Fundraising Auctioneer - Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

Fundraising Auctioneer

Scott Robertson Auctioneers Blog

You know it seems like 50% of the time when I’m doing an event for the first time, the same question always comes up, right in the heart of the event.

When the silent auction is going on and it’s about to be closed down, someone will come rushing up and say, “Wait, wait! We can’t close the silent auction. We don’t have enough bids!”

Well I’m telling you, ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t follow your timeline, if you don’t close on the timeline…BIG, BIG MISTAKE.

Continue reading “Why You Should Never Delay the Silent Auction at Your Fundraiser” »

electronic bids

In my previous blog I discussed the growing trend of utilizing an Electronic Bidding system during silent auctions.  I also talked about its current cost and discussed some of the pros and cons of using e-Bidding. Now, let’s delve into this subject a little further.

As I see it, the e-Bidding system does have some limitations. Here are a few.

1)   Your attendees have less “window shopping”. opportunities to see items that have a low number of bids.

2)   There is no bid sheet to see the items that are not getting much attention.

3)   With e-Bidding there is usually a list of items with no bids. But once the item receives a bid the attendee has to search for the item on the device to see the current price.

4)   The attendees have less interaction with other attendees and tend to stay clumped in groups with friends.

5)   The BANDWIDTH of the facility is CRITICAL. Depending upon the location there might not be enough bandwidth to support all of the mobile devices in a small area. If this is the case an auxiliary system is brought in by the e-Bidding provider to supplement the house system.

6)   Smart Phones and other electronic devices have limited battery life. This could create a problem if the bidding extends past 3 hours.

Here are some additional advantages to using the e-Bidding system.

1)   If the silent auction area cannot contain the number of attendees, this method allows them to make one pass through the silent auction area, determine the items on which they desire to bid, and then retire to a larger area to congregate and continue to bid.

2)   Attendees can chat with their friends and be notified immediately when they are outbid.

3)   Reconciling the silent auction is automatic as the bidding devices interface directly with most computerized auction software.

4)   Everyone automatically knows if they have “WON” a silent auction item.

pros and cons of electronic bidding

So now, let’s recap.  The main disadvantage of going to the e-Bidding system is the cost. Your silent auction should raise enough money to a good return on investment before considering making the change. Other disadvantages include: Older attendees tend to shy away from technology. It takes the human factor out of bidding.  And strolling past the item does not allow the bidders to see the popularity of the item.

The main advantage of going to the e-Bidding system is speed. This is especially true during “check out” since all the information is already interfaced with the computer. This is a big plus when your event has more than 400 attendees.

Now, I must give you fair warning. Electronic Bidding is fun and different.  And once you use e-Bidding you will likely have to bring it back year after year since your attendees will demand the service.

Feel free to contact me for additional clarification or for information regarding who provides this service. You could send me a letter – but doing it electronically will sure be a lot quicker.


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HandShake, Rattle & Roll

Posted by Scott On July 18th

fundraising auctioneer

I’m often surprised by the number of people who know my name.  I’m not talking about colleagues. I’m referring to people who I might know casually or meet on occasion.

The manager of a local Fort Myers, Florida restaurant is one good example. The minute I step in the door she greets me with a warm smile, sometimes a handshake, but always with the words, “It’s good to see you again Mr. Robertson.  Welcome back.”

I have to be honest with you.  I think I only introduced myself to her once several years ago. Yet, she approaches me like a long lost friend. And that does something to me that makes me feel good about being there.

In this day and age of high-tech gadgetry – where emails have replaced the personal, handwritten letter – and the art of face to face conversation has been reduced to text messages or a ‘tweet’, it does the heart good to know a simple greeting – that includes an actual name – can change a person’s total disposition.

Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than at a charity fundraising event.

I’ve always encouraged the event chairs I work with and every charity VIP to know who will be coming through their event’s door. This is easily done by simply studying the guest list and then actually greeting the guest as they arrive – by name.


I’ve stood near these greeting lines on occasion and have watched faces turn from “We’re here – what do we do next?” to “What a nice hello – and she knew my name!” Their smiles said it all.

And for lack of a better phase – it made them feel important. This is even more true when the people being greeted by their names bring along friends that are unknown to the charity’s members. This scenario really boosts the ego of those who are known while at the same time makes their guests feel as if they are attending the event with VIP’s themselves.

But don’t forget.  Even an unknown guest should be greeted warmly.


The bottom line: Know your guests by their names – and greet them with a warm handshake.  This will put them in a positive and happy frame of mind and they’ll be more eager to rattle cash out of their wallets and purses.  And of course, that means there will be an increase in the charity’s bankroll.