One tip in hiring a benefit auctioneer, and the critical descriptions you’ve shared about past auctioneers

My company's 34th onsite auction of 2013 was earlier this month in Michigan. The client was a spirited nonprofit that competes aggressively in their town, as over 20 other organizations in their area offer similar services.  As you might imagine, it's heavy competition for clients and donations.  Trying to "differentiate" is important. After the auction, the Executive Director told me that about half of his Board approached him to inquire about the new employee — meaning me. Because I was so well-versed in the history, mission, and even the buildings the nonprofit owned, they assumed I was one of the team, working for the « Continue Reading »

Should you really give that guy a microphone? (Or “How to lose your corporate job.”)

One of my projects in my last year of working at GE was planning the annual senior management meeting. That’s when all of the senior team convened in an upscale hotel and spent 3 or 4-days in executive-level strategy and training sessions.  Although we had internal speakers, we also hired outside facilitators, motivational speakers, and similar types. The vetting process was aggressive. I spent hours selecting contractors, watching their videos, reading articles, studying websites, and calling referrals. Why did I bother with such intense vetting of a mere contractor who would be working with us for an hour? Because I was « Continue Reading »

Where smart Auction Chairs spend their money

Established auction committees tend to write lots of checks.   A budget for fundraising gala will vary by group (for instance, you might have access to a free venue; others might negotiate discounted printing), but when we look at the budgets of committees coast-to-coast, we see common expenses.  And it’s not uncommon to see costs shape up like the chart on the right. So do you think that if you write the biggest check to the caterer or the venue or the band (pick a category), they are providing the greatest help to you in your mission?  Probably not.  Let's consider some examples ... If the florist creates stunning « Continue Reading »

Is your benefit auctioneer angling for a one night stand?

It’s a provocative title, n'est-ce pas? But as we are nearing Valentine's Day, it is oh-so-appropriate for us to be frank about this subject. Here's a dirty little secret: As you're calling different auctioneers, trying to find one for your benefit auction, you should know that most of them are secretly hoping for a one-night stand with you. In and out. Perform, collect the check, and leave. These types of benefit auctioneers are not seeking a long-term relationship. They hope that you'll book them for that one glorious night, and require nothing more than that they be onsite for a big performance so they can “do their « Continue Reading »

How to talk like an auctioneer – free training

UPDATE: The class mentioned has passed. To keep abreast of future calls, subscribe to Benefit Auction Ideas. ++++++ Do you know the question I'm most often asked?  You might think it's a question about the benefit auction ... like, "How many items should go into our live auction," or, "Should we wait until dessert to start the live auction?"  But it's none of those types of questions.  Instead, I'm asked this: “Sherry, how did you learn to talk SO FAST?” Auctioneers are known for their “fast talk.” The official term for it is a chant. Some auctioneers learn to chant by listening to other auctioneers. Some learn it « Continue Reading »

Nashville benefit auctioneer for a day, uncensored comments, & my 100% guarantee

If you're seeking benefit auction ideas, this is a no-brainer event to attend. For those of you living in the Nashville area, I invite you to meet me at Maggiano's on Thursday, September 13.  It's like a country-western fairy tale for me ... I'm becoming a Nashville benefit auctioneer for one day.  :) I'm coming to share information on planning profitable auctions. Click here to reserve today.  (I've seen photos of the room and SPACE IS LIMITED.) I'm presenting in conjunction with GreaterGiving, a benefit auction software company.  (I'm delighted that I get to meet another representative from the company, Gretchen.)  « Continue Reading »

Sherry takes 1st runner up in Virginia State Champion Auctioneer contest

It's been three years since I last competed in the Virginia Auctioneers Association (VAA) State Champion Auctioneer contest. In 2009 I took 3rd place (2nd runner-up, as they say).  You can see photos from that event here. Since then, I'd not entered the contest. In part, I've been busy growing my business. But another reason was that I hated the heat. The facility -- though very nice and the owner always arranged for this awesome BBQ -- wasn't air conditioned. There I'd be, in a light wool suit with string-y hair from my sweat and the makeup melting off my face. The men were uncomfortably warm, too. But they have short « Continue Reading »