Meeting with a benefit auctioneer


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May 19, 2017 An Emcee Can Make or Break Your Event

I love working with emcees at fundraising auction events. These men and women are often from local television or radio stations, or they may be members of the nonprofit’s board.

When selecting an emcee, you’ll want to be sure the individual is upbeat, entertaining and has a strong presence.

As a fundraising auctioneer, I like to have these folks help me during the live auction by describing the items before I sell them. This tag-team approach helps break up the voices and can prove to be more entertaining for the guests.

My usual practice is that I meet with the emcee prior to the auction and explain how they can best assist me, what the expectations are, and discuss how we’ll transition between items. Because a full description of the live auction items is located in the printed program, I instruct them that only a brief 30 second description, reminding guests of the item high points, is sufficient.

Most of the time the emcees are a delight to work with.  I have had the rare occasion where it didn’t go so well, though. One such circumstance involved an emcee who had been scripted by the nonprofit but unfortunately, they went off script. In this instance, a description on one particular item went on for over two minutes.  This made my job of keeping the guests’ attention and maintaining momentum very difficult. Building and keeping that live auction energy and momentum is critical in fundraising.

Oh, and this particular emcee had enjoyed several glasses of wine before the event.

When you are choosing an emcee for your fundraising event I suggest you set expectations that include they stay on script. And stay out of the alcohol until after the event.

A well-chosen emcee can add a layer of entertainment for your guests and ramp up your fundraising auction event.

Make every minute a revenue generating minute!


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