Proper planning and smart investments are key to creating a successful and lasting event. The goal is to lay a solid foundation so you can have a successful event now and for years to come. One investment Nonprofits can make when planning a first-time event is hiring a professional benefit auctioneer.
While the upfront cost can make it tempting to skip hiring a professional auctioneer, this is actually a mistake. Let’s look at some of the reasons a charity event committee wouldn't make this investment:
1. You don't want professional advice
Benefit auctioneers will tell you they have a lot of experience planning and running charity auction events because they attend so many each year - which is true. The benefit auctioneers we work with are booked almost every weekend of the year hosting multiple charity events around the country.
Hiring a professional auctioneer who has experience with charity events means having a consultant at your disposal during the event-planning process. This is particularly beneficial for first-time events when the planning committee is just learning the ropes.
You may have trusted friends and colleagues who can offer advice, but their scope is limited to their experience, organization and audience. No one is going to be able to offer the breadth of knowledge that comes from an experienced professional who works and attends so many nonprofit events each year.
2. You don't want to save time and money
Auctioneers will also tell you they can help you save time and resources while you're planning your event. This is also true - if your job had your working two, three or sometimes four charity events per week, you're going to figure out pretty quick what works and what doesn't.
These professionals want to help and can provide a third-party's independent view on the other investments and purchases you have to make leading up to the event. Everything from the venue to the agenda to A/V rentals, catering, entertainment, decorations, auction item procurement, consignment, sponsorships, ticket sales, bidding technology, etc. Having someone to simply check in with and ask, "Have you heard of this company? What's your experience with them?" is priceless and can save you loads of precious time and money.
The goal is to hire a professional benefit auctioneer three months or more prior to the event so you can take advantage of these consultative services. Don’t wait until the event’s second year. The auctioneer will simply tell you what you did wrong in the past, and hindsight - while helpful - is always 20/20.
3. You don't want your guests to have a good time
In addition to consulting, professional benefit auctioneers bring plenty of value to the event itself. Their main responsibility is to be an emcee and run the auction, but you’ll quickly find that their professional skills help at a much deeper level.
It sounds obvious, but you really do want attendees to have a great time. Benefit auctioneers are there to entertain. They are trained to work the crowd and keep attendees happy and engaged. With quick wit and charismatic personalities, these experts will keep crowds interested before, during and after the auction.
4. You don't want your auction items to sell
During the live auction, an auctioneer will involve the entire audience, inspiring passion and excitement that will get them to step out on a limb and bid in both the live and silent auctions. Before the event, auctioneers will get to know your charity and your mission so they can address the audience with genuine enthusiasm and authority. A good auctioneer will have the kind of high energy and a pleasant presentation that boosts bids without pressure.
5. You don't want to maximize your event revenue
Selling more auction items is great - especially when it starts bringing in some cash. This is ultimately the reason for hiring an auctioneer, right? Well, auction items are only one revenue source. Auctioneers are also especially effective at special appeals, which can sometimes raise even more than the auction. Also known as a "Fund-A-Need", the most important thing is to keep the energy up, encourage participation and feed off any momentum that is generated - all skills a professional auctioneer has mastered.
Find the right professional to maximize your investment
It’s important to find a professional charity auctioneer with experience and a style you like. Ask for references from people you trust. Interview at least two or three auctioneers and ask about their techniques for entertainment, methods for keeping things on course and philosophies for how they approach a project. Keep in mind that auctioneers with a Benefit Auction Specialist (BAS) designation from the National Auctioneers Association have completed advanced training that makes them fundraising specialists.
Looking for a benefit auctioneer in your area? Here at Winspire we work with the best partners in the charity auction industry. Request a free event consultation today and one of our event consultants will reach out to refer a benefit auctioneer in your area.
Remember, smart investments today will make the difference between a mediocre one-time event and a successful event that becomes a highly anticipated annual tradition.
If you have any experience with hiring a professional benefit auctioneer - good or bad - I want to hear about it! Please leave a comment with your story.