Auctions… & Events


It was time for a new logo!  And here it is!  Also – Stephen Kilbreath Benefit Auctions, is now Stephen Kilbreath Auctions & Events.

The main part of our business will always be consulting and fundraising for non-profits, but if your group needs an emcee or professional item reader who is familiar with what is needed to bring your event to the next level – we have that person!


Sound Systems


Check in / Check out

Corporate MC’s

Event MC’s

Auction Item Readers

Bid Numbers

Bid Assistants (Spotters)

We can take care of every aspect of your event.



Greater Giving


I have really been impressed with Greater Giving’s platform.  Anything you could possibly need for your event is taken care of.  And the customer support is awesome.  They have solutions to help you streamline your event.  They are also the leaders in nonprofit technology.  They also have a wonderful blog  with great ideas and up-to-date fundraising trends.

Whatever cause is your passion — Greater Giving solutions can help you be more effective in your fundraising efforts.

 Greater Giving™ is headquartered in Beaverton, Oregon, with satellite office across the U.S.  Our solutions are designed exclusively for nonprofits and schools— enabling them to raise more funds with mobile bidding, online registration and donations, event management software, payment processing and peer-to-peer fundraising tools.

Visit or call 800-276-5992 to find out more!

Questions you NEED to ask your potential benefit auctioneer.


  • How experienced are you in non-profit or school fund-raising auctions?
  • How many fund-raising auctions do you conduct each year?
  • What percentage of your business is fund-raising auctions?
  • Do you have the BAS (Benefit Auctioneer Specialist) professional designation?
  • How would you describe your bid-calling technique?
  • What was one of the toughest situations you have encountered as an auctioneer – and how was it resolved?
  • How do you interact with the crowd?
  • What is your Raise The Paddle / Fund-An-Item / Special Appeal strategy?
  • Other than night-of auctioneering, what other services do you provide?
  • What value can you bring to our event?
  • Tell us why your style would be a good fit for our organization.

You may also want to give them some information about a situation that occurred at your event and see how the potential auctioneer would have handled it differently.


Less than a month from the big event?


  • The final push to get people registered for your event.  Continue with your marketing plan.  Highlight special auction items, and your Special Appeal need in email correspondence and through Social Media.
  • Finalize the silent auction and live auction.  Using thoughtful discussions to pick which items will be best for your audience.
  • Finalize the catalog, and get it printed.
  • Create a power-point presentation for your live auction items.
  • Have a meeting with MC (item reader) and auctioneer.  The event can be more successful with them having a good working relationship.  Make sure both understand why money is being raised, and also things such as timelines, and name pronounciations.
  • Finalize all aspects of the Special Appeal, including speaker, video, fundraising goals, etc.
  • Make sure you have live auction invoices, and silent auction bid sheets.
  • Are the volunteers trained on their jobs at your event?  This is crucial as the volunteers are representing your organization at this event, and they need to be educated on what their role is.
  • Meet with the auctioneer to go over timeline, and make sure they have more information about items, guests, etc. than they need.
  • Make display boards for silent auction items, and revenue enhancers
  • Assign guests to tables, and assign bid numbers to guests.  Also, get bidder packets ready for the night of your event.


Continuing in the series of planning an auction!  Yes, you need to start doing things 12 months out!  If you missed part 1 & 2, you can click on the link below!



  • Time for everyone on the committee to know their role, and for committee leaders to start developing plans and assign tasks.
  • Make sure your sponsorships and underwriting are meeting your event goals.
  • Save-The-Date cards should be mailed out, and invitations should be in the design stage.
  • Review marketing plan on how you are going to get the RIGHT people at your event.  If you haven’t already, develop a website specifically dedicated to your fundraising event.
  • In addition to a website – start promoting your event through social media.  You can even create a hash-tag specifically dedicated to your fundraising event.
  • Go through your current procurement – and discuss with your auctioneer what is needed to round out your auction.  Pick items specifically designed for your crowd.  Also – set a procurement deadline.
  • IMPORTANT – Begin brainstorming your mission and goal for your Special Appeal.  Are you doing a video?  Are you having a speaker?  Work with your auctioneer to determine how will achieve your goal.
  • All the logistics of your event should be worked out – it is now down to the details.

Making Everything Count

January 21 – 2016 I am teaming up with Greater Giving for a seminar to MAKE EVERYTHING COUNT!


How can you reduce your fundraising stress while maximizing auction returns? This seminar will teach you how to enhance what you are already doing for your auction, avoid operational pitfalls, and streamline processes for maximum results. You’ll also learn how to make your event night and program run smoothly through best-practice technology planning. In this seminar, we will share the tips, tricks, and strategies learned at hundreds of benefit auctions. You’ll get the best practices compiled from the experience of thousands of Greater Giving Clients. You’ll also get some new strategies to help your paddle raise excel.

At this seminar, you will learn how to stand out with tips on:

  • How to improve your silent auction performance
  • Procurement
  • Revenue generating ideas
  • Best practice technology
  • Streamline check in/out
  • Mobile Bidding

Many organizations are looking for information about the next new thing in silent auctions: Mobile Bidding. During the seminar, we will cover new trends in fundraising using mobile bidding technologies. We’ll discuss how to drive participation and raise more funds with ease using Greater Giving’s Mobile Bidding. If you would like to see a live demo of Greater Giving Mobile Bidding on your mobile phone, please include a mobile phone number in the provided field for each attendee when registering.

Thursday, January 21, 2016 – Tacoma, WA
9:30 am-12:30 pm
Check-in begins 30 minutes prior to start time.

Holiday Inn Express & Suites, Tacoma Downtown
2102 South C Street
Tacoma, WA 98402

Cost: $19.95
AM beverages and lunch will be served


Stephen Kilbreath, BAS, Stephen Kilbreath Benefit Auctions, Stephen has been a fundraising auctioneer since the early 90s, calling hundreds of auctions across the country – from California, Arizona, Nebraska, Missouri, Washington, DC and Oregon – with most of the auctions in and around the Seattle area. Stephen has also been in Seattle broadcasting for over 20 years, and is currently seen weekdays on KING-5 in Seattle, and throughout the northwest on Northwest Cable News. He was also on the radio for more than 20 years on 94.1 KMPS & KUBE 93.3 – bringing him into people’s homes every morning. Stephen is a brand in his own right that your auction guests will recognize and respect! His style is entertaining and conversational – making it an enjoyable and memorable evening for your guests.

Kim Bauman, Area Marketing Manager, Greater Giving, started using the company’s solutions as a parent volunteer for her children’s school auction in 2002. She was so impressed with the software and the company that she joined the team in 2005. Due to her commitment to area schools and nonprofits, Kim continues to volunteer to assist at a variety of fundraising events, honing her skills in using Greater Giving software to streamline event planning and execution and night-of-event check-in and checkout processes.


12 months is probably the average amount of time people spend on planning their big fundraiser.  Over the next month or so, I am going to put together a YEAR-OUT timeline that will detail some of the things that need to get done in that time frame.  It is a broad list, and everything may not apply to you and your event, or organization.

The first list 10-12 months can be found here

The 2nd one 7-10 MONTHS out.


  • Establish committees.  Often times it is best to have one or two people in charge, who are able to make decisions.  But certainly those leaders need to have committees.  Fill committees with people who have personal strengths in the roles they are assigned.
  • Conduct an Acquisition Party.  Time to start procuring items for your auction.  Stephen Kilbreath Auctions & Events, can even hold procurement rallies for your board members, or your PTA.  This also includes putting together donation forms.  This also includes putting together solicitation letters
  • Finalize your theme, location and marketing plan.  Think about how you are going to get the RIGHT people at your event.  Go through your invitation list.  See who was at your event last year, and who you need to get back at your event THIS year.
  • Develop save-the-date cards, and work on how you will promote your event.
  • Make sure you have some sort of auction software, or a way to keep track of all the items you are collecting for your event.  Auction software can also help you keep track of your invitation list.
  • You need items, and you need guests, but you also need sponsorships and underwriting.
  • Make sure you have hired a professional audio/visual company.  A company that will do a walk-through and give you just what you need to make your event heard by everyone in the room.


The Dessert Dash is a fun way to make a lot of money for your organization.  If you don’t know what one is, you should probably give me a call… But I am going to blog about some things that can really increase revenue in the Dessert Dash.

TIP #1

On the bid sheet you put on the table pre-fill your guests bid number, instead of leaving it blank.  That way all they have to do it put down the amount they want to contribute for the table.  If the bid number (or even the guests name) it is harder to say no.  Guests don’t want to see a blank by their bid number, especially if everyone else has filled it in!


I once did an auction for someone in less than a month.  From concept, to procurement, to picking location, to EVERYTHING – in less than a month.  Luckily, it was VERY successful.  We were lucky.  I do not recommend doing it that way AT ALL, in fact 12 months out is probably the average amount of time people spend on planning their big fundraiser.  Over the next month or so, I am going to put together a YEAR-OUT timeline that will detail some of the things that need to get done in that time frame.  It is a broad list, and everything may not apply to you and your event, or organization.  This first one 10-12 MONTHS out.

10-12 MONTHS

  • Hire a professional auctioneer.  And make sure you set up an initial consultation, so you can go over concepts, and get to know the person you have hired.
  • Pick a date and venue – Some venues are booked 2 years out!  Also start thinking about possible themes for your event, and revenue enhancers you may want to include at your event.
  • Select an auction chairperson – The person who will be able to answer questions and most importantly make decisions.
  • Establish a budget – Make sure it is reasonable and your spending is in line with what your group and guests can afford.
  • Think about an admission price to your event.  Remember it is a fundraiser, so set the price at a point to where the seats will be filled.  Selling out is a good problem to have – unless the price was TOO low.
  • Establish fundraising goals – Make sure it is reasonable and your goals are in line with what your group and guests will be willing to donate.
  • Develop a marketing plan.  How are you going to get the RIGHT people in the seats?  You also need to explore your donor base to see who in the past has spent money at your event.
  • Pick committee members.  People who will get things done, under your direction.  They understand the mission, and understand the point of the fundraiser.