"We have a local radio personality emcee our program. She also handles our live auction and paddle raise. I’m wondering what could happen if we pair her with a professional? "
"When Winspire contacted me, I wasn't interested at first. I used to think consignment took the money out of the room. I'm proud to say I've been proven wrong," shared Keith Jones, benefit auctioneer and CEO of Sayre & Jones Auctioneers, in a recent webinar. "A big part of that is the ability to sell multiples."
When it comes to charity auctions, procuring quality items tends to be auction organizers' biggest challenge. Once you do wrangle those big-ticket items, are you all set? Not so fast - it's now time to consider the order in which they're presented.
The easiest way to set opening bids in your live auction, is to leave it to the pros! Check out these real-life submissions from recent webinar Q&As...
"Do fundraising auctioneers typically know how to start the bidding in a live auction, and do you have any recommendations as to what amounts to start at?"
When it comes to hosting a successful fundraising auction, few can do it alone. You'll need several passionate, organized committee chairs with a laser-sharp focus on specific aspects of your event.
What are the most essential event chair roles and responsibilities? And how can you find the right person for each job?
We recently received the following email from a Winspire webinar attendee...
My board feels that paying $2,500 for a professional, highly-trained benefit auctioneer is out of line, considering a local personality has offered to facilitate the live auction for $250. How should I respond?
Lisa, this is one of the most common concerns we hear from auction organizers across the country, and it's easy to understand why. The number one priority at a fundraising event is to raise money for your cause. When an opportunity to trim costs by 90 percent comes along, you want to consider it!
That said, we've found it's more effective to focus on generating more revenue first - then trim costs where you can.
Whether it's your first or fiftieth auction, chances are you could benefit from employing some new techniques to extract money from the audience. There's virtually always money left to give, and new strategies give you the tools to raise more without making guests feel nickel-and-dimed.
Today we're joined by Nelson Jay, the "Bowtie Benefit Auctioneer" based in Seattle, Wash. In a recent episode of our podcast Events with Benefits, Jay provided a bevy of ideas from the cutting edge of event fundraising.
Read on as Jay shares a warm-up activity that can generate thousands for fundraising events on the smaller side. As an added bonus, we've included a preview of the full podcast with Jay's tips for closing a silent auction and his take on no-risk consignment items.
Whether it's your first gala or your tenth - whether you've prepared for one year or one month - on the night of your fundraising event, you never know quite what's going to happen.
There's a lot of shifting dynamics from the moment the doors open until the last guest leaves.
So it's imperative to have someone experienced with a birds' eye view leading the way - and the most important person in the room that night will be the fundraising auctioneer.
Unlike amateur emcees or other types of auctioneers, benefit auctioneers are highly trained and have special expertise to extract the most money from the room possible.
"A good benefit auctioneer eats, sleeps and breathes fundraising auctions," explains Scott Robertson, certified benefit auctioneer specialist from Naples, FL. "We make it our practice to study events, timelines, human psychology, all the things necessary to make one particular event a success."
With an estimated 90 percent of benefit auctioneers providing pre-event consultation, more and more nonprofits have discovered event fundraising knowledge is power - power that puts more money into your charity’s pocket.
Read on for Robertson's tried-and-true techniques for maximizing live and silent auction revenue, then listen to the entire 40-minute Events with Benefits podcast episode embedded at the end of this post.
In honor of our upcoming webinar all about maximizing the timeline of your live auction, let's talk for a minute about the most important person in the room: your auctioneer.
Think of your fundraising event as a championship football game. The game kicks off as the doors swing open. The clock has started ticking. Your team has only so much time to score as many points as possible until the opportunity has passed, and you have to wait until next year.
At a fundraising auction, once the game is underway, you truly don't know what exactly is going to happen. You don't know what opportunities are going to present themselves throughout the evening that you can capitalize on to generate unexpected revenue.
With the stakes this high, you need a quarterback that's trained to deliver under pressure.
By investing in a benefit auctioneer, you've got someone at the helm calling plays, generating momentum and dodging common live auction pitfalls—think delayed start times, awkward transitions, out-of-order items and more.
Of course, it can be hard for auction organizers to justify the expense. So in today's post we'll answer a few common questions asked by real-life nonprofit pros and volunteers, including...
- How can I sell our event committee on using a professional fundraiser auctioneer?
- Why do we need an auctioneer if we have an emcee?
- What should you look for in an auctioneer?
- How do I find a qualified auctioneer?
- How much does hiring an auctioneer typically cost?
- ...and more!
Read on for 4 common reasons nonprofits skip using benefit auctioneers - and how doing so could stunt their revenue potential in 2017.
Reason 1: We have an auctioneer donating their services for free.
It's quite common for nonprofits to try to leverage generous offers from auctioneers in other fields - say art, cattle, automobile, heavy machinery and more. This is predicated on the assumption that they're using the same skills to sell items.
Unfortunately, it's not that simple.
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!