Fundraising Auctioneer - Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Fundraising Auctioneer

Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Archive for November, 2013

Supportive Bidders

Posted by Scott On November 21st

supportive bidders-fundraising auctioneer

At any live auction there are usually three types of supporters in the crowd.  The first is a guest who feels the price of admission was enough charity and doesn’t plan to bid on any item.  The second is an enthusiastic guest that has money in his pocket and is willing to bid as high as necessary to get an item and help the charity in the process.  The third is what I refer to as a “supportive bidder.”

Supportive bidders are there to have fun. And, they are there to help the charity maximize its fundraising effort by bidding on items simply to get the price of the item up.

I’m not referring to a “plant” or a “shill.”  A charity should never place a person in the room whose only purpose is to compete with other bidders with the intention of never actually winning a bid.

A supportive bidder does this on his or her own accord. They are really “soft bidders.”  By that I mean if they bid on an item and would happen to get it they are happy.  But, their real purpose is to make more money for the charity by getting others to bid higher – especially if they feel the current bids are below the items true value.

fundraising auctioneer

An auctioneer often doesn’t know who the supportive bidders are until the live auction actually starts. However, by reading a bidder’s body language and mannerisms a professional benefit auctioneer can spot them rather quickly and use them to the charity’s advantage.

When bidding on an item is slow or if a current bid is far below what I think an item should sell for I find myself drifting towards the supportive bidders as a means to get the ball rolling a little faster – and the bids a little higher.  I think most of the time they know that I know what they are doing and they usually play along.

So remember, no “plants” or “shills.” But keep in mind supportive bidders are in the room and can play a key role in your fundraising success – if the auctioneer knows how to spot them – and use them for your benefit.

 

Scott Robertson Auctioneers. All Rights Reserved. All content is subject to copyright and may not be reproduced in any form without express written consent of the author.

Musical Chairs

Posted by Scott On November 14th

 

musical chairs

A few days ago a strange, but an absolute right-on comparison popped into my head and I thought I’d share it with you today.  A fundraising gala – that has both a silent auction and a live auction – is much like a game of musical chairs. You weren’t expecting that comparison where you?! But, hear me out.

During an event, with both a silent auction and a live auction, there is a time when your guests should be on their feet and a time when they should take a seat.

Let’s begin with the silent auction. This is the time of the event you want your guests on their feet.  You want them to be mobile so they can walk around and mingle – preferably bidding on the silent auction items.

It’s alright to have a little bit of seating for those who have difficulty walking or standing, but place the seating in the corners of the room and away from the silent auction area.

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However, you can have tables near the silent auction area, but they should be high cocktail tables with NO bar stools. This will give your guests a place to rest their drinks and chat with those immediately around them without them sitters.  Remember, once a person sits they tend to protect their “real estate” and not move from their seats. Keeping them standing or walking around the silent auction tables will result in higher revenue being generated for the charity.

With that said, it’s just the opposite during a live auction. You want everyone seated – no movement.  This will keep your guests focused on the PowerPoint presentation containing the live auction slides, the auctioneer, and especially the items being auctioned.

It’s much like a high school football coach, when near the end of practice, he tells his players to take a knee as he goes over today’s practice and what they can expect at this week’s game.  By doing this the coach knows he’s taller than the players – and he has the stage.  It also assures no player’s view is blocked and his message will reach everyone within listening distance.

If your guests are walking around the room where the live auction is being held they create a disturbance and the others in the room lose focus. A loss of focus is a loss of revenue.

 

This is one of the primary reasons not to have a buffet at your fundraising auction. Whenever possible choose the sit down dinner

So keep them standing when they should be standing.  Keep them seated when they should be seated. At the end of the day your bottom line will thank you.

Table Captains

Posted by Scott On November 7th

love boat

In many episodes of “The Love Boat” there was a scene were special passengers were asked to join Captain Stubing at his designated dining room table.  It was considered a real honor to receive such an invitation. At your next fundraising event, you should consider following in Captain Stubing’s footsteps – albeit without the cruise ship.

Captain’s Tables are a great way to increase revenues at a fundraiser.  For those unfamiliar with the term, a Captain’s Table is when an entire table at an auction gala is purchased by a supporter of the charity who then in return invites his or her friends to join them at the event.

There can be many Table Captains at your fundraising auction gala. To begin the process, suggest to the board members of the organization that they all should purchase a table and assume the role. Other supporters can join in as well.

A Table Captain who can purchase a table for 8 to 10 usually runs in affluent circles.  The assumption is:  When the Table Captain buys the table – the guests invited to the table contribute to the cause.  Or in other words, “Many hands make light work.”

table-captain

The Table Captain is also a great ambassador for your cause.  Here are a few things the Captain should explain to his or her guests:

1)    Why the cause is so personally near and dear to their hearts

2)   Why they are personally involved with the charity

3)   How the money raised will be utilized to improve the community and/or the lives of its residents

4) That the generous participation in the evening fundraising activities is appreciated by the Table Captain.

By better understanding the charity’s mission, needs and goals it’s not unusual for a Table Captain’s guest to become a regular attendee of future events and a strong supporter and donor for years to come.

Now, if I can just get the theme song of “The Love Boat” out of my head.