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  • Writer's pictureJohn Wendelken

What to look for when hiring a Live Auctioneer

Seek someone who has charity auction experience – You should start with an auctioneer who has earned the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) designation. Why? Because an individual with the BAS designation, issued by the National Auctioneers Association, has received targeted education to help their nonprofit clients generate more revenue. The BAS designation course teaches charity auctioneers how to think outside of the box and on the fly. There are only a few hundred fundraising professionals who hold this designation nationwide. These benefit auctioneers really are in a league of their own when it comes to charity auctions. An auctioneer should do so much more than simply sell a few items during your live auction. Any auctioneer can do that. A Benefit Auctioneer Specialist has a slower chant the guests can understand and they will interact and entertain your guests, encouraging the bidders to bid one more time for the cause. They will make a point to thank your guests for bidding/giving.

Find an auctioneer who consults with staff and volunteers prior to the event – You never have to go it alone when you hire a Benefit Auctioneer Specialist. Because they conduct charity auctions specifically, they participate in many charity events each year. They’ve seen what works and what doesn’t, and they share that knowledge with you and your nonprofit. They can guide you regarding which items sell best during a live auction, including how to double your revenue by selling more than one of the same item in certain circumstances. A BAS is able to help you find high-end, unique auction items. They can assist you with planning the evening’s timeline in a way that will maximize the fundraising. These are only a few of the ways a benefit auctioneer professional will prove valuable to your event.

Ask for references from your auctioneer – Talk to others who have used the auctioneer you have under consideration. Ask the auctioneer what three things they will do that will impact your bottom line.

Search for an auctioneer who holds a professional license

So now, let’s get to the elephant in the room, the question everyone wants an answer to – compensation. Yes, there will be a direct out-of-pocket cost to hire a professional benefit auctioneer. But this cost will be offset by the revenue generating ideas and counsel they provide. All vendors carry a cost to your nonprofit. But the caterer, venue and hotel will not provide a return on that investment like your charity auctioneer will. A professional fundraising auctioneer will help you make money before the doors are ever opened. In the end, a “free” auctioneer can cost you a lot of money. You can’t afford NOT to hire a professional fundraising auctioneer.

Selecting an auctioneer is not something that should be taken lightly. This is not the time to have a board member or celebrity “act” as your auctioneer. To insure you are tapping into every penny at your next charity auction event, I highly encourage you to hire a professional fundraising auctioneer expert.


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