Several Blogs back I discussed the usual mistakes a volunteer auctioneer makes during the course of a fundraising event.
At this time I’d like to list three addition mistakes a volunteer auctioneer often makes and then expand on each one. The three are:
1) They don’t know when to say “SOLD”
2) Their performance is not smooth.
3) They don’t understand bid increments.
As for not knowing when to say “SOLD” – well – this usually comes from their inexperience.
They either wait too long – which drags out the event – or they have what is known in the auction business as “a quick hammer.” By that I mean they say SOLD before getting to all the money that was available for the item being auctioned off. Knowing when to say SOLD is crucial to the charity’s fundraising effort and only comes through years of experience and the ability to analyze an audience.
The second item on our list deals with performance. I’ve been a witness to the performance of many volunteer auctioneers who were anything but smooth and polished.
The performance of the auctioneer is crucial. A non-polished one adds length to the event, and is more often than not, painful to listen to and watch. The guests paid good money for their tickets and they expect professionalism throughout the entire event – especially during the live auction. I often say a charity won’t hire an amateur garage band as the entertainment so why did it hire an amateur to lead their critical fundraising effort. It simply doesn’t make sense.
And finally there’s the subject of bid increments. Volunteers usually have no idea what those increments should be. And if they do, they generally cannot adjust on-the-fly which is often needed in the heat of aggressive bidding.
Recently I watched a volunteer start the bidding of an item at $1,000. The next logical increase was $2,000. Instead volunteer asked for $1100. The item evidently sold for $5,200 which was great, but it took a long time to get there in $100 increments.
A volunteer auctioneer also lacks the pace necessary to move the auction forward. A professional will always be able to sell more items in a shorter period of time without the attendees feeling rushed. The profit of just two additional items may make a major impact in terms of profit for the event.
There is a big difference between and volunteer and a professional auctioneer. To me the choice is clear. It all comes down to if a charity wants to gamble with the success of its event.