Fundraising Auctioneer - Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Fundraising Auctioneer

Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Say No to Status Quo

Posted by Scott On August 7th

Today we’re gonna talk about “saying NO to status quo.”

You know, fundraising events need to be fun and they need to be fresh. And they need to be tweaked every year to make them fun and fresh and exciting for your guests to attend. You know 93% of people who attended fundraising events surveyed replied that the reason they attend is because of fun. And fun generally translates into “fun and fresh” which means saying no to status quo.

You know, fundraising events trend. And fundraising ideas trend. Where do you get these new ideas?

Continue reading “Say No to Status Quo” »

Today we’re gonna talk about the differences between a commercial auctioneer and a fundraising auctioneer. One of the main differences is the auction chant. See, a commercial auctioneer is selling product and a fundraising auctioneer is really selling to people. There’s a distinct difference.

At commercial auctions, people are generally auction savvy. They attend auctions on a regular basis and that commercial auctioneer is able to go much faster. In fact when I was selling at a commercial auction, I would generally sell 80 to 100 items an hour. That’s fast! At a fundraising auction, the rate is generally around 20 items per hour. Let me give you a difference in the chant. At a commercial auction it would sound more like:

(spoken in a rapid cadence)

“Two thousand dollars is bid, now three thousand, three thousand and four. Four now five. Five now six and seven thousand. Seven thousand now eight. Eight thousand? Sold! Seven thousand dollars!”

And at a fundraising auction it would go more along the line of…

Continue reading “Difference between commercial & fundraising auctioneers” »

Hi Scott Robertson here. Today we’re going to talk about momentum at your fundraising auction.

When you start the live auction you need to start with momentum and keep that momentum rolling all the way through to the conclusion of the live auction. Don’t interrupt it with pulling raffle tickets, speeches, or anything!

Keep the momentum rolling!

There is one exception to the rule and that is perhaps in the middle or at the end you can do what we call Fund a Need that’s okay as long as it fits in to the flow of the entire event. But once the live auction gets started, maintain that momentum and that will allow you to have success.

Do not interrupt the momentum. You’ll be disappointed if you do. Listen to your professional fundraising auctioneer. They’ll be singing the same song that I’m singing which is keep the momentum rolling.

If you’d like a consultation with a professional who can help you exceed your fundraising goals, I’d love to help. Please contact me to set up a meeting.

You know I’ve enjoyed a lot of success in the fundraising auction business and I LOVE setting new records for events. It’s absolutely wonderful. And people often ask “So Scott, how can your percentages of establishing new records be so high?’ Well, it’s about confidence…and really, confidence in three areas.

  1. Confidence in the economy
  2. Confidence in the charity
  3. Confidence in your fundraising auctioneer

Continue reading “To set record highs at fundraisers, confidence is paramount” »

What’s Up With the Crazy Vests, Scott?

Posted by Scott On June 15th

You know, I’m often asked “Scott, what is up with those crazy vests?” Well, they’re sort of my trademark…is to wear a colorful vest at fundraising auctions. It started back in the 90s when vests replaced cumberbunds and a friend of mine Debbie, from Black Tie Tuxedo in Fort Myers, Florida said “You know Scott, what you should do is you should get a vest that makes you stand out” and she pointed to this exact vest.

And I said “Oh Debbie, I’m way to conservative for that.” And she says “No, you want it! It’ll make you stand out!” And I thought “You know, that’s exactly what I’m looking for.”

So I purchased this vest and since now, I’ve probably purchased 40 vests. So I try to match my vest to the color scheme of the event, the motif of the event…whatever they want. So if you retain my services for a fundraising auction, tell me what colors you want me to match. Chances are I’ve got a vest that’ll do the trick. Crazy vests? I LOVE ’em!

Quality Sound is an absolute key component to any and all fundraising events. People have to be able to hear to understand. But I’m going to take that a step further and I’m going to tell you that a sound check with your audio director prior to the event is absolutely critical to success.

Who is going to be there for the sound check?

Obviously the auctioneer needs to be there for the sound check because it’s going to be their voice who’s going to be heard throughout the evening. But who else should be there for the sound check is anyone who is going to speak. If you have anyone giving a presentation, anyone giving an award, they need to be comfortable with the microphone and the sound engineer needs to understand the nuances of the person’s speaking voice so that they can adjust accordingly.

People often say “It’s okay, I’m just gonna get up there and wing it!”

Continue reading “A Sound Check is Critical to Your Fundraising Event’s Success” »

Avoidable Train Wrecks at Fundraising Auctions

Posted by Scott On April 17th

I truly love what I do. 

However sometimes my passion at a fundraising event is misinterpreted causing those who’ve hired me to feel as if I’m personally attacking their organization – or a person within their organization.

Scott Robertson AuctioneerThe reason for these hard feelings?  I can see a train wreck coming and I just told the organizers:

  • What type of train it is
  • How fast it’s approaching
  • And when it will hit.

The approaching train wreck comes in many forms.  It could be a gaffe in the timeline or a problem with the speaker about to address the audience.  It could be a Live Auction item, a display issue or even a potential bottleneck due to the layout of the room.

There are so many variables at an auction.

If those variables are done correctly it will enhance the event and there won’t be a train wreck.  If those variables are implemented incorrectly it will hurt the event and create a potential train wreck situation.

Knowing the difference between the two scenarios is the reason for my dilemma. The question is: Do the event organizers want to know a train wreck is coming or not?

When it comes to approaching train wrecks I work with two different mindsets.

Continue reading “Avoidable Train Wrecks at Fundraising Auctions” »

to helm and back - Scott Robertson AuctioneersI’ve always said a successful fundraising event is a team effort. It takes months of pre-planning and an excellent committee and volunteer staff to pull all the pieces together.  Having each individual member know the exact role they will be playing during the event is crucial to its flawless execution.

The Event Chair and his or her committee and volunteers have an advantage over a Professional Auctioneer, such as myself, who does not live in their particular city. They know the key players and the main donors that will be attending.

Since I am the out-of-towner, some Event Chairs and Board Members may consider it a disadvantage to their fundraising efforts if they hire me as their Professional Auctioneer since, in some cases, I’ve never practiced my craft of auctioneering for them before.  They feel I won’t know their audience.

Although it’s an initial legitimate concern, the fact is the “not knowing their VIPs” can be easily overcome.  It’s just a matter of four easy steps:

  1. Create an attendee yearbook
  2. Facilitate some warm introductions
  3. Generate a roster of bidders
  4. Produce informative bidding paddles

Let me start with the first…the yearbook.

Continue reading “How to Help Your Auctioneer Learn Your Audience” »

Success street signIt’s the moment Event Chairs look forward to the most – the “turning off the lights” as their latest fundraiser comes to a close. Exhausted, they reflect back. The guests had fun. The event was a success.  Lots of money was raised.  Now it’s time to relax until the planning begins for next year’s event. HOLD ON!  NOT SO FAST. There’s one more step to go.

Just as important as the event’s pre-planning and execution is the debriefing meeting.  Preferably this meeting should take place within 3 days of the event – but never more than 2 weeks.  Remember, the earlier the better. This way everyone’s memories of the event are still vivid and wouldn’t have begun to fade with the passage of time.

Knowing what went right and what went wrong during an event is crucial to building even more successful fundraisers in the future.

So, it’s also very important for those involved in the event to write their thoughts down on paper – both positive and negative – within 24 hours of the event and then to bring those notes to the debriefing meeting.

These thoughts should span the time frame from before the doors opened until the last guest departed. Every element of the program is fair game. That includes the registration process, the cocktail hour, the silent auction, the dinner, the live auction, the entertainment, the checkout and the valet line.

As a guide to help you along your way – and to keep the conversation civil and on topic – I’m happy to present the format your debriefing meeting should take, how it should be conducted and who should be involved.

By the way, the debriefing meeting should be scheduled weeks prior to the actual event.  This way everyone associated with the fundraiser has it on their calendars and know when it’s going to occur.

To reiterate, the debriefing meeting should take place within 3 days of the event.  Under no circumstances should it ever take place more than 2 weeks after an event.

Now, as to who should attend the meeting…

Continue reading “Why Debriefing Meetings are Essential to the Success of Your Future Fundraisers” »

Event Coordinator’s Do’s and Don’ts

Posted by Scott On March 19th

I’ve said it many times – the Event Coordinator is the key to a perfectly planned and executed fundraiser. (Note:  For the purposes of this article, I’m describing the person in charge of the event the Event Coordinator.  This person may be a trained professional, a staff member or a volunteer.)

With that clarification, I’m happy to reveal my list of 4 Do’s & Don’ts for Event Coordinators on the night of the event.

One of the mistakes they make is not getting ready for the event in a timely fashion.

Chances are, on the day of the event, the Event Coordinator has been at the venue since early to mid-morning.  And, the closer time gets to the doors opening, the more the Event Coordinator becomes increasingly nervous.

So, here’s my first helpful suggestion. Sign that says "Help!"

1. DO get ready for the event in a timely fashion.

If the event begins at 6 p.m. the Event Coordinator should have eaten and gotten dressed by 4:30pm and re-arrived at the venue between 60 to 90 minutes ahead of the doors opening.  That should give him or her plenty of time to relax prior to the event and then to deal with any loose ends once (s)he returns to the venue.

Too often the Event Coordinator delays getting themselves ready until the last minute and by the time (s)he arrives, panic sets in because of all the final details which still need to be addressed. This creates too much stress on the Coordinator, as well as the staff and volunteers. You do not want your guests arriving to a panic-filled room.

2. Don’t assign yourself duties the night of the fundraiser.

Most people know the line of thinking, “It’s just easier to do everything myself.” Well, that might be true, but it’s not the best use of the Event Coordinator’s time.

Far in advance of the event, the Event Coordinator should have delegated duties to another committee member or volunteer. Running around looking for a replacement silent auction bid sheet is not good use of the Event Coordinator’s time. Delegate that responsibility. This will give the Event Coordinator time to focus on the bigger issues that may be looming on the horizon.

Here’s a great tip.  The Event Coordinator should be given a designated area within the venue during the final hour or so before the doors open.  This will give the staff and volunteers a specific location to go to in an effort to get their questions answered quickly. When the doors open, the Event Coordinator should remain in this area for the same reasons.

Continue reading “Event Coordinator’s Do’s and Don’ts” »