You’ve put quite a bit of effort into planning your fundraising event.
You’ve spent a lot of money, too. You may be wondering whether it’s worth it to spend those last remaining dollars from your event budget on an auctioneer.
After all, you do have an emcee, so why can’t he or she lead the auction as well? An emcee has a different job, which is to be a public-facing personality who promotes the event and the organization. Hiring a professional auctioneer is well worth the investment. Benefit auctioneers have specialized skills; they know how to keep fundraising the central focus for the entire event, and their techniques and strategies are proven to get top dollar for your auction’s big-ticket donations. A benefit auctioneer is also very adept at extracting money from the entire audience.
Auctioneers Have Skills
For example, there is only one successful bidder for every live auction item, right? However, you might have lots of second bidders who were really close to the final price, and the sum total of their bids could amount to thousands of dollars. Rather than let that money walk out the door, a professional auctioneer is able to use techniques to capture that money in other ways, such as raffles, games and cash appeals. It makes a huge difference, and is likely not something your emcee is trained to do.
If you have a small organization, you may not think you can afford an auctioneer. Think again. Professional auctioneers have a number of ways to help you cover the cost of services and can be quite creative in helping you cover their fee.
How Much Do They Cost?
Costs for auctioneers vary; most charge based on track record and reputation. Some charge a flat fee, while others work strictly on commission. Others work on fee plus commission. Some even bring an item to sell in your event that may cover their cost. You can definitely negotiate with an auctioneer on cost. Don’t forget this is a sponsorship opportunity as well – perhaps you can get the cost underwritten by a donor or a sponsor. Remember that the lowest cost auctioneer may not always be the best. Ask for references and client lists; look for the auctioneer to have repeat business. Choose an auctioneer with a good reputation and one who gives you the best return on your investment. Instead of asking how much an auctioneer costs, ask how much it will cost your event not to hire a professional. Data shows that benefit auctioneers are able to bring in live auction bids that are 50% higher than auctions which do not hire a professional benefit auctioneer.
It may help to think of your fundraising auction as a football game. The clock is ticking. Your team must score. The auctioneer creates unexpected opportunities for your organization to score. The auctioneer is the quarterback, calling plays and dodging pitfalls, but most of all creating momentum among the donors in the crowd. Benefit auctioneers are trained to deliver under pressure, just like a quarterback.
We understand that it might be difficult to justify the expense, and that your board may be pushing back a bit, but hiring a professional auctioneer is definitely worth it in the long run. Your event will score lots of touchdowns!