"There is no substitute for results and experience."
What to expect to pay for a professional auctioneer
Congratulations! The committee has decided unanimously to have a live auction at the next fundraising event to raise the critical funds needed for your non-profit organization. The most frequent question I receive as a fundraising event specialist is, "WHERE DO WE BEGIN?" My reply is always the same: Set the date of the event, Secure the venue, and Hire an expert, a fundraising auctioneer.
Once the event date and venue are set, it is time to start interviewing potential auctioneers. Three types of candidates are usually considered but I would highly suggest investing in an expert. Here's why:
1. The volunteer is a wonderful choice for the Master of Ceremonies but most often unskilled in raising money. Nonprofit organizations are very frugal with their donor's money so the volunteer is a very attractive choice and most often considered. Unfortunately, even though the volunteer is donating his or her talent for the evening, thousands of dollars in the room are untouched at the end of the night costing your organization money. You will want to steer clear of the volunteer auctioneer no matter if it's free. Just remember, you get what you pay for in most cases.
2. The traditional auctioneer is professionally trained in the auctioneer style and may use his skills selling tobacco, cars, houses, or livestock. In most cases, the traditional auctioneer will charge a flat fee and usually has no real experience in how a fundraising auction works. Typically, this auctioneer shows up to the event at a certain time, completes the auction, and leaves right after his work is done with his payment. Because of this, they have no skin in the game and most likely leave money in the billfolds of potential buyers.
3. The professional fundraising charity auctioneer should come from an accredited auction school and possess a professional auctioneer license. These auctioneers have the requisite professional experience on stage, and the fundraising knowledge required to ensure the live auction event’s success as well as the passion for tugging on donor's hearts for the Fund-A-Need component. On the night of the event, the team arrives early, begins welcoming the guests while generating interest in the live auction items. Once the main event begins, the auctioneer will command the attention of the audience while bid spotters capitalize on each bid. Professional fundraising auctioneers will charge either a flat fee, commission or a combination of the two.
Remember, there are no set fee schedules in the auctioneering industry. It is illegal for auctioneers, as in many other regulated industries, to fix to price. Individual fees vary based on a fundraising auctioneer’s experience, proven track record, services provided, and demand for his or her services.
I hear this statement from most organizations, "We cannot afford to pay for a professional fundraising auctioneer. My response is “You can’t afford NOT to invest!”
Key Factors to Look for in a Professional Auctioneer and Team:
The truth is, most professional fundraising auctioneers pay for themselves. That’s why many "Fundraising Auctioneer Experts" have been serving the same clients for years and years. Just remember, "There is no substitute for results and experience."
Written by Impact Auctions Fundraising Event Specialist
Ron and Debbie Hitzel
Charlotte, North Carolina
*2015 was our first year
working with a truly professional full
service auctioneer. We did a full search and were so pleased with our decision
to go with Impact Auctions! Not only did we raise MORE money but the live auction was
more entertaining than in past years! Thank you!
Jane C from St. Gabriel School