FAQ About Auctions

FAQ About Auctions2014-02-17T22:03:33+00:00

What kind of sound system is required for our charity auction event?

An adequate sound system is an essential but often overlooked ingredient for a successful charity auction.  The type and setup of the sound system is unique for different uses.  For example, the music entertainment will require a different setup than your charity auctioneer.  Do not rely on the in-house system either.  A professional sound company can increase the quality of your benefit auction event immeasurably and are well worth the cost.  Remember that fundraising auctions should be fun and loud, but bidders need to know exactly what is going on in order to feel confident enough to bid.  Keep in mind also, that most professional benefit auctioneers will not conduct your charity auction event with an in-house system or the musician’s sound system because they will not adequately distribute the sound throughout the audience.  Do not take the risk of losing any revenues at your benefit auction due to an insufficient sound system.

Is there any lighting or stage requirements for our fundraising auctioneer?

Lighting is very important both for the charity auctioneer and the audience.  For the live benefit auction, get those house lights on full.  The dim lighting common at dinner events is not conducive to an exciting charity auction event.  It tends to make the audience feel drowsy and subdued when you need them to be energetic and excited!  They must be able to easily see what is going on.  Also, it is important to direct the lighting toward the crowd and not the charity auctioneer.  A benefit auctioneer that is being blinded by a spotlight is not going to be able to “read” the crowd and is going to fail to see bids.

Ideally a fundraising auctioneer should be placed on a stage that does not have seating behind or to the sides of it.  He needs to have all members of the audience within visibility at all times.  When a charity auction event has a platform or stage that is in the middle of the crowd, more professional auctioning staff will be required to work with the audience.

Can you assist with the planning of the benefit auction event?

One of the most important event services that we provide is professional charity auction consultation.  We are here to help you from the beginning of the planning stages, to the debriefing meeting after your charity event is over.   We are chock-full of new ideas for your benefit auction, whether this is your first time or your fiftieth annual auction event.  Creative techniques allow us to maximize your potential revenues in your silent auction and live auction.  We can help you to design fun themes, recruit auction donors, acquire the best donated auction items, design your raffle, perform charity auction evaluations, promote guest development, and much more.  See our recently published articles about benefit auction events for a sample.

Can Hot Auctioneering be involved in the silent auction?

Hot Auctioneering can provide silent auction tips and tricks to maximize revenues.  Some of these include silent auction forms, procurement of donated items, silent auction layout, themes for your silent auction, and much more.  Additional floor staff from our company can encourage bidding on silent auctions and may be an added feature that you might consider.

Our non-profit organization is on a very limited budget.  What kind of charity auction services or ideas can you provide?

The services that Hot Auctioneering provides do not cost your non-profit organization anything, but instead make you money.  There are many creative ways of collecting the charity auction fees without affecting the revenue from your benefit event.  We understand that your main goal is to make money at your charity auction event and we are here to help you do just that.  Hot Auctioneering works with large and small fundraising events.  If you feel like your benefit auction event is on a small budget, let us work with you and make it a large source of revenue.  In fact, many annual charity auction events that start out small-scale increase in size every year once they start using a professional charity auctioneer.

Does our nonprofit organization need to use a charity auction software program?

Whether to use a benefit auction software program depends entirely on the needs of your non-profit organization.  There are many charity auction software programs available to non-profit organizations that decide to use one and some of them market to charity auctioneers.  First you must decide which features your organization will need.  Some fundraising auction software programs have more features than you will ever need and some may not have features that are vital to you.  Software support can also be very important to your fundraising auctioneer and your nonprofit organization.  Make sure you are aware of what support they provide and when.  We are familiar with many benefit auction software programs and can go over the pros and cons with you before you buy.  We can also help you to decide whether you need any charity auction software program at all.

Do we need a professional clerking company for our benefit auction event?

Many nonprofit organizations simply cannot fathom handling the clerking aspect of their charity auction and would not conduct one without having a professional clerking company.  However, other nonprofit organizations choose not to use a professional firm because they feel it is unnecessary or it is not in their budget at the moment.  Either way, we will be able to assist you in this matter and go over your options with you.

Do you provide other auction services besides just being our charity auctioneer?

Charity Auctioneer

Auction Floor Staff

Auction Evaluation

Event Planning

Staff Training

Acquisition Advice

Guest Development

Income Generation

Should we use professional bid-spotters or floor staff at our charity auction?          

Our professional charity auction floor staff is more than just bid-spotters.  They are highly trained and entertaining salespeople whose goal is to encourage the bidding not only during the live charity auction, but the silent auction as well.  Most benefit auctions see dramatic increases in their revenues with professional floor staff to assist the charity auctioneer.   Before the live charity auction even begins, our floor staff is busy managing the silent auction items.  They have the ability to promote items that are not receiving the attention and the bids that they deserve.  The floor staff will ensure that the silent auction runs smoothly and closes correctly.  During the live charity auction, professional floor staff increases the excitement and energizes the crowd.  Their focus is on identifying bidders and encouraging them to increase their bids.  They also show their gratitude to the winning bidders.  Some nonprofit organizations attempt to do these jobs themselves, forcing their staff and volunteers to be working during the charity auction.  When our floor staff is on the job, the nonprofit’s staff and volunteers no longer have to work and usually start buying at the fundraising auction, increasing the number of bidders

Is it okay to have a friend or celebrity act as the benefit auctioneer?

It may seem economically sensible to allow a volunteer to conduct the charity auction for your nonprofit organization, but the best way to generate more revenue and make your event more enjoyable for your audience is to hire a professional charity auctioneer.  Getting a “free” local celebrity instead of spending money on a professional benefit auctioneer sounds great in the planning stages but the money that is left on the table at the fundraising event is often not considered and cannot be calculated.  For the amount of time that is spent planning and setting up this benefit auction event, you should ensure that the revenue at the charity auction reaches its full potential.  The cost of the professional fundraising auctioneer will be well worth the financial rewards and will greatly increase the chances for your buyers to return to your next benefit auction event.  An experienced charity auctioneer knows how to maximize bidding and make sure the audience is having fun in the process.  A free local celebrity may be a fine speaker but will not have the skills for this fundraising auction that is very important financially for your nonprofit organization.  A charity auction conducted by a volunteer, not a charity auctioneer, can even be “painful” to sit through for your audience, and will not encourage buying.  If you are going to invest the time and money to host a fundraising auction event, do not make the mistake of cutting corners on the most important job of the night.  It is your one chance, maybe for another year, to generate the funds you need.

Which donated auction items sell best and what auction items should we avoid at our fundraising auction?

The best items to sell at your charity auction are one-of-a-kind opportunities that have no limit to their value.  Things that are not easily obtained elsewhere will create the most profitable bidding wars and intense excitement in the audience.  When there is a stated retail value, bidders tend to stop at that pre-set spending limit.  Avoid donated items that sell below value. These are usually artwork, professional services and jewelry. They are considered individual choices and usually do not sell well at auctions. Unless you know you have several ready bidders prior to your benefit auction event, avoid these types of items.

When you become a client of Hot Auctioneering, you will have access to our list of “hot items” for the best fundraising auction.

How do you charge for your charity auction services?

There are several options when considering payment for the benefit auctioneer and auction consultation services:

No Charge To The Nonprofit Organization Plan

Most nonprofit organizations favor the buyer’s premium option. Your organization spends nothing for the costs of the charity auctioneer and consultation services. The buyer’s premium is paid through the winning bidders. This effectively funds the charity auctioneer and auction consulting services. This way your nonprofit organization keeps one hundred percent of the money earned!

Flat Fee & Incentive Plan

Another option is a flat fee with or without an incentive.  Larger nonprofits or established annual charity auctions may have an amount set aside in their budget to cover the cost of the benefit auctioneer and consultation services.  Sometimes there are specific donors that are willing to sponsor your fundraising auction and cover the cost of the charity auctioneer and consultation services. The incentives beyond the flat fee help to motivate the charity auctioneer to maximize the revenues received at your fundraising auction.

Portion Of The Earnings Plan

Many nonprofits prefer to pay their charity auction fees through the profit made from the actual charity event. In this circumstance, a percentage of the benefit auction proceeds will go to cover the cost of the charity auctioneer and auction consulting services.

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