My time at Auctioneer School
I recently took a course at Mendenhall School of Auctioneering to become an Auctioneer. I’ve spent the last 6 years working with auctioneers across the U.S. and I have always had great respect for them; after spending 9 days in this class, my respect has quadrupled. Like many other nonprofit volunteers – when I work with an auctioneer, I typically think of the time they spend on stage selling items. Some auctioneers also consult with you prior to your event to make sure you are getting good items, setting the auction packages up in the right order, bundling items to bring a higher dollar value and more. There are those auctioneers that also work with you on your special appeal or paddle raise strategy. They help you with crafting the message, as well as setting the levels and timing.
While school did not focus solely on benefit auctions, the principles of all auctions feed into what our benefit auctioneers do. The class consisted of 90 hours of study – some of the topics included accounting and mathematics, ethics, handling sales proceeds, auction preparation and set up, Auction Law, Rules and Regulations, Clerking and Cashiering, Advertising and marketing, Drafting and negotiating contracts, Uniform Commercial Code and of course – bid calling. After all of that, we had to take and pass a 3 hour test. To become a professional auctioneer, you have to study extensively and take a state licensing exam. Your Benefit Auctioneer does all of this and then goes on to take classes on fundraising. Furthermore, to maintain their license, they must take continuing education hours every year. Bottom line is that your professional Benefit Auctioneer has had a lot of training and is always learning so they can help you raise the most money possible for your cause. When selecting an auctioneer for your event;
- Start early, the good auctioneers book up quickly
- Interview them
- Research their credentials, licensing, education and any certifications and professional memberships such as the Association of Fundraising Professionals or the National Auctioneers Association.
- If possible, see them in action at an event
- Get references – one size does not fit all
Bottom line – the Bid Calling is just the icing on the cake. Much like your Gala – no one sees all the work that goes on before-hand to make it happen.
Also see, Auctioneer Kathy Kingston’s Make Money Out of Thin Air – Ultimate Fundraising Auction Items.