Robin, the 2010 Auction Chair at Orchard House School in Richmond, VA, oversaw an auction gain of almost $50,000. The school moved their auction revenue from $19,000 to almost $70,000 in one year … but it wasn’t easy. In this clip, you’ll hear Robin and Janie (her friend and committee member) speak about the changes.
Hear from a “naysayer” — someone who didn’t want to hire me. In this clip shot after the auction, Janie (a committee member) talks with Britta (a parent) about why she didn’t feel comfortable moving from a volunteer auctioneer (a parent) to a professional.
We found Sherry while surfing for ideas online. When we started to check around, and we realized that a couple of our parents had heard her speak several years ago.
We decided to hire her because we wanted fresh ideas. What sells better; what do people WANT to buy?
We also enrolled in her 8-week online Blueprint course, which is incredibly in-depth, fabulous, fun and the best money you could spend as an Auction Chair. There were so many great ideas and even photos of other events which gave us even more ideas.
We also had the Red Apple team work our event at the auction.
This year, we had record attendance. Only a handful of items failed to sell. We even had several items selling over their value in the silent auction, and that’s happened maybe once in the past.
And when it was all said and done, we had tons of compliments.
After all the pushing and pulling and general resistance over these last few months, guests had fun. What a relief to have that confirmation that we did the right thing. We’ve had lots of good feedback.
And while we don’t have final numbers yet, it appears we may have increased sales by 20%, over and above the fee to Red Apple Auctions.
Phyllis Moroney, Auction Gala Co-Chair 2010
St. Jerome Catholic School (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
It was a 30% net increase from the previous year.
We knew there was more money to be made than what we’d been raising.
We’d been using a professional auctioneer, but Red Apple Auctions showed us the difference between a benefit auctioneer and an auctioneer. I personally loved everything Red Apple gave to our event. We would have never had done as well as we did without you.
Shayna Neal, Auction Co-Chair 2008
Christ Church School (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
It’s been two months since we held our Gala, and people are still talking about it!
Sherry and her team helped us to break all previous records, financially and otherwise for this annual fund raising event.
We can’t thank her enough. We know we’ve worked with the BEST auctioneer bar none, and can’t wait until next year!!
Lauri Zell and Franny Rock, 2008 Gala Co-chairs
Bullis School (Potomac, MD)
When I agreed to co-chair our annual school auction, I knew I wanted to kick the event up a few notches. For my legacy, I wanted something that stood out and set a precedent for “how to run an auction.”
I knew that, despite some initial resistance from people due to prior unsuccessful experiences they’d had in the past, the event would be more successful if I invested in a professional charity auctioneer.
After spending several hours speaking with multiple auction companies, I selected Red Apple Auctions.
Sherry was very enthusiastic and would be there every step of the way helping us plan the event and implement several new ideas to maximize the money raised, which was especially critical in this economy.
I knew I would be getting a high-energy auctioneer, but I also got other benefits I hadn’t factored into my initial search.
Because we really re-vamped our program (with Red Apple’s help), I appreciated having someone guide us in structuring our activities and giving us methods for getting the entire crowd involved in giving.
We also loved the fabulous floor team they brought because we were really short-staffed on volunteers. They jumped right in and started working!
I have received nothing but absolute praise and excitement regarding the many changes we made with Sherry’s help, and those that resisted initially could not have been more pleased with Sherry and her team and the changes we made.
Although I’m not chairing the auction again, I know our 2009 auction chair already spoke with Red Apple to re-book them for the next year!
Brooke Austin, 2008 Auction Co-Chair
St. Andrews Episcopal Academy (Fort Pierce, FL)
Boomer Erick thought he was attending “just another fundraiser, like we have every weekend here in Naples, FL.”
He stood corrected.
“I’ve been to a lot of these before and I was totally surprised by how Sherry was able to command the audience and raise money.”
Like many auction chairs, Catherine Leggett is active in her community. In December 2010, Bethesda magazine featured her as one of nine “Women We Admire” ! Congratulations, Catherine!
She regularly supports worthy charities by attending fundraisers, chairing galas, and working in a plethora of other ways both in front of the cameras and behind the scenes. Because of her involvement in so many groups, she’s watched the Red Apple Auctions team perform many times.
“If you want someone to stimulate the crowd, ignite enthusiasm, and most importantly, raise money for your cause, Sherry is the way to go,” she shares.
You know how some people are nervous around cameras? Not this donor! This straight shooter attended a small performing arts gala I was working that has ~180 guests.
“This was the most fun night I’ve had in ages!” he says in the clip (among other things).
The cool thing is that I saw him the following year at the same gala. “You can continue to use my testimonial,” he said, post-event. “It still stands.”
You’re a rock star.
It’s great how excited you get when you sell an item. I’ve been smiling about it all weekend.
Fred Diamond, DIAMOND Marketing (Live Auction Chair 2009)
Northern Virginia Family Services (Fairfax, VA)
We were both waiting for our cars at the valet when Fred stopped me to say the auction tonight was “second to none.”
“What do you think made it special?” I pressed.
“The enthusiasm, the encouraging of the crowd, and the way the crowd responded to you,” he shares.
In light of the economy and reduced numbers in attendance, I think the auction was a huge success. As always, your debriefing report is so thorough and so helpful. We were relieved and grateful to have done so well this year, especially since attendance was down.
I will let you know as soon as we’ve chosen a date for next year since we would love to have you back!
Dianne Straus, Executive Director 2009
Children’s Chorus of Washington (Washington, DC)
Sherry Truhlar was a real hit!
Her enthusiasm and energy captivated the audience. The ABB leadership team was fully engaged throughout both the silent and live auctions.
The positive feedback from the audience made it our best executive team event and more importantly, we doubled what we expected to raise for our first auction!
Phil Lloyd, SVP Human Resources
ABB North America (Raleigh, NC)
Our enormous success this year – our best gala EVER – was due in no small part to your involvement.
Your initial presentation and consultations throughout the planning process were invaluable to my committee. And WOW did you ever light up the auction, working bidders to prices far beyond items stated values! Your detailed post-event report was thorough, well constructed and included some of the best pictures anyone took of the event spaces that night. It will provide a solid basis on which the Foundation can continue to grow this event.
Bottom line, Red Apple Auctions was a fabulous addition to our Gala. I give you my very highest personal commendation and would welcome the opportunity to speak with any potential clients should they ask for a reference.
Sherry Crittenden, Gala Chair 2008
Arlington Community Foundation (Arlington, VA)
Red Apple Auctions is more than professional: your ability to consult, inform and lead us above and beyond our goal was amazing. You taught us so much and were easy to contact, day or evening.
Sherry, I cannot thank you enough for making our auction the best it has ever been.
Karen Virdinlia, Development Assistant
Children’s Advocacy Center of Collier County (Naples, FL)
The Washington Performing Arts Society 2011 team sent me a nice thank you after the 2011 event.
(Watch footage from their high-end event.)
The money has been counted, and our first-ever Bite Nite raised $83,000! The money is great, but even more importantly – even weeks later – the good feelings and compliments keep rolling in (I’m going to share some of them in this letter).
Our event has done more than raise money; it’s raised interest in our cause by positioning us in a positive light. Potential donors can’t miss it; there’s no mistaking that good things are happening here and they should get involved. I don’t exactly know how to put a price on that yet, but I sense it’s worth more than $83,000.
I’m not kidding when I say that here in the Phoenix area, a charity is hosting a fundraiser almost every night of the week, 12 months a year. We knew that our first-ever event had to be special to get attention. With your help, we nailed it.
One guest wrote, “Having attended at least six ‘new to the market’ gatherings I can say, without the slightest doubt, you have raised the bar and created a new gold standard.” Another said, “This was the first year? Wow! We had a blast.” Even one of the restaurant vendors commented, telling me he’d seen many silent auctions around town, but had never seen a silent auction run as well as ours.
As you know, our “new to the market” gala was structured to be an evening filled with lots of great restaurants and an entertaining band. We knew we’d include an auction and assumed we would handle it “in-house” until I saw your resources on LinkedIn. Although my team had planned, executed and attended many events with auctions, we aren’t planning auctions day-in and day-out. We lack that insider expertise. And coming from a corporate background myself, I understood the idea of having a specialist “running the show.” As I told you on the phone during our meetings, “Just tell us the best way to do it, and we’ll execute.” You knew what would work. And after getting our feet wet this year, we’ll be prepared to tackle even more next year. You’ve set us up on a course for success.
Naturally, my team and I thought Bite Night was special. But it was all the continuing emails and phone calls that kept on coming that made us realize how unique it really was. Simply put, you made us look good and the flawless execution attracted new supporters (and remember, these are supporters who regularly attend competing events in our area).
“It was such a classy and well organized event, I really believe it was one of the best events ever,” wrote one. “I have been to a few charitable events and have never experienced anything approaching the vibe of generosity and dedication to the cause that was obvious the entire night,” said another. “You have set the bar high and I wish you and your organization continued success in your efforts,” wrote a third. “I wanted to thank you for asking us to be a part of an amazing evening. We hope we made you as proud as we were to be a part of it. We had a splendid time and were honored to be a participant,” penned another.
And I can’t even begin to tell you the number of unsolicited emails we received that just said, “Thanks, we had a GREAT time!”
Sure, these guests enjoyed the music, the food, the vibe, and all of that. But our silent and live auction was the strong undercurrent running through the night. We trusted you on our set-up, and then trusted you to represent us on the microphone. If the auction had been anything different, many of those compliments wouldn’t have been sent.
Sherry, thank you for helping us knockout ALS! As I told you after the event, my team and I got way more than our money’s worth from you. If anyone questions your fee, have them call me. We’re walking on air here in Arizona.
With My Warmest Regards and Thanks,
Ken Brissa, President & CEO
The ALS Association Arizona Chapter (Scottsdale, AZ)
Along with the financial support, the energy in the room was excellent and much will be gained from that in the year ahead. I am delighted with the outcomes. We had an outstanding team and everyone really worked hard to make the event a success.
Thank you for your invaluable contributions. We took your advice along the way, and were not disappointed. Bill did a terrific job, greatly enhanced the whole experience, and in general was a major “hit.” We were delighted with the results.
Resa Levy, President
Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation (Rockville, MD)
Our national organization hosts two-to-three auctions a year throughout the country. Our largest and most profitable is our annual Gala Auction held in Washington, D.C. in October.
We have hosted this auction for years and utilized many other auctioneers, but never have received the turnout and the results as we had this year since choosing Sherry and Red Apple Auctions.
Sherry was terrific from the beginning until the end and her team was detail-oriented and fantastic to work with.
Our crowd loved Colonel Bill and even months after the auction, I still field calls from bidders saying that they had the best time – and our bottom line really reflects this enthusiasm.
My advice for those thinking of hiring Sherry and her team is to book your appointment right away because Sherry will blow you away with her passion, knowledge, experience and great ideas!
Alessia Dinkel, Development Manager
The National Italian American Foundation (Washington, DC)
Click to read the next page of testimonials.