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Fundraising Auctioneer

Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Archive for February, 2014

Clothing the Deal

Posted by Scott On February 28th

to helm and back-Scott Robertson Auctioneers

It’s no secret that one of the things I’m known for is my colorful vests. Not only do they energize me when I put them on, it energizes the attendees – and in a subtle way – sets the stage for a fun event.

Over the course of my career I’ve had to literally “give the shirt” or should I say vest “off my back.” I’ll sacrifice it for a good cause, but only if the situation and timing is appropriate.

My experience has been – that if a vest is going to sell – it needs to be spontaneous with the guest making the request. In 2013, such a request was made 6 different times with one vest selling for $15,000. If you’re curious – opening bids start at a minimum of $1,000.



The timing of the selling of the vest is crucial. If an auction is humming along the last thing I want to do is interrupt the flow. I also don’t want to siphon proceeds that may have gone to a major cause such as Fund-A-Need.

With that said, if an auction needs a shot of excitement, selling the vest off my back can be a great addition.

Now, here’s something else I’ve learned through 20 years of experience.

CCA Orlando 001

When the auction is in full swing my job is to be totally focused. Any side deals like this are handled by my auction assistants or the event planner in charge of the event.

If someone, particularly a well-meaning volunteer who has heard about me selling a vest at auction brings up the idea, my auction assistants quickly dismiss it if the volunteer is not planning on backing up the idea by bidding on it. And for it to be successful addition to an auction, I prefer at least 2 people being committed to purchasing the vest so we have an actual auction experience.

In short – I’m happy to give the vest off my back.  But it only works if 2 or more people want to bid on it and only if the request occurs in a spontaneous “fashion.”



A few months ago I wrote a 2-part Blog on the subject of meetings. For those who might have missed it, here’s a quick review.

1)   Keep meetings short

2)   Only essential attendees should be present

3)   Stick to the topic

4)   Be sure something was accomplished

In this Blog, I’d like to expand on that theme by asking the question, “What fundraising auction committee meeting is the most important?”

A)  The first meeting with all committee members

B)  The meeting 3 months prior to the event

C)  The last meeting prior to the event

D)  No meeting is more important than the other

Well, to be honest with you, none of those answers are the correct answer.  That’s because the most important meeting is the “debriefing” meeting that takes place after an event. The debriefing meeting should be held the week following the event and no later than two weeks.

Scottt with Mic

Let me explain why!

To begin with, the memories of the just concluded event will be fresh on everybody’s mind. It’s also much easier to review every aspect of the event – from start to finish – and determine what went flawlessly and what might – if anything – needs to be slightly adjusted.

But, here’s the main reason the debriefing meeting is the most important – the fundraising auction committee for the next year’s event – especially the Chairs – absolutely must be present.

The information discussed at the debriefing meeting is a valuable resource for those who will be in charge of the next event. Their presence will reduce their stress level immensely.  It will also reduce their workload during the coming year.

It’s human nature to put the debriefing meeting off – or not have one at all. After all, the committee Chairs and committee worked so hard on the event they want to take a break and not think about it. These same individuals, along with the staff and volunteers, feel they need to get back to their lives, work and families, who they feel have been neglected in the weeks preceding the event.

So be sure to schedule a debriefing meeting within two weeks of the event.  And be sure the Chairs for the next event are present for the meeting.

It’s never too early to start planning.  And the initial planning should begin with a review.

Video Marketing A Growing Trend (Part 2)

Posted by Scott On February 12th

video marketing a growing trend-Scott Robertson Fundraising Auctioneer

In our last blog we talked about the trend regarding the use of videos in promoting fundraising events. We also reviewed what the videos could promote including; the specific mission of the charity, the items up for auction and how past events helped change lives and made the community better – to name just a few.

Also discussed was the length of a video.  “Keep it short” was a repeated theme.  Some could be as short as 30 seconds – while others could run up to 2 minutes – but no longer. Remember, people’s attention spans aren’t what they used to be.

Now, it’s time to get your video on the Internet. It’s a relatively simple process – so don’t panic.

The easiest way to get your video on the Internet is by using YouTube and creating your very own channel.

To get started, go to On the upper right hand side will be a blue icon that says “Sign In.” Click it. The next thing – in the same position – is a red icon that says “Create an Account.” Click on it and fill out the form.


When you finish the “set up process” your channel will have been created.  You can than begin to upload your video or videos to your new YouTube channel.

video marketing trend a growin trend-Scott Robertson Fundraising Auctioneer

Now, there are 2 different ways to connect your new YouTube channel to your website.  The easiest is to have your website administrator set up a YouTube link on your site.  By doing this anyone on your website can click on the YouTube link and go directly to your YouTube Channel to view the videos.

The other is to have your website administrator actually click on one of the videos on your YouTube channel.  Directly underneath the video will be the word “Share”.  Click it. At this time 3 new icons will appear including the word “Embed”.  Click it to expose the actual “embed code.”  Your website administrator can now copy and place that code directly on your website for immediate viewing.

For those who shoot video with their cell phones – it gets a little tricky.  That’s because all cell phones aren’t exactly alike, but here’s the general concept.

After you shoot your video with your phone, plug your phone into your computer and download the video by following the prompts that appear.  Once the video is downloaded you can upload it on your YouTube channel.


Some Smart Phones however allow you, once the video is shot, to simply select the video and share it on YouTube directly.

This may all sound complicated to the video novice – but it’s not.  And the payoff could be – well – blockbuster.

Video Marketing A Growing Trend

Posted by Scott On February 6th

video marketing a growing trend-scott robertson auctioneers

I had lunch a few weeks back with a friend who produces and hosts business and real estate videos for the Internet. He mentioned that such videos are a growing trend due to the fact the majority of “Web Surfers” prefer to be entertained and informed in a short video presentation format rather than having to read paragraph upon paragraph of copy. What he said made perfect sense.

This new video trend is also beginning to gain momentum in the world of fundraising.  If you are not promoting your event with the use of video let me help you get started.

Nearly every cell phone these days not only takes photos, but also video. Although this could do in a pinch, I’d recommend using a regular digital camcorder due to the fact the quality is much better.

Once your video is recorded it will have to be imported from the camera to a computer, edited, and then uploaded to YouTube or other video-sharing sites. This may sound complicated – but trust me – someone on your staff will be happy to take on this task.



So, what should be explained or shown in a video format?  Well, just about anything.  But, here’s a good place to start.

1)    Use video to better explain the mission of the charity

2)   Use video to promote the items in the auction

3)   Use video to help sell tickets

4)   Use video to show how the previous year’s event helped  change lives and made the community better

5)   Shoot video during your current event (when appropriate) of people having fun as promotion for next year’s event

Now, here’s perhaps the most important advice I can give regarding these videos – KEEP THEM SHORT!

People’s attention spans are short – so keep every video you produce short.  Some videos should run as short as 30 seconds while the longest they should run is 2 minutes – and that’s pushing it.

In the months to come you will be seeing more and more fundraising events promoted with the use of videos on the Internet.  So grab those digital camcorders and start shooting. Who knows – you might be the next Alfred Hitchcock or Steven Spielberg.

In our next blog we’ll discuss how to link your videos to your website and to YouTube.