PROFILE #9 – Camp Gallagher

As fundraising auctioneers, we get to work with some amazing non-profit organizations.  From time to time we are going to highlight some of those organizations and the amazing work they do.  The best part of our job is raising much needed funds for great organizations like: Camp Gallagher


Camp Gallagher, a place for discovery and adventure, provides opportunities for personal growth in a safe environment through challenge and exploration on land and water, giving campers improved self-confidence, life-long friendships, and an appreciation of their environment.


Gallagher is a place where campers live in simplicity and community, discovering and exploring the environment around them.



Campers will:
Embrace and observe the beauty of the world that surrounds them. Gain self-esteem by learning new skills in cooperation with others.  Build confidence through group activities such as the challenge and ropes course and overnight adventures.  Show courage by sharing ideas and taking risks to challenge themselves and others to push beyond their comfort level to learn and explore.  Unwind and unplug while living each day from sun-up to sundown. Be empowered when learning to do something they never thought they could.  Observe how the moon affects the ebb and flow of the tides.  Learn competence in new situations.   Gain an appreciation of the out-of-doors through experiences in the forest and on the beach.


Campers will:
Persevere and problem solve. Build: sand castles, forts in the woods and campfires, meals.  Keep an open mind and listen to other ideas. Develop friendships and lasting memories while sharing daily experiences with friends. Create community while playing, boating and spending time on overnights cooking with their lodge.  Nurture creativity, curiosity and critical thinking while planning daily activities. Foster an environment that will show others social responsibility while living in a community.


Campers will:
Gain respect for the environment and learn how they impact the land they live on.  Gain navigation and water safety skills during two or three day overnights while sailing, canoeing or kayaking in the south Puget Sound. Play wide games and strategize with their fellow team members.  Hike in a pristine, yet rustic outdoor setting on South Puget Sound.  Acquire boating skills while kayaking and canoeing on the south Puget Sound. Learn to be resourceful and grow and stretch as they tackle and problem solve new situations.


Campers will:
Share, reflect and build new friendships while telling stories and singing songs at sundown and campfire at the end of each day.  Care for others and discover their personal strengths.  Respect others and the environment and gain an understanding of their impact upon the land they live on.  Share ideas and work together to create community.




CRAFTS – Get creative with help from our craft specialist and many fantastic craft supplies. We encourage campers to create a unique craft for a fellow camper in our end-of-session potlatch ceremony.


GAMES – Gals vs. Guys? Campers vs. Staff? It’s on! We take ‘Capture the Flag’ to a new level with our beach version of the game: Styx. And don’t forget about the most beloved Gallagher pastime of all, kickball before sundown.

THEMES – Each session of Camp Gallagher centers around a theme, culminating in an exciting ‘theme night’ at the end of the session. Past theme nights include a Gallagher Circus, a Haunted Halloween in July, Casino Night and Gallagher Prom Night.

SUNDOWN – The most iconic Gallagher tradition of all, Sundown is a chance for campers to gather, sing songs, share their thoughts with each other and bask in the unparalleled beauty of the Camp Gallagher sunset.


CAMPFIRE – What’s camping without a real, roaring campfire? We end every night (other than ‘theme night’) with a campfire on the beach. Campers lead songs, from feet-stompin’ favorites like ‘Flea’ to softer tunes like ‘Ripple’  played on the acoustic guitar.


CANOEING – Navigating the Puget Sound by canoe is a fantastic way to take in the area’s natural beauty, bond with fellow campers and travel to charming overnight spots on neighboring shores.


SAILING – Sailing has a big role at Camp Gallagher, with campers navigating the waterfront on small Sunfish, larger sailboats and even building their own rafts with tarp sails!

KAYAKING – Whether you’re heading out for a picnic lunch or a two-night overnight, kayaks are a pretty spectacular way to travel (not to mention a great way to buff up those biceps). Just don’t forget the sunscreen!


SWIMMING – It may be chilly, it may be salty, but there’s nothing quite as refreshing as a swim in the Puget Sound. From early-morning lemming runs to afternoon wading, campers are invited to enjoy the sparkling Gallagher waters under the supervision of our lifeguards.

OVERNIGHTS – Explore the Puget Sound like Peter Puget! For one or two nights, we set course for campsites across the south Puget Sound, sleeping under the stars and cooking meals over an open campfire.




Sound Experience

Athletes For Kids

Friendship Circle

Camp Rosenbaum

Growing Veterans


Center for Human Services

Do you publicize the value of your auction items?

Do you publicize the value of your auction items?


This is a topic I have struggled with for years.  Should FMV (Fair Market Value) be listed in the catalog or not?  MY ANSWER – NO.  I don’t think values should be listed on the powerpoint, or in the catalog.  The listing of a FMV in the catalog or on the powerpoint could limit the amount of money you make on a live auction item.  People are generous for sure, but they may not be willing to pay 3x the amount of something, especially if they know the true FMV value.

The only time you need to add FMV to a catalog or powerpoint is when the value will help sell an item.  For instance if an item has a high value but your guests don’t realize how special and how valuable it is – I think you should let them know, just so they understand what they are bidding on.


1) Your auctioneer needs to know the FMV of items.  It is crucial for her or him to be able to know where to start the bid.  And for them to know the true value of the items they are selling.

2) FMV’s need to be listed on receipts you give your guests at the end of the night for tax purposes.

3) The only items that should be listed as priceless, are items that are truly priceless.  Principal for a Day for instance, or class art projects.  But most everything in your auction has a true FMV.

4) You can promote the value of your auction on social media, etc.  “Come bid and be part of over $30,000 worth of fabulous live auction items.”

5) FMV’s on silent items should be listed.  This is the one place in the auction where it is OK for someone to get a deal.  Typically your silent auction return should be about 70% of value.

Another note: One of the most important questions we ask clients is not “how much did you make at your last live auction,” but “how much was the return of value of your live auction items.”  That information is how the auctioneer knows how spendy your crowd is.  If you earned $100,000 in your live auction and the value of the items was $50,000… that’s 200% of value, and that is awesome.  However if the value was $200,000 and you earned $100,000 that is a 50% return.  Big difference on the spending habits and spending capacity of your guests.

If you have any questions or comments please let us know: stephen@kilbreathauctions.com

Top Auction Travel Destinations

There two things for certain – people love to getaway and people love to support your cause.  One of the best things you can do at your auction is combine those two things.


Nashville is a top US Vacation spot

When your guests buy a getaway at an auction they feel great for two reasons:

  1. The money they spent for the getaway (often spending well over value) is going to do great things for your non-profit.
  2. They are receiving a getaway to a popular location, a place they love, or maybe they are trying something new, and who doesn’t love to travel.

According to Luxury Travel magazine 80% of winning bidders set aside $5k a year for travel, and 53% set aside $10k.  Wow!  And just think that money could be going to your organization.



Chateau Fairmont – Lake Louise

At Kilbreath Auctions we work with some great companies that can get you that special getaway your auction needs.  The best thing about consigned auction travel packages:

The auctioneer can sell multiple trips to maximize your earnings

You don’t have to pay for the item, until it sells – No-risk items with reserve bids


There a couple of things we suggest when selecting getaways.

1) Don’t over-shoot.
  • make sure you put trips in your auction that your audience can afford
  • consider your geographical area and the length of a trip
  • trips that can be done in a long weekend can be very popular
2) Utilize your theme to pick travel destinations.
  • if your theme is Casino Royale, maybe a trip to Monte Carlo, or even closer Las Vegas
  • if your theme is Beach Party, maybe a trip to a Caribbean beach, or even closer California
3) Make sure you have a nice balance of auction items.
  • ensure getaways/travel items are spaced out well in the auction
  • don’t over-do it with getaways
4) Get your consigned trips underwritten.
  • a lot of times donors will want to underwrite something at the auction
  • if it is underwritten, 100% of what we make night of the auction goes to your organization
  • Click HERE if you want some great information about the companies we work with for travel and experience destinations

We researched the events we did last year and came up with the top travel / getaway destinations.


  1. Suncadia
  2. Whistler
  3. Cannon Beach
  4. Walla Walla
  5. Lake Chelan

When looking at drive-to destinations… make sure you are picking something unique.  For example does your Walla Walla package include wine tasting, and a stay at the Marcus Whitman?

How about the ultimate luxury: One of our top selling items last year was a weekend trip to Bandon Dunes on a private jet.


  1. Nashville
  2. Napa Wine Country
  3. Iceland
  4. New York City
  5. Montana Fly Fishing
  6. Alaska
  7. Canadian Rockies
  8. Golf Destinations
  9. Africa
  10. Bali

When working on fly-to packages, make sure it is unique.  What special adventure are you offering that will make your guests feel like they are getting something they couldn’t just buy themselves.  Maybe your New York package includes tickets to Hamilton.  Or your Canadian Rockies trip includes a train ride back to Vancouver, or a ski weekend at Lake Louise.


Suncadia Lodge

Top 5 reasons to hire a DJ for your auction

#1 – Bumper Music

  • It is great to have “bumper” music during your live auction.  When the item reader says, “Item #1 is a wine basket.”  The DJ can then play 10, or so, seconds of “Red Red Wine.”  Music creates emotional reactions for your guests, it may actually inspire higher bidding.

Curt Kruse from STAR 101.5 (exclusive DJ for Kilbreath Auctions)

#2 – Situational Music

  • You never know when you are going to need a certain song.  I was recently conducting an auction with a rock-n-roll theme.  At certain points during the night, I stopped and had the DJ play a song… For example, I had all the guests dressed up in their Guns N’ Roses clothes come up on stage for a selfie.  The DJ played, “Welcome to the Jungle.”  We did it for several bands that were represented.  Like I said, you never know when you are going to need a song to be played.

#3 – Supplemental Sound

  • It is always good to have “all hands on deck.”  A DJ’s set-up can actually help supplement the sound you are using at the venue.  Often times DJ’s will have extra mics or extra cords or other things to help with your event.  Plus they can often provide the whole sound system for your event, in addition to serving as event DJ.

#4 – Lighting

  • Often times DJ’s will have up-lighting or other stage lights within their set ups.  They can use this to enhance the lighting in your auction room.  It is amazing what just a little extra lighting, with different colors can do.

#5 – Event Item Reader / MC

  • A good DJ is one that can also serve as an MC.  They typically have a personality that can work well with your auctioneer.  If you don’t have someone reading the item descriptions during your live auction, you should.  If you hire a trained auction sound person / DJ like CURT KRUSE you can get someone who understands all of these roles.

What committees do you need? Here are the Top ideas.

I recently did a seminar with my friends at Greater Giving.  One of the topics we discussed was different committees you need as you plan your auction.




Thanks to Greater Giving for the descriptions below… for the full article, click the link above.

Event Logistics

  • Generates the budget.
  • Appoints committee chairs.
  • Maintains communication with staff.


  • Identifies possible sponsors for your event.
  • Develops a strategy for acquiring sponsors.
  • Delivers the promised benefits to sponsors.

Volunteer Coordinator

  • Recruits and energizes volunteers.
  • Works with all event committees.
  • Identifies volunteer needs and figures out how to meet them.
  • Communicates with volunteers.
  • Organizes and delegates event night tasks.

Media/Public Relations

  • Decides how to promote the event.
  • Works with media sponsors.
  • Creates press releases.
  • Manages various methods of communication: TV, print, web, email and social media.


  • Holds a procurement brainstorming party to identify items to target for donation.
  • Locates and gathers items for both the silent and live auctions.
  • Creates an item request letter to be sent out to possible donors.
  • Creates an item donation form for tracking purposes.
  • Packages items together as needed for both the silent and live auctions.
  • Sends thank you letters to item donors.

Guest Experience

  • Signs up attendees.
  • Coordinates registration.
  • Coordinates admission, check-in and check-out.
  • Organizes seating arrangements.
  • Hires photographer.


  • Designs event invitations.
  • Mails event invitations.
  • Follows up with invitees.


  • Determines and contracts the entertainment.
  • Sets up the event night program.
  • Works with the logistics committee.
  • Selects the entertainment, the emcee, the guest speaker and the auctioneer.
  • Works with the lighting, AV and sound crews.