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Live Auctions: Benefit Auctioneer or Commercial Auctioneer?

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When you’re sick, do you go to the vet?

Or do you go to the doctor?

The vet definitely has LOTS of training in treating kitty cats and farm animals, so there’s a chance that they might be able to successfully treat you, too. But I bet most people would choose the doctor first because they are the best equipped for the job at hand.

So when someone decides to have a fundraising auction in order to benefit a non-profit, would you recommend they go to a cattle auctioneer or a benefit auctioneer?

The cattle auctioneer will have lots of experience selling cattle. But why not hire the auctioneer who is best equipped for the job at hand?

Let’s take a look at why the right skill set is so crucial to your success.

At a commercial auction a lot of times the bidder that's buying something ... they're used to going to auctions, they're familiar with auctions. They go to auctions all the time.

Where at BENEFIT auctions, sometimes it's your guests first time they’ve ever been to an auction, and a lot of times you have to teach people how to bid.

You can't just started rattling off a whole bunch of numbers and hope everybody keeps up, you've gotta be able to bring them along the way with you.

Benefit auctioneers educate your crowd.


And it’s not just about spouting off numbers.

Reading the room and engaging the audience is key.

Yes, the auctioneer DOES need to rattle numbers, but you also have to be able to interject some conversation and never lose track of where you are in the bidding sequence.

And then the entertainment factor plays in where you have to remember where you are, you've got to be able to look at the person and say, "You deserve a vacation, my friend." in a playful way.

Then getting them to bid, and then once they bid go back to the OTHER person you were talking to without hesitation and say, "Okay, back to you at $10,000."

With benefit auctions there is definitely a fun factor.

You have to have an auctioneer who has a personality that’s not like sitting in front of a brick wall.

You need someone who is DYNAMIC

You need someone that is PLAYFUL

Someone who knows how to ENGAGE a crowd

And they need to engage the crowd not only from the stage DURING the auction, but also earlier in the night as they mingle around the silent auction.

They should introduce themselves, and get to know your crowd BEFORE they even hit the stage... because THEN they can PERSONALIZE it by getting to know donors and the people who are there.

Benefit auctioneers can do the rattle, the patter, the Chant, while still making it fun and personalized for your attendees.


A good auctioneer is part of a strong team who can help you, too. I think that's a big part for us. At Artisan Auctions we have a whole team that comes to support your event.

You don't just get the auctioneer. You get a full team of people who are dedicated to your successful night, who are all on the same page, and can all work together to make sure that the event is going to go smoothly.

And if something starts going sideways, the team is there to say, "Okay, how are we going to course correct? Oh, I’ve got it!"

They inform the auctioneer of any adjustments that need to be made, and on you go, seamlessly inspiring your crowd and raising more money.

And that’s the biggest difference I’ve noticed over the years.

Commercial auctioneers are great at moving stuff. But at a benefit auction, you don’t just need to move stuff, you need to do exactly what professional benefit auctioneers do best, because the bottomline is...

Commercial auctioneers move STUFF, benefit auctioneers move PEOPLE.

That’s the heart of what we do, and that why I love it.

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