Spring is replete with non-profit auction events. You may see them referred to as Charity, Fund Raising or Benefit auctions. As a professional auctioneer with fund raising expertise, I prefer the term Benefit Auction. When we conduct a non-profit auction, we aren’t asking for charity and it’s not just about fund raising. The goal of a benefit auction is to motivate a community in support of an organization to the benefit of that organization’s mission..
The best strategy to insure the maximum return from the resources expended on a benefit auction is to hire a professional auctioneer. If an organization embraces this premise, the odds of a successful outcome are dramatically enhanced. There are tricks to every trade. You can dive in and learn them the hard way or you can acquire the necessary skills from individuals that have done it all before.
Over 16 billion dollars a year is raised through benefit auction events. When the process is maximized, a benefit auction will dwarf other income producing activities. It takes a lot of chicken dinners, candy sales, car washes and donation envelopes to equal the funds raised at a well produced benefit auction. By the same token, a benefit auction will consume a portion of the community support that an organization can expect to muster in a given period. That’s why it’s imperative to realize an appropriate return on the investment.
Would you hire the weatherman to do heart surgery? Would you ask for a volunteer to present a legal brief? Would you engage an accountant to build a new home? Those scenarios aren’t likely to happen. So why would you ask the weatherman, the DJ, the mayor or an inexperienced member of your organization to serve as an auctioneer?
What can you expect to gain from an experienced benefit auctioneer? An appropriate timeline, a committee structure schematic, strategies to solicit donations and sponsors, proven production techniques, professional marketing tips, suggestions for activities to make your event memorable (with 15+ billion dollars a year being raised you’re not the only organization on the block), an experienced individual to conduct the auction, a spokesperson during the event and a knowledgeable professional to help you evaluate the outcome and plan for the future.
The biggest mistake an organization can make when planning a benefit auction is not hiring a professional auctioneer. The second biggest mistake is not hiring them soon enough. Contact an auctioneer with expertise in non-profit benefit auctions. Ask questions. Evaluate the services they offer. The first step in a successful benefit auction plan is hiring an auction professional. Benefit auctioneers don’t cost you money. They make you money
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