The winter / spring benefit auction season is in full swing. Between now and the end of May, thousands of charity gatherings will be conducted across the Northern Hemisphere. The live and silent auction formats remain an integral part of that fund raising process.
Benefit auctions require a significant investment. The greatest asset an organization possesses is the willingness of its members and patrons to expend their time, talents and money in support of a cause. An inherent responsibility rests with the organization to insure that the resources expended by employees, volunteers and supporters result in a commensurate return. A successful fund raising event energizes a community just as tepid results exert a dampening effect on the collective psyche.
One often overlooked aspect of charity auction events is the role that a professional auctioneer can play in the success of the affair. Weathermen, radio personalities and politicians don’t hire auctioneers to do their jobs. Consequently there is no reason to assume that they will fulfill the role of auctioneer as well as an experienced member of the profession.
Auctioneers bring expertise in two distinct areas that are essential for creating an entertaining and profitable fund raising auction. Foremost, they are trained to direct the live auction process. Time management, product presentation, clarity and enthusiasm in the bidding process and an emphasis on the importance of the cause all play a role in the return realized from a charity auction.
Professional auctioneers aren’t star struck. They are used to being the center of attention. They understand that it’s not about them. The focus of a professional auctioneer is not on performing. It is on employing every available skill to enhance the auction results.
The second area of expertise that an experienced auctioneer provides is professional insight. Having organized numerous events, the benefit auctioneer understands what works and what doesn’t work. The most common mistake organizations make is not utilizing a professional auctioneer early in the planning stage, before missteps are made to the detriment of process.
Benefit auctions are challenging. They require time, commitment and resources. However, they aren’t a profound mystery. It has all been done before. Reinventing the obvious and promulgating the same mistakes only serve to reduce the bottom line of a charitable auction event.
If your organization is planning a charity auction, play the smart card. Engage an experienced benefit auctioneer to help you develop and implement a plan that results in a successful event. Of all the elements that comprise a fund raising auction: venue, food and drink, lighting, sound, entertainment etc., hiring a professional auctioneer is the one that doesn’t cost you money. It makes you money.
Here’s wishing you the best of luck in your charitable endeavors. Keep up the good work.