QUESTIONS YOU SHOULD ASK A 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.
Sometimes the cost of a professional auctioneer can be daunting. However, a pro will usually make back their fee with just one idea at a pre-planning meeting. If you aren’t getting fresh ideas and consulting from your auctioneer… you need a new auctioneer. Even if you an event planner / consultant working with your group, you still need input from your auctioneer, and your auctioneer needs input from you. There are LOTS of things you should EXPECT from your professional benefit auctioneer. Here are just three of those things…
The professional auctioneer you hire for your fundraising event should…
- Know what they are raising money for! The auctioneer should have enough knowledge about your organization to be able to talk about your group throughout the live auction. If your auctioneer isn’t visiting your location, or hasn’t offered to attended a board meeting, or hasn’t asked questions about what the money raised is being used for… you need a new auctioneer.
- Be introduced at the event. For years I didn’t do this… but I have learned it is an important part of the auction. An executive director or PTA president introducing the auctioneer with a hand-shake on stage is an endorsement of the auctioneer.
- Be at your event before doors open. I have heard stories about auctioneers who come to just call the auction. That means they haven’t put the time in to get to know your group. I am always at the auction about an hour before doors open. You should have all of the details (timeline, sound check, etc.) done before any guests arrive.
Since the end of February when we all started having to think about this reality, I have been studying and researching all sorts of ways to continue raising money for you all. There are so many different options, and so many different ways to do it. I will continue perfecting this format until we are back on stage in front of your guests.
Picture of our home studio….
Hopefully you had a chance to tune in for our virtual event Friday night. We learned a lot! I will detail some thoughts below, based on some questions I have been receiving from clients.
REVIEW OF MAY 1 VIRTUAL EVENT
– I am excited, because the client is ecstatic. We raised more money for the SnoValley Chamber this year, than during our in-person event in 2019, and surpassed their realistic goal they had set for the evening.
– We had 1,600 pop in to watch the show on Facebook. We had 168 bidders log in. And although some things didn’t sell during our live show they did end up selling once everything was closed at 9p. All items (except for the 2 high priced trips) sold at or above value.
– Honestly, Chamber organizations are hard sells even in the best of times. There really isn’t a compelling ask like most other organizations. I can’t wait to see the flurry of bidding at our next Virtual Event for a private school with a strong community.
– Many auctioneers across the country have been doing this solo. I don’t get it. You always need a great MC / Co-Host for your event. Especially without having a crowd to respond to you. You need someone to play off of.
– We have two options in how to produce the event. Both cost about the same.
– The May 1 event was in my living room. A crew brought over cameras, lights, monitors, computers, etc. The set up was amazing, hopefully you saw the picture on my social media. The great thing about this crew is, they are mobile. We could set it up at any location you choose.
– The May 15 event for St. Joseph Parish School – Issaquah, will be at Canvas Event Space in Seattle. This is a stationary set with multiple cameras, a huge stage and a staff of 4 or 5 that produce your event. Check out www.virtuallivegala.com
– The client doesn’t even need to be with us in the same room. At the May 1 event our data entry / banking person was at their own home, as you may have heard when we were drawing the raffle, etc.
– We had a technical issue, and in our playback monitor I couldn’t see the bidders, or the amount that the item was at – that is why the co-host had her laptop.
– The May 1 event was only on Facebook Live. That is NOT how you want to do it. I would suggest embedding a Vimeo, Twitch or YouTube live stream onto your organization’s website or you could use a link on my website. Once you embed a video, you can then share it to Facebook, but your main platform should not be Facebook.
– So why did we use Facebook Live? The client wanted to. It was a community based event, and because of all the tagging, and sharing it was thought more eyes would be on it. And they were right with 1600 people popping in. But in the future Facebook should be the secondary viewing spot and not the primary.
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:
– Every event will be different, and there are many ways to “close” live items during the event. The way we did it on May 1 honestly wasn’t the greatest because of Facebook Live lag time. As you saw above – Facebook Live is not the best place to hold an event.
– Some groups will sell items in sections, and some will try and do it like a real auction, and others will talk about the items as Jessica and I did, and then just leave them open until a specific time. That last option is how we should have done it last night.
– The group on May 1 had a “dream” goal of $50k… I would have advised them to use the realistic goal mentioned above. I think when setting a goal it should be attainable so the thermometer on the software can actually reach the top.
– I would advise clients to create a powerpoint of the auction items as they would if it were an in-person event. We were pulling up the Auctria page that had each live item on it. That was not ideal.
– I would create more graphics/slides and intersperse them throughout the event explaining to people how to bid and where to log-on, etc. Truth is not everybody was with us at the beginning of the show. We need to continue re-setting the mission, and re-setting the “How-to.”
– I think we should incorporate video / music and more still shots during the event. Those could be part of the powerpoint.
– It isn’t out of the realm of possibility to pre-record the entire event. That way it can be edited together perfectly.