It's a scene all too familiar to many nonprofits...
You've spent eight months preparing for your annual gala, live and silent auction. Dozens of volunteers and staff have put in countless hours marketing your event to the entire community, securing event sponsorships from local businesses, finalizing logistics and procuring exciting, buzzworthy items for the auction.
Finally, the big night arrives. The honorary "auctioneer," a local news anchor, has graciously agreed to lead your live auction pro bono. Everyone's excited to start the live auction...until it becomes clear your volunteer doesn't have enough experience in this area. He has trouble building momentum, leaves out important details on some items, lets your Fund-a-Need cash appeal fall flat and even misses a few raised bid paddles in the corners of the ballroom.
The energy deflates from the auction, and the night's total revenue is disappointing to say the least.
Event fundraising is expensive. It's understandable that nonprofits want to save wherever possible. But in our experience, the auctioneer is not the corner to cut.
In the live auction, the high point of the biggest fundraiser of the year, the stakes are too high to have the wrong person at the helm.
Professional certification in any field is a formal recognition one has the skills to perform a certain job and is committed to maintaining high standards. A certified Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) is an auctioneer with experience maximizing profits from benefit auctions in particular.
Our advice: Ask your local media personality or outgoing volunteer to serve as the night's emcee or host, and leave the live auction to the professionals. Read on to discover why hiring a BAS could be a game-changer for your next auction's bottom line!
As benefit auctioneer Danny Hooper notes, "If you were going to get a root canal and your neighbor was a proctologist that offered to do it for free, would you go to your neighbor or pay a dentist? Even though they’re both doctors, you want to go to the one that specializes."
It's very common for nonprofits to try and leverage other auctioneers from other professions, whether it be art, cattle, automobile, heavy machinery and more. These well-meaning auctioneers are experts in their fields, but unfortunately those skills don't directly translate to a charity auction.
Fact is, other auctioneers lack experience in the art of extracting money out of the entire audience. Charity auctioneers each have their own techniques and strategies that they use to extract as much money as possible from the entire crowd, and similarly they wouldn't have the skill set required to lead other auctions as well.
Looking for a qualified fundraising auctioneer? Click here to find a designated BAS with the National Auctioneers' Association.
Additionally, our Winspire Fundraising Specialists are happy to provide referrals for auctioneers in your area, plus information on incredible no-risk travel packages that raise more money in live auctions. Click below to request a call with your regional Fundraising Specialist.