Fundraising Auctioneer - Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Fundraising Auctioneer

Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Archive for April, 2013

exchanging packages beneficial for charities

Oh the holidays.  The time of year you exchange presents – wrapped packages if you will – with family and friends.  The feeling you get when you give.  The feeling you get when you receive.

In this case, however, I’m not talking about exchanging Christmas packages, but rather auction packages.  Let me explain.

I live in Southwest Florida and work with many outstanding charitable organizations in the area.  It’s easy for us to put together a package of goodies that focus on sun, sand, and water to be auctioned off.  We have access to Gulf-front hotels, superb restaurants, fun fishing charters, private world-class golf courses and excursions through the Everglades National Park. Yes, it’s paradise.

That’s the good news.  The not-so-good news is “we live here.”  These are things we can do every day.  But, these are not things the residents of our northern states have access to on a daily basis.

Exchanging Packages Beneficial For Both Charities

Now reverse the situation.  A charity in Wisconsin, as an example, has access to a luxury cabin in the woods on a lake, with fresh water fishing right outside the door, a hillside golf course just miles away and fine restaurants scattered about the historic old town just down the road.

If this package was auctioned off in Wisconsin, it probably would not garner a great deal of excitement since this is something many of the residents of the state can do on a regular basis.

So I propose a trade.  An even swap.  Place the Wisconsin getaway package in a Florida benefit auction and place the Florida getaway package in the Wisconsin benefit auction. All you need to do is find a willing trading partner.

So, how do you locate such a partner?  If you are a Florida charity concerned about environmental issues locate a similar organization in Wisconsin. If your group raises money to fund children’s programs contact groups in Wisconsin with the same cause.

It may take a little time to locate the right trading partner – but when you do you will discover it’s a win/win/win situation. Both charities have fresh “getaway packages to exciting destinations” to auction off and that will bring in more money to the charity’s bottom line.

“Instant Purchase” Option Gaining Popularity  At Silent Auctions

More than a year ago I released my Top 14 Tips on how to make a silent auction run smoothly – and profitably. I’m happy to report I just updated my Top 14 list by adding another important tip which will surely add to a charity’s or organization’s bottom line.


That important 15th tip deals with the option of “Instant Purchase.”  As many of you know, during a silent auction attendees monitor items during a period of several hours and continually up the bid if someone has outbid them.


Instant Purchase is just that – Instant.  It allows bidders to purchase a silent auction item instantly at a predetermined price.  The price should be decided for each individual item base on perceived popularity.  The general rule of thumb is to price the item at 150% to 200% of the item’s retail value.


As an example, let’s say the silent auction included a family ski vacation with a retail value of $5,000. A guest could instantly purchase that vacation for $7,500 or $10,000.  Another prime example is a strand of pearls. After the wife hints she really likes them the husband purchases them at the marked up price and takes them off the market. It’s a win-win situation as the husband doesn’t take the chance of being out bid and the charity sells the item more much higher than retail.


It’s important to note that not all silent auction items lend themselves to the “Instant Purchase” option. Those items are the ones that have no definite retail price or are not normally sold in the retail marketplace.

For example, a celebrity wine dinner or a class project constructed by the 2nd grade at a school auction.  A week stay in a mountain cabin owned by a friend of the charity but is never available for rent also would not qualify.


The bidders who enjoy the instant purchase option are generally male who simply do not want to continually monitor the silent auction sheets, but prefer to buy the item at the inflated cost which affords them the opportunity to hang out with their friends at the reception.


So, the next time you are conducting a silent auction, don’t forget to make some of the items up for bid available through the “Instant Purchase” option.


And don’t forget about my other Top 14 Tips.  Check them out by going to my website,

Keeping FUN in your FUNdraising Event

Posted by Scott On April 11th

Wine Fest 2010 222

One doesn’t often associate a benefit auction with a statistical equation, but I actually have one for you.  What percent of the guests who attend a benefit auction come for the fun?  Well the answer is high.  Very high.  92 percent to be exact.

There is no doubt your guests would not be there if they did not support your cause or want to donate generously.  But, research has shown they give more when they are surrounded by a fun environment.

This can be accomplished partially by creating a fun theme and then decorating the venue to coincide with the theme. Themes can be crucial to your success and can change as fast as Clark Kent in a telephone booth.

I have a long list of current theme ideas.  The list is too long to mention in a blog, but contact me and I’d be happy to share some ideas with you.

Scottt with MicYour emcee or host is also crucial.  He or she must set the pace for the evening and keep the audience engaged and entertained.

And don’t forget to step up your “Fun Meter” every year.  Benefit auctions with the same basic theme year after year soon fail to raise the excitement level of attendees and that translates into falling donations.  Think fun and think fresh.

So, keep the fun in your FUNdraising FUNction.  It’s great for your bottom line. And 92 percent of your guests are there because of it.