Meeting with a benefit auctioneer


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May 27, 2016 A Change of View

A nonprofit recently hired me to conduct a third-party evaluation of their fundraising event.  I had never been asked to perform this service before and it intrigued me.

As I started the process of evaluation, the first thing I felt I needed to determine was if the event was a fundraiser or a “friend-raiser”.  There is a huge difference, you know – the largest difference beng that a fundraiser is an event where “every minute is a revenue generating minute.”©

Next I researched the client’s marketing of the event.  This event was a bit complex in nature with its emphasis being on sponsorships.  I always recommend clients put as much information as possible out there prior to an event for the guests. Use of social media – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and yes, even the obvious, your nonprofit’s website – is a great way to be interactive with postings and information that is vital to keeping the guests informed, engaged and excited about your event.

Event night is where the fun began.  I enjoyed observing everything – guests arriving at the venue, their check-in process, what they did (and did not do) and their interaction during the live auction.

Watching this event unfold drove home again how the flow of an event is so very important.  This includes everything from the positioning of the bars, the silent auction location and the setup/display of the live and silent auction items.

The various games/raffles are another key area for observation (check state laws regarding games/raffles).  How many games/raffles are conducted? Are the stations for them easily found? Are the price points varying to be inclusive of all guests?  Are the salespeople aggressive (but polite)?

How about the information about the live auction items? A printed program which includes ALL of the details about these items is invaluable to potential bidders will want to know those details – who, what, when, where, how long, how many, how much, etc. Providing this information will ensure prospective bidders will bid.  If they have any outstanding questions, they most likely will not.

Another observation included the timing of the meal service.  You don’t want that service to compete with fundraising.  Strategic timing is important here, including keeping the wait staff off the floor during the Fund-A-Need. This is vital to generating the most money possible during this activity.

The checkout process is usually the last experience guests will have at an event but most likely the one thing they will remember if it doesn’t run smoothly. Building time into the flow of the evening which allows your checkout team to get ready for the masses is a very good plan.

So how do you find a qualified third-party consultant to evaluate your event and help make future ones more profitable?  Look for fundraising auctioneer who holds the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) designation.  These people have specialized training and experience in fundraising. They conduct all types and sizes of events, raising millions of dollars throughout the nation for nonprofit missions.  You’ll find a BAS designee in your area when you search with this link on the National Auctioneer Association’s website.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!


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