Fundraising Auctioneer - Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Fundraising Auctioneer

Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Archive for April, 2012

Social Studies

Posted by Scott On April 24th





Five years ago, if I asked the benefit auction chairmen I worked with; “What are the three scariest words they know?” – They would have probably said:  Facebook.  Linkedin.  YouTube.  In other words, any social network site.

Since then, things have changed.  But, we still have a long way to go especially as it relates to benefit auctions and fundraising events.

Every business, including charities, need to think of the social network as a valuable friend.  These sites have become important marketing tools – and if utilized correctly – can add a great deal to the bottom line of any fundraiser.

Let’s begin with Facebook.  If your charity doesn’t have a Facebook page I recommend you start one today. Once that is set up, send out emails to everyone on your email list and alert them to the addition. Get them to sign up as Friends. Then don’t forget to continually update your Facebook page with the latest information regarding the fundraiser.  Constant contact is good.  

Also link up with Linkedin.  This is a business to business social site.  How effective is it?  Well, a friend of mine related the following story.  He produces real estate videos for a company and downloads the videos on YouTube.  Usually 20 people see the videos every day.  A new employee to the company suggested they place the link for the video on Linkedin.  That was done and within a week more than 600 people had viewed the video.  That’s the power of not only your Linkedin business connections, but your connection’s connections, and their connections.  This is another great way to get your announcement distributed to thousands – and for free.

And then there is YouTube.  You can produce in-house a short video about your upcoming benefit, why it’s important and even show the items to be auctioned off.  Once produced, download that video on YouTube.

This is also a great place to show videos that reflect your success stories – a video testimonial if you will. Interview families and individuals that have benefitted from past events. Videos that show donors how their money was spent can be very emotional.

Of course, there are so many other social networking sites.  I don’t have time in one blog to mention them all, but feel free to contact me for more suggestions.

Social networking sites can be your friend.  In fact, I’d go as far to say, “In today’s Internet-obsessed world – they have become crucial players.”

Research for Tomorrow

Posted by Scott On April 17th

Throughout the course of history researchers have changed the lives of nearly every person on this planet. From breakthroughs in medicines and health related issues to weather phenomena to undersea exploration. Researchers seek knowledge.  And knowledge advances civilizations for the better.

As a professional benefit auctioneer, I too am a researcher.  I don’t expect to change the world – but through my efforts I do expect to change the lives of the children and adults through the charities for which I help to raise money.

What research do I conduct?  Well, this may surprise you since so very few do it. In fact, the majority of auctioneers, both professional and amateur, never do it and the fundraising effort is short changed because of it.

Before I take center stage for a fundraiser I spend hours upon hours researching the charity and its specific cause. I cannot convey, with sincerity, why the attendees should give generously if I know little about or am not passionate about the charity and its cause.

But, it doesn’t stop there.  I also need to research and understand every item that will be up for bid.  Through years of experience I’ve learned the more I know about an item the more the item will actually sell for at auction.

In short, time is money.  The more time I spend researching the charity, the cause and the items to be auctioned off, the more money the event will raise.  I don’t do this homework the night before.  My research is done weeks to months in advance.

While attending school – to be honest – I wasn’t a big fan of homework.  Today, I not only love it – I look forward to it. That’s because I know my research effects the lives of tens of thousands of children and adults every year. So bring on the homework.  I’ll love my “study haul.”


Say No To Status Quo

Posted by Scott On April 10th


It’s no secret – we humans are creatures of habit.  If something works we tend to stay with it – foregoing change – even if that change could improve the situation. That’s why the two words I least like to hear in the same sentence are well and but.

You’ve probably heard something along this line hundreds of times.  You make a suggestion and the response is, “Well, that’s a great idea, but we’ve always done it this way.”

For some, the status quo is good enough when it comes to how money is raised at a charity auction.  However, in the past few years many organizations are discovering their fundraising efforts have remained flat or are falling short of preset goals.  The economy can be partially to blame for the lack of growth or the shortfall.  But, a more likely culprit is boredom.  Organizations that hold the same event year after year, without taking it to a higher level or adding new exciting elements, is on a path to status quo stagnation. (In no way am I suggesting that all established traditions at event be abandoned, what I am suggesting is to be receptive to new ideas that may just help the flavor of the event).

Professional benefit auctioneers have their pulse on the latest trends, which is crucial to success.  Their years of experience have taught them every event needs to be fun and fresh – which will keep the guests attending – but also willing to reach deeper in their pockets.

Everyone’s goal is to raise as much money as possible for a needy cause.  So, keep an open mind.  The next time a professional fundraising auctioneer offers suggestions on how to make your auction more successful – forego the status quo – and allow new ideas in.

And a response like this could really make a professional benefit auctioneer’s day.  “Well, that’s a great idea.  No buts about it.”

Paws for Cause

Posted by Scott On April 3rd

Paws For The Cause

It’s a wide known fact in the advertising world kids and dogs help sell products.  Currently there is a major campaign that depicts toddlers touting the benefits of E-Trade.  And who can forget Spuds MacKenzie, the spokesman or should I say “spokesdog”, for Budweiser.  The bottom line is kids and dogs are cute, grab attention and evoke emotions.

Although the majority of the items I help sell at a benefit auction can’t jump into a guest’s lap, it’s not unusual for me to auction off cute, cuddly, gives lots-of-kisses puppies. They are a crowd pleaser every time.

I have a list of 8 helpful hints regarding off a puppy at an auction.  Here are 4 of them.

Pair up a team of pretty young ladies to show the puppy to attendees.  Dogs of any size can get heavy after a while and sharing the carrying will make it easier on all involved.

Allow the dog to take frequent breaks.  I recommend 20 minutes   in the room and 10 minutes outside.

Puppies are sleepy creatures, especially by the hour auction time rolls around.  To assure you can show the canine in action play a pre-recorded, short video clip of the puppy running around on the grass chasing a multi-colored beach ball.

Have a kennel, water dish and food and food bowl for the dog’s new owner.  Making it easier for them in their first 24 hours together will create less stress on the puppy and high bidder.

I have 4 other suggestions.  Feel free to contact me for the entire list.

So don’t hesitate to put a puppy in your auction. The “Awe Shucks” can bring in the “Big Bucks.”