If you are considering using a charity auction service, here are a list of things to consider when selecting an auction services company. The key thing is what they are going to do to help you raise more money at your event because the bottom line is what it’s all about.
A charity auction service should be focused on helping you set a new record for funds raised and not about how fabulous everything looks. Charity auction consultant Sherry Truhlar explains what you need to look for in this guest article below.
Where Smart Fundraising Auction Chairs Spend Their Budget
Established fundraising auction committees tend to write a lot of checks.
A budget for fundraising gala will vary by group (for instance, you might have access to a free venue; others might negotiate discounted printing), but when we look at the budgets of committees coast-to-coast, we see common expenses.
And it’s not uncommon to see costs shape up with most of the money being spent on the venue and/or caterer. Here’s the list, in descending order:
- Venue and/or Caterer
- Entertainment / Band
- Audio-Visual Equipment, Florist, Auctioneer, and so forth
Consider this: If you write the biggest check to the caterer, the venue, the band, or the <pick your category>, is that vendor providing the greatest help to you in your mission?
Let’s consider some examples.
If the florist creates stunning centerpieces, will that help you raise money?
No. I’ve yet to see a guest stand up and donate $1000 because the centerpieces rocked.
What about the US Postal Service?
Will the mailman deliver your invitation in such a way that a new guest will decide to buy a ticket?
No. And having “extra cool programs” from a printer doesn’t gain you extra money, either.
Does a unusual venue make you money?
Sometimes. An unusual space might attract more guests, especially if it’s usually something not available to the general public.
That said, the mission of the venue’s owner isn’t about helping you raise funds. His mission is to provide you a comfortable, safe venue. So don’t expect the venue’s owner to deliver a compelling speech that will inspire guests to donate.
What about a rocking band?
If you budget more money for a band and get someone REALLY good, will you raise more money?
If the entertainer’s name is Aerosmith, Billy Joel or something similar, you’ll sell more tickets and – yes – this could equate to more profit.
But if you’re spending a lot more to merely hire a local “better” band, save your money. A band’s focus is to entertain; not compel guests to give. You might have a more enjoyable listening experience, but that doesn’t mean you’ll raise more money.
Here’s the bottom line.
The only vendor who shares your goal of raising money is the auctioneer.
Your auctioneer is a professional sales person with the singular goal of selling high!
To accomplish this goal, auctioneers use their personality, charisma and chant. They facilitate the event so it has momentum. They cajole and entertain.
And if you’re using a fundraising auctioneer, you’ll also get additional ideas prior to the event that will improve your gala. (The good professionals will consult with you.)
So when it comes to selecting vendors, where do you think your biggest decision lies?
Your biggest decision should be who to hire as your auctioneer. It’s the only vendor sharing your mission.
If you’re going to fail when you hire a vendor, don’t let it be the auctioneer. They’re the only vendor focused on fundraising.
They don’t care about making pretty invitations. They aren’t focused on serving the food at 7:30 PM. They aren’t trying to provide a danceable beat.
They care about selling high.
If you’re investing thousands of hours and hundreds of dollars to plan a fundraising auction (and you are!), you owe it to yourself to hire the right vendor for the position of auctioneer. Spend your budget there.
About The Author
Sherry Truhlar, The Authority on Benefit Auctions, has worked with hundreds and hundreds of nonprofits and schools nationally. Her resources for auction planners are unparalleled, covering topics such as Fund a Needs, themes, raffles, games, marketing techniques, and more. To get started, download her free Item Guide to discover the top 100 items that sold for over value in galas last year.
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500 Silent Auction Basket Ideas – This ultimate list of basket ideas is filled with all sorts of great themes and catchy names. If you can’t find an auction basket idea in this list, then its probably not worth doing!
10 Silent Auction Ideas For Extra Profits – Ten good ways to increase profits at your next charity auction.