Professional Development Silent/Live Auction

Western Museums Association Annual Meeting-2012

Palm Springs, California


How do you like to help your colleagues?  What is a fun way to support learning for professionals? How do you or your museums like to participate at our annual meetings and know you are making a worthy donation? What is way to help support your travel and get to the annual meetings?

One way is the Wanda Chin Professional Development Support Fund.

Since 1997 our annual meeting has featured a silent auction in the exhibit hall as well as a lively live auction for those special items. The proceeds from the auction will fund the scholarship program of the Western Museums Association, helping to fund travel and participation in the annual meeting for professionals who might otherwise not be able to attend. This program is a vital component in our mission to reach all sectors of our constituency.

Below are ideas for contributions that work well to bring in worthy items to bid.  Please read through the paragraphs and get inspired and do not be afraid to ask your colleagues, gift shops, favorite merchants or friends to donate to this fun event.

***Auction items representing the location of the following year’s conference serve to generate enthusiasm for the site and incentive to extend stays to include visits to the area’s resorts, restaurants, and tourist destinations. ****

***The location of the conference can also help frame a theme or focus for auction items, for example: a wine-growing region provides opportunities to approach vintners for wine tastings, cases of wine, tours of several wineries; a ski area opens up the possibility of passes to a ski lodge, overnight accommodations, lift tickets.; Indian members’ tribes have donated hotel and golf packages.***

***For the optimal auction offerings, search out experiences and opportunities that cannot be purchased, are not commonly available, and are truly “priceless!”  These are the items that an auctioneer can generate enthusiasm for and bring in high returns from bidders.****

***Members’ personal connections to shop owners, resort managers, vintners, etc. are invaluable in successful solicitation of donations. But, even with an existing relationship the solicitation may require following-up a formal letter of request to the potential donor that explains the mission of the WMA and how the revenue from the sale of the item will be used. It is good to explain when making the request, that donations are tax deductible Many establishments require several weeks advance notice, with a formal request, to process consideration of the request.****

***Members of all regions are encouraged to consider offering vacation homes.****

***Donations of frequent flier miles are a great compliment a vacation package, add value and incentive to bid.****

***Museums are encouraged to consider offering behind-the-scenes tours, a tour of collections with the registrar or collections manager, a tour with the curator of a special exhibition, a a meal in the museum’s café. Museum exhibition catalogs and memberships are often donated to the auction. Museums with gift shops have also been generous and shown good results at the auction – often extending jewelry or other decorative items.****

***A consultant might offer to extend their services to a museum for an extra day or specified period, if hired for a minimal paid period.****

***Theme baskets are great donations to the silent auction. They can showcase a particular museum with items from its gift shop, or with a focus such as: regional wines, foods, crafts, arts, flora or fauna, special toiletries, children.***

***Art can be attractive to bidders, as well as collectibles of various kinds from members’ private collections.****

Now that you have read through this wonderful listing, please consider donating to this special cause.  It benefits all members of WMA and encourages participation in our annual meeting.

If you are interested in donating, please contact Ted A. Greenberg at for donation forms or other members of the WMA board who can assist you with any questions or forward your donations.




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