Live Auctions: 6 Tips For Hiring The Right Auctioneer
Let's talk about a key member of your fundraising team, The Auctioneer.
Hire the right auctioneer, and you’ll see your numbers go up, but hire the wrong one, and you could be leaving a lot of money on the table.
I’m sharing my favorite tips for how to hire the right Benefit Auctioneer.
Now, you may be thinking, “I don’t need a professional auctioneer. Local Celebrity Joe Commissioner said he’d be happy to lead the auction.”
Well, local celebrities and volunteers may have the best intentions, but the investment you make in a professional benefit auctioneer will let you maximize your efforts and generate much more profit through their expertise.
Yes, during the event benefit auctioneers will lead the auction. They should have a strong understanding of the nonprofit audience.
But benefit auctioneers do so much more.
They should be an integral part of your fundraising team. Most benefit auctioneers will participate in your planning and provide consultation to help you reach your fundraising goals.
Here are 6 tips for hiring the right Benefit Auctioneer:
#1 Ask For Referrals From Other Non-Profits.
After all, your friendly, neighborhood development directors will be able to give you some GREAT insight on how an auctioneer worked for them. Or didn’t...
#2 Interview your top 3 Benefit Auctioneers and choose the one who will be the best ambassador for your organization.
Be sure to get references from non-profits they’ve worked for and follow up with several of those auction committees for valuable insight.
#3 Personality Is Everything!
Select a Personable and Energetic Auctioneer who will get the crowd excited to give money but won’t come across pushy and bossy.
You want to be sure to choose someone with a personality that will shine on the stage, not just in a meeting. So any video clips they can provide will go a long way to show you how they handle a crowd.
#4 Get Details On How They Charge & What That Includes.
Some auctioneers charge a flat rate while others charge a percentage for total sales and others still may choose a combination of the two.
Make sure you are 100% comfortable with how they plan to charge and get all the details up front. Plan anywhere from $3K to $10K or higher depending on the services they offer and their level of expertise.
You don’t want to break the bank, so it’s important to choose a benefit auctioneer who is the best value for your budget.
Many auctioneers provide a lot of valuable support beyond conducting the live auction, including consultation, clerks, bid assistants, vendor support, coaching for speakers, the list can go on and on. Know what you get for your money and get it in writing which brings us to...
#5 Contracts. A contract is a MUST.
A handshake will not seal the deal. If your auctioneer gets a better offer, they may walk away from your event and leave you high and dry.
Don’t risk it!
Get a contract that outlines all of their responsibilities. And if you have someone who is doing your event pro bono, get a contract that reflects that information, especially if it is a friend or relative. (Yes, that includes you, Mom) Should something happen to the auctioneer, their associate will know all the details of the agreement. And finally...
#6 Book The Auctioneer and Venue Simultaneously!
Many auctioneers book 9-18 months in advance of an event. The sooner you can lock down the auctioneer and venue on your calendar the better.