Fundraising Auctioneer - Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Fundraising Auctioneer

Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Archive for June, 2012

Lights. Camera. Auction.

Posted by Scott On June 28th

We live in a digital age – and there is plenty of opportunity during a fundraiser to use it to your advantage.  I’m speaking specifically about digital video presentations.  They can be so effective during an event – especially if it’s a Fund-A-Need benefit.

During some point of a Fund-A-Need event, the chairperson or other VIP will address the guests – tell them about the organization or cause – go into details about why the money is needed – and who will directly benefit from their generosity. Sometimes these speeches can run on for 10 minutes or more.  That’s a real momentum killer.

I totally understand how it can happen.  The speaker is very passionate about the cause and wants to cover every detail.  To avoid this “time consuming trap” I recommend creating a video presentation instead of having a live speaker. The main reason:  Control.

The talent can be the same.  By that I mean whoever you had planned to address the audience live during the event can be in front of the camera and deliver his or her message via a video segment.  In this controlled environment any mistakes can be edited out.

I personally prefer to use the Voice-Over method. This is where you hear the talent’s voice and see the corresponding video.  The message should be focused on the “why” of the campaign.  Remember, strong video images are often more powerful than words.





Thursday Night Fundraisers

Posted by Scott On June 20th

Now that we’ve discussed the advantages of holding a fundraising event on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, it’s time to head closer to the weekend and reveal the pros of conducting a charity benefit on a Thursday.

A business associate of mine has been in the public relations industry in Southwest Florida for more than 20 years and has coordinated approximately 100 events for the real estate community.  The majority of those events were Grand Openings celebrating the completion of new furnished models.

With very few exceptions, the open house events were scheduled on Thursdays. Why?  The people attending the event prefer to have their weekends free.  The open houses also started at 4 and always concluded by 7 – give or take a few minutes depending on the size of the crowd. Why the early start?  In this case the real estate agents had an excuse to leave the office early and could stop at the event as they made their way home. It’s a matter of convenience.

Much of the same can be said for conducting a fundraising event on a Thursday night.  Perhaps most important – it avoids any conflicts with weekend events, especially if it’s football season.  It’s hard to compete with college football and the NFL.

Thursday is just one day away from Friday, and most people are in great moods as the weekend approaches.  That festive spirit often translates into a fun event – and fun events historically bring in more dollars for the charity.

Unlike the example I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I don’t recommend starting a Thursday event at 4 p.m.  Plan to start at 6 and conclude by 10. This gives guests the option to go directly to the event following work or go home first to change and still arrive on time.

And don’t be surprised if more individuals show up.  Weekend events usually attract couples.  Thursday events tend to attract more singles and one spouse. But, don’t worry.  This trend has little effect on the bottom line.

So, Thursdays are a great day for a fundraiser. Just keep the event fun.  Think of it as a warm up to the weekend.  And you’ll be beating other fundraising events to the punch.

Make the Right Call

Posted by Scott On June 12th


Let me start by saying I have the highest regard for all auctioneers – no matter what discipline they may represent.

I recall my childhood days attending farm auctions in Kentucky with my father.  And I look fondly back at attending antique auctions with my mother. It’s this early contact with these fine auctioneers which lead me eventually to my career.

But, there is a big difference from a professional benefit auctioneer and today’s farm or antique auctioneer.  Or cattle auctioneer.  Or automobile auctioneer.

Those auctioneers are selling a specific product, whether it be a tractor, an old lamp, a prized bull or a 1964 Mustang.  A professional benefit auctioneer sells himself – and by making that connection with the audience – is able to transform that connection into increased revenue for the charity and its causes.

So, why is this battle-of-the-auctioneers a problem now?  That question can be answered in one word:  Internet.   More general auctions are being conducted on the Internet, via various websites, so the need for a general auctioneer practitioner is on the decline.  And since more fundraisers are being scheduled every year – some auctioneers who once stood among cattle are now knocking on benefit chairmen’s doors wanting to be herd.  I mean heard.

Through my network of national contacts I’ve listened to some very interesting stories told from benefit chairs who hired such an auctioneer.  The results – well let’s just say financial targets were not reached.

The bottom line is:  When it comes to selecting a benefit auctioneer – make the right call. Hire a professional that specializes in benefit auctions only. Remember, just because someone can talk fast doesn’t mean they are just your speed.


Monday’s Can be the Next Saturday

Posted by Scott On June 8th

I know what you’re thinking.  A benefit auction on a Monday?  You must be crazy!  But, the fact of the matter is – depending on your target audience or guest list – Mondays can be an excellent day for a benefit.

If your event is targeting the general working class, I wouldn’t recommend a Monday.  However, the first day of the work week works extremely well with retirees and even those in the hospitality industry since the majority of them work weekends and have Mondays off.

But, start earlier than normal.  Kick off your event at 5:30 rather than 6 and conclude the event by 9:30.

Here’s the main reason why Mondays can be effective.  No Competition. And, no competition means you’ll have a wider selection of venues and probably get a much better deal from caterers and those providing the entertainment since they are seldom busy at the start of the week.

Getting a lower price on the location, food and entertainment means the organization can upgrade its event and that equates to raising more money.  And remember, a “Stand Alone” event has a better chance of garnering more broadcast and print media coverage.

So think like the Mommas and the Poppas, “Monday.  Monday.  So good to me.”  It could be for your bottom line as well.