Maximizing Fundraising Contributions through a Benefit Auction: What are Benefit Auctioneers?

Maximizing Fundraising Contributions through a Benefit Auction: What are Benefit Auctioneers?

With an option for both in-person, virtual, and hybrid auctions on a fundraising platform like PayBee, you have multiple avenues to sell all of your auction items and raise funds for your mission.

But there is another important ingredient for a successful auction: a professional auctioneer.

This tends to confuse some nonprofits. If fundraising software does so much, wouldn't one of your staff just auction off the items themselves? Why the added expense of hiring an auctioneer?

But the fact of the matter is that a professional auctioneer provides many vital services to your fundraiser. Good auctioneers help sell your auction items by providing descriptions that get people excited, reminding your audience that they are there in support of your organization, and keeping the energy high in both your live and your virtual auctions to boost bidding and, in the process, raise more money for your nonprofit. 

Now, let's see in detail the kind of qualities a professional auctioneer must have. We'll first start off with what a benefit auction is, the types of auctions available, as well as ways to host benefit auctions.

We will also discuss the kind of digital tools PayBee provides for live auctions, and how our software can integrate well with an auctioneer's services to make your fundraisers a success.

What is a Benefit Auction?

Nonprofit benefit auctions raise money for charities and nonprofits by putting items up for bid. Usually, the items for sale in the auction are donated or given to the nonprofit at a drastically reduced price, such that maximum proceeds from the sale of the auction items are given to benefit the nonprofit.

A bit different from most benefit fundraisers, those who win items will get something in return for their donation through the auction other than just a direct donation option. 

Therefore, the sponsors are recognized, getting goodwill in their community and possibly promotion from the nonprofit. In a truly successful charity auction, at the heart of it will be a common goal to benefit all parties.

All benefit when a charity auction is successful: the nonprofit gains the much-needed funds, the donor gains the reward that comes from making a difference, and guests gain a memorable experience. Tap into the power of technology and social media to prepare a winning benefit auction that is a win-win for all involved.

Types of Charity Auctions

Although all charity auctions follow the same basic format of showing off various items and letting attendees bid on them, there are two very different types of charity auctions: live auctions and silent auctions.

Live and silent auctions each have their unique strengths, and not-for-profits may find that one has an edge over the other. In other cases, others may find success with both and plan a fundraising calendar, including live and silent auctions.

Live Auctions

Live Auctions – Pretty self-explanatory, a live auction happens in real-time. Items are put on display by an auctioneer and guests begin to bid on them immediately. Some live auctions have guests wave physical paddles in the air to signal their bid, while others use more modern software where guests can remotely bid using their phones.

Live auctions are equally exciting and fast-moving, no matter how the bidders are trying to place their bids. The live format is a quicker process than silent or online auctions, providing the chance for quick and competitive bidders, which tends to raise the winning bids.

Your charity will also need to engage an auctioneer when conducting live auctions. Professional benefit auctioneers are expert charity auction managers, and expert people motivators of the bidders in the room. While professional benefit auctioneers are a high-priced investment, they can help you to earn much more in revenue for your charity than you might have with a board member who knows how to work a microphone, and would enjoy trying to call the auction. 

When hiring your auctioneer for charity benefits, make sure to ask all the vital questions regarding prior experience. This might include the events they've worked and if they have a video reel you can review. Also, ensure that your auctioneer is knowledgeable about the charity auction software you intend to use.

Silent Auctions

Silent charity auctions usually are longer in duration than live charity auctions. Items may be displayed to event attendees via a catalog that has pictures and descriptions or now the items are posted in an online catalog. 

Attendees place bids for items, they write a purchase amount on a bid sheet or they enter in the amount they are willing to pay using bid software. Silent auctions work well when other fundraising activities, such as galas and golf tournaments that bring in various donors and sponsors, are carried out in a relaxed, unhurried manner.

Today, running silent auctions is done through the best charity auction softwares, like Paybee. Appropriate auction software eliminates human error and gives your bidders the independence to bid from literally anywhere, essentially being participants in your event's activities rather than hovering over bid sheets. 

This is way much easier than live auctions that literally trap the attendees for a given duration of time. Silent auctions, especially when conducted over the internet, can run even for a period of days. By doing so, your guests are free to bid on items as they need without interruption of what they are doing in their daily life.

Ways to Host a Charity Auction

Besides deciding between a silent and live auction, your nonprofit will also have to decide if your auction is in-person, online, or a combination of both. A hybrid charity auction is one in which you have both in-person and remote bidders. Like live and silent auctions, each has its own pros and cons. And different nonprofits may see better success with one over the other based on the needs of their donors.

When thinking of how you're going to host a charity auction, consider who your nonprofit's audience is and whether you are planning a live or silent auction. While you would be able to shift silent auctions into online and hybrid-hosted methods quite easily, transitioning a live auction into an online platform might be a bit more detailed. With this in mind, you would need good charity auction software, such as Paybee, should you choose to host your live auction online. You can even try it out for yourself with a free demo of Paybee here.

What is a Benefit Auctioneer?

The role of a benefit auctioneer is to take an average fundraising event and turn it into an impactful, amazing, live auction event. In addition to the role of benefit auctioneer, those with the BAS designation are fundraising specialists. Less than 1% of all auctioneers have this designation, which means, less than 250 auctioneers worldwide!

Professional Skills of Benefit Auctioneers 

Knowledge and Expertise

A benefit auctioneer is not just a great fast talker but an expert in his or her field. He or she is knowledgeable in the area of auctions, the items in question, and the current market conditions. They know how to bring an air of urgency and enthusiasm for each item up for auction, and they know how to work the crowd to keep the energy high for the whole event.

Adaptability and Flexibility

A benefit auctioneer is also very adaptable and flexible. He or she has the ability to vary his or her approaches according to the needs of the audience and the items to be auctioned. The charity auctioneer would be able to cope with any surprises or difficulties that might come along and ensure the benefit auction event goes ahead perfectly.

Charisma and Personality

The best fundraising auctioneer will also be charismatic and have a magnetic, radiant personality. He or she should be able to relate to the audience on a more personal level, create rapport, and even trust. They can make a group of people comfortable, which can be vital in getting them to open up their purses and wallets to pay for auction items during fundraising.

Communicator and Listener

Benefit auctioneers are also great communicators and listeners. He can communicate the organization's goals, the cause, and the impact of the donations. Not only this, but he's also a great listener. He would understand the needs and interests of the audience, and henceforth, he or she can adapt his or her communication and approach according to need.

Salesperson and Negotiator

A benefit auctioneer is also a great salesperson and negotiator. They know how to close deals, how to negotiate, and how to press people to bid on things they've never considered before. They can drive bidding wars and prices to the maximum value of items while keeping the atmosphere fun and exciting.

10 Key Features and Benefits That Professional Fundraising Auctioneers Offer

Unique Style of Bid Calling: Critical to Auction Success

Many of our guests might not be used to a Live Auction. It can be a bit overwhelming for them to keep up with the fast-paced chant of the auctioneer, and they might hesitate to raise their hand, fearing they'll end up paying more than they bargained for. While most auctioneers can zip through selling up to ninety items in an hour, a skilled fundraising auctioneer knows the value of taking their time, spending five or ten minutes selling a single item. Who would you pick?

Unique Set of Sales Skills

Each of them brings their own set of sales skills to the table. A top-notch auctioneer is more than just a salesperson; they understand the intricacies of buyer psychology. They know just how to push the right buttons to get bidders excited, setting them apart from the rest.

Providing Entertainment

They know how to keep the crowd entertained. When someone commits to attending your fundraising event, they're investing both their time and money in your cause. They deserve to be entertained. If the auctioneer fails to captivate the audience, they risk losing control of the room and seeing a drop in revenue as people lose interest.

Expert Consultancy

They're not just auctioneers; they're expert consultants. Your auctioneer should be a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to event management, ready to answer any questions you throw their way. Whether it's securing sponsorships, sourcing items, streamlining checkout processes, or navigating specialized software, they've got you covered.

Proven Track Record

They've got a track record that speaks for itself. Just check their references, and you'll find a long list of satisfied clients who can vouch for their expertise.

Tricks of the Trade

They're masters of the trade. Like any profession, there are insider secrets in the fundraising auction world. Ever heard of a Heritage Auction? Virtual Gala Auction? Competitive Bidding Events? Don't worry, your Benefit Auction Specialist knows them all.

No Intimidation or Embarrassment

They understand the delicate balance between persuasion and pressure. Nobody wants to feel coerced into buying something they don't want or paying more than they should. They know how to walk that fine line with finesse.

Adding Professionalism

They bring a touch of professionalism to your event. A seasoned fundraising auctioneer is like the quarterback of your team, steering the dynamics of the entire event with ease. They come prepared, armed with in-depth knowledge of the items up for grabs and a keen understanding of the audience they're addressing.

Handling the Unexpected

They're not fazed by the unexpected. Bidder disputes, power outages, equipment failures – they've seen it all before and know exactly how to handle any curveballs that come their way.

Advertising for Future Events

They're your best advertisement for future events. In today's competitive fundraising landscape, people have countless options when it comes to choosing which events to support. Make sure yours stands out by leaving a lasting impression that'll have guests clamoring to come back year after year.

Use PayBee for All Your Auction Needs

A great charity auction starts with a good professional auctioneer. But you also have to make sure your auctioneer is armed with all the right tools to control each and every auction—in the event, of course, that it's going to be a virtual or hybrid one. 

To make your auctions run as seamlessly as possible, PayBee has packed its online fundraising platform with a number of virtual tools, able to be used in in-person, virtual, and hybrid live auctions.

This is how our software can improve all sorts of auctions:

Smart Bid Paddles

After hosting hundreds of successful auctions, PayBee has found that in-person audiences are still more than happy to raise physical paddles when bidding on an item, and they are motivated to bid more by them. 

Thereafter, once guest registration is done at your event, PayBee auto-generates a numbered bid paddle for each of your guests.

Each paddle is created in PDF format, so they are ready to be printed using a standard 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper from home printers. Then you can just attach each sheet to any handle that you like.

In fact, since we live in the digital age, we have given our paddles some technological improvements. Each paddle has its own QR code for each bidder. We've made it easy for you to scan these codes with the PayBee app so that you can easily keep track of who bids on what guest. 

The QR codes also enable other activities to be a breeze, including purchasing items, making donations, and closing out their digital shopping carts at checkout; for both you and your guests, these activities are sped up and much more convenient.

PayBee Livestream

A virtual auction requires a stable live stream so that all of your online guests feel like they are in one room for your auction. This is where you would need very low latency in your live stream — that is, minimal time between when the information is sent and when it appears on your screen.

PayBee's live streaming offers zero-second latency, providing your event with broadcast-level, professional latency. This is extremely necessary for your virtual auctions, and it's a must in hybrid auctions where your online bidders will be participating with people at the actual auction. Let your virtual guests know they will experience low-latency live streaming, and they'll be excited to hear it's on equal footing with the in-person audience so that they'll bid more.

Audience Monitor 

This is perfect for in-person and hybrid auctions because all bids pop up real-time on a monitor, enabling audience members to keep up with everyone else in the bidding. It can then excite the crowd to know how many people want a certain auction item.

Auctioneer Monitor

Besides the audience monitor, there is also an auctioneer monitor app available in PayBee; these are systems that show every live bid to the auctioneer. The monitor also shows the same information to the auctioneer that is available to the audience, including the starting bid, bid increment, and the current bid. 

All this data makes tracking every bid coming in for any auctioneer easy, even from multiple digital and live audiences. Auctioneers, however, will want to take some time to get to know our system in order to take the best advantage of the monitor during an in-person or hybrid auction.

How to Run a Successful Benefit Auction with the PayBee Nonprofit Platform

Paybee Nonprofit Fundraising software has just what you need to ensure those auctions are a hit! Perfect software to list your items, ensure your bids are placed correctly, and receive payments. Going once, going twice- sold!

Reach out to some of the most experienced and professional auctioneers in the business by visiting the PayBee Partner Ecosystem and finding contact details for the auctioneers who have delivered great results for hundreds of charities and nonprofits through in-person, virtual, and hybrid auctions.

Want to learn more? Or need a little expert help to get you started? No problem! You can get started with our free mock auction demo. Contact us and we'll be happy to help by answering your questions or pointing you in the right direction to host and manage a successful charity auction.

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Anastasia-Alexandra Nenova

Born and raised in South Africa, Anastasia-Alexandra is a Bulgarian writer and fighter. When she isn't writing, she's busy training or competing in Judo for South Africa. She's passionate about Judo where she is a 2nd Dan, other martial arts and fitness overall. Her dream is to qualify for the Olympic Games in Judo, and she's doing her best to turn that dream into reality.

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