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►Planning Your Fund-a-Need Appeal

July 1, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Photo of GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor

Fund a Need donation appeal, 5 steps to success

Structuring a Successful Appeal

 

Determine your Fund-a-Need goals. 

    
Do you envision presenting the audience with one group goal, such as building the playground or raising enough to buy the $250,000 piece of hospital equipment? This strategy has the advantage of helping everyone in the audience feel able to contribute, regardless of amount, and works well with handheld bidding technology. Alternatively, some appeals promote several specific levels for donations, and tie these to the mission by explaining what those dollars can provide. For instance, $2500 furnishes a room in our shelter; $1000 provides legal service to a battered woman; $500 provides transportation assistance; $250 funds clothing and necessities.

Prepare the presentation.                            

In order to inspire giving, you need to communicate on an emotional level. Some groups show a video of their programs in action, and others invite a recipient to speak. The most important part of your message, however, must be a compelling story. Statistics rarely motivate people to give, but genuine emotion can. Take note, however, that even the most tragic story must be delivered with a hopeful resolution; your supporters want to feel uplifted by the transformations your services provide.

 

Let people know you will be asking.        

In the weeks leading up to your appeal, ask for commitments from your best supporters. It helps your audience tremendously when a bid card goes up in the air as soon as the auctioneer asks for money. Having donors already identified and ready to start the giving encourages the rest of the audience to join in.

 

Use matching incentives to boost funds.

Ask your major sponsors to offer a challenge match if a goal for dollars raised or number of participants is reached (“ABC Company will donate $10,000 when we raise $10,000”).

Know how you will track the donations.

Will the auctioneer call out bid numbers? Is there an envelope on the table? Will volunteers be coming around?

Categories: Consulting, Event Logistics, Other Money Makers

►Selected as a Presenter, Summit 2013

June 13, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Photo of Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

Selected as a presenter for the Benefit Auction Summit, National Auctioneers Association (NAA)

We’re celebrating!!

Just got word that the committee for the Benefit Auction Summit chose my session “62 Ways to Create More Prepared, Engaged Bidders”!

This is the only national conference specifically for fundraising auctioneers, and it is a BIG honor to present to such an accomplished group of professionals from across the country.

I’m excited to share the “62 Ways” 90-minute session because it’s all about helping my peers help YOU raise more money. We understand that you only have this 1 night, once a year to host your attendees, so we want to work with you to maximize every way to make it easy for people to spend money!

I’ll be covering

  • 20 ways to create the best Live Auction display tables
  • 22 things your auctioneer can do to help people get excited by the auctions and also
  •  20 things you can do as the non-profit to help your audience come prepared to both attend AND spend.

The best part for you?

All of my GALA GAL clients – the organizations I help with their events – you get all 62 Ways to Create Prepared Bidders included, everyday, as part of our consulting relationship. (If you want this for your event, shoot me an e-mail to check if your date is available here.) You’re the reason I do what I do, and why I’m excited to share these ideas with other high-profile auctioneers across America.

To learn more about what Benefit Auctioneers do when they get together each year, you can find content from the Summit in 2010 (my presentation here), and I’ve shared some takeaways  from the other presenters that year here and 2011 Summit here. Apparently I still have to post notes from last year!

Categories: Auctioneers, Better Buyers, Board members, Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions

►First-time Event Done Right, 12 Do’s

May 22, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

You may have heard that I got invited to Paradise Island, The Bahamas (made famous by the Atlantis mega-resort) to do an auction last month.

The Purple Paws Live Auction was a first-time event, and yet it was a smashing success, exceeding all expectations and likely to double in revenue generated next year.

Here are 12 of the many things the BAARK! all-volunteer team did so right:

  1. Awesome Chairperson.  Passionate about the cause, well connected, and tenacious.
  2. Get businesses to underwrite major costs and write sponsor checks. 
  3. Get help from an auction consultant on item descriptions, displays, order of sale, the evening’s timing, volunteer roles, etc. Sarah used the AUCTION! book I sent her, and we talked extensively in e-mails and phone conferences.
  4.  Venue with appeal.  Use committee and sponsor connections to get the place folks have heard about but never had the chance to see.
  5. Sold-out event. Start with a small venue so you can sell out, and use Facebook and social media to really push ticket sales. If you don’t have a mailing list or Facebook Fan Page with hundreds of folks yet, build THAT first. 
  6. Auction items matched to your guests. Nothing random. Each item specifically sought after because of its broad appeal to the attendees. Plan before you ask.
  7. 100% donations. For a first-time event especially, there’s no point in paying for auction items, as that takes your hard-won donor dollars and gives them away.
  8. Prepared Buyers! “Bodies aren’t bidders” we say. Sarah and I made sure that the guests were fully aware of the Live Auction Opportunities and How to Bid, using prior e-blasts, displays, handouts, Power Point, and microphone announcements. 
  9. Zippy Schedule. Keep your guests entertained and attentive, with food, games, Live Auction and Fund-a-Need donations all flowing nicely from one to the next.
  10. Mission Message. The 3-minute video they created was perfect before the Fund-a-Need, showing clearly the huge impact of more dollars and donations.
  11. Event Support. Well trained staff and volunteers add so much to a great guest experience. We all met in person prior to the event to answer questions and build a confident team.
  12. A Gala auctioneer. Truly, a fundraising event NEEDS to be equal parts entertainer, ambassador, and marketer. Not only was the audience laughing and smiling the whole time, but they were reminded to give generously to the cause, and 72% of the Live Auction items sold for more than they were worth.
Your Mission.
Accomplished.
I look forward to the chance to do it again. Maybe with you 🙂 Just shoot me a note.

Categories: Auctioneers, Better Buyers, Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, GALA GAL Case Study, Live Auctions, Sponsors

►Don’t Make This Critical Mistake With Your Schedule

May 10, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Clock Face Microsoft Clipart

The Trick You MUST Know About Benefit Auction Timing

Today I got an e-mail from a client stating,

we will be advertising the event as starting at 7pm and ending at 10pm”

“Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo,” my brain screams, as I scramble to hit the “Reply” button before I read even one word further.

This is one of the MOST important tidbits I share with Benefit Auction clients:  the 30-1 Rule.

 

Here’s my hastily typed plea:

Ooh, ooh, ooh, this is one of those things I must speak up about 🙂

 

If you want people to be engaged in the event between the hours of 7:00-10:00, then you must must must advertise as 6:30-11:00, because people never arrive right when doors open, but 15-20 minutes after, and then have to park, walk, register, etc., so the earliest folks are beginning to engage in the event just before 7, with the majority trickling in AFTER that.

 

And then at the end, people mentally check out of an event when they believe they have experienced all that was included in their ticket price. If we say it runs until 11:00 BUT we internally plan to have all money raised and everything wrapped up by 10:00, then they feel they are getting home “early” and leave with a good impression that we were efficient.

 

If you advertise that the event ends at 10:00, people will be looking to leave by 9:00-9:15, hoping to let the babysitter go early or perhaps to beat the line at valet, and those departures before our event goals are wrapped up can really create a bunch of problems for checkout and put a damper on the evening.

 

Please please please add the 30-minute cushion to the front and 1-hour cushion to the end 🙂 I promise you that doing this will allow us to have guests engaged and content to be in attendance during the “action” hours of 7:00 – 10:00 p.m.

 

Jenelle

Categories: Auctioneers, Better Buyers, Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, Other Money Makers

►Congrats to the Red Wagon Gala Committee

April 22, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Red Wagon Gala Christ Child Society Naples

GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor conducts the 2013 Red Wagon Gala for Christ Child Society Naples

Here’s a quick example of great post-event press coverage, Red Wagon Gala in the Naples Daily News.

This nice summary and accompanying photos ran just days after the event, and serves multiple purposes:

  • appreciating those who just attended
  • publicly thanking major sponsors
  • recognizing the hard work of the committee and volunteers
  •  and raising visibility for the organization.

This kind of coverage has to be arranged in advance, so that a reporter and photographer are in attendance.

For your next event, take the time, no – make the time –  to reach out to local papers, TV stations, society magazines, or even area event website managers to get a commitment for coverage for this 1 Night, Once a Year event you’re pulling off!

After all, we all know that once it begins your event whirls by so fast that you’ll probably need  to read about how it all went too 🙂

Categories: Charity, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Sponsors

►Sponsor Recognition

March 19, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

What else can you do to thank your event sponsors and cost underwriters besides just listing them in the program?

It’s good to do more, since your guests may never open those programs you spent so many hours (and dollars) on. Since you want your sponsors to feel honored and appreciated, consider adding as many of these other recognition tactics as you can:

  • Offer a Patron Party with auction preview and menu tasting one month prior
  • VIP reception an hour before general admission
  • VIP post-auction reception with gelato, decaf cappuccino and swag bags
  • Give sponsor tables Auction Bucks (incentive bidder credits) for their guests
  • Provide champagne, a dedicated server for the dining table, premier seating
  • Make sponsor thank you foam core boards and place on easels at the entrance
  • Project sponsor logos on the wall
  • Make a Power Point slide show which loops during dinner of sponsor logos
  • Have a parting gift with a sponsor thank you card attached, such as:

Sponsor Thank You card tied with ribbon to some kind of parting gift, like a mini bag of chocolates. This recognition piece might say…

“Please join us in thanking these sponsors for their generosity. When you support them, ______________ benefits!”

or

“Tonight’s festivities made possible by these fine sponsors. Please consider supporting them with your business!”

or

“Thank you for supporting ___________this evening. Please consider patronizing these sponsors who made tonight possible”

 

What other sponsor recognition ideas have you seen? Please share in the comments!

Categories: Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, Sponsors

►Voting with Dollars – Genius Quick Tip!

March 14, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

Image Credit depositphotos.com

Does your event have a contest component where guests “vote with dollars” such as a costume contest or dance contest?

 

Typically, guests purchase lengths or bundles of tickets, and then they “vote” by putting tickets into containers (paper bags, glass bowls) for their favorite contestants. As the night goes on, they can purchase tickets again and again to help a particular candidate win with the largest number of tickets.

(As a side note, the same process works for the Bucket Chance to Win, previously called Chinese Raffle.)

 

So, hundreds of people have been piling tickets into containers for hours, and now you have to quickly count them up to announce the winner. What if you have a bunch of contestants and tons of tickets? How can you count all that super fast, you ask?

 

Thanks to seasoned Orlando fundraiser and Femmes de Coeur President Judy Conrad for the solution:  Borrow a super-sensitive and perfectly calibrated gold measuring scale from a local jeweler…and simply compare ticket weights to find the winner, no counting necessary!

 

GENIUS! Thanks, Judy 🙂

Categories: Consulting, Event Logistics, Grab Bag, Other Money Makers, Raffles/Chance Drawings

►Get the AUCTION! bible, 1 Week Sale!

March 1, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Cover image of the 250-page Charity Auction Manual called AUCTION! The 98 Solutions to Every Charity Auction Challenge by GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor CAI BAS

Write-in workbook to plan your Benefit Auction, step-by-step, used by Professional Fundraising Auctioneers and their clients across the country

Save $100 off the regular online price! It’s the March Madness sale at GALA GAL, so snatch up your 250-page AUCTION! manual by March 7th, 2013. Get “The 98 Solutions to Every Charity Auction Challenge” at your fingertips.

Read a detailed and helpful “Questions to Ask” excerpt here, and just shoot me a message with your e-mail and I’ll send you our mailing address for a check, use a credit card via secure server with discount code Sale49 here.

                 This is the first sale since last July (8 months ago!) so get your copy now 🙂

Money-back guarantee of course.

Categories: Board members, Charity, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Other Money Makers, Raffles/Chance Drawings, Silent auctions, Templates

►Black Tie Events…for Free? Auction Underwriting for the New Millennium

February 14, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

Have you seen this? http://www.dodgedartregistry.com/

Underwrite your Benefit Auction just like the new Dodge Dart Registry idea

Crowd-funding idea for your next auction?

The website reads, ”

NEW RULES FOR BUYING YOUR CAR. Pick out the features you want in your new Dart and then invite friends and family to sponsor individual parts of the car.

You can raise a portion of the cost of a new Dart or the full price. Then all you have to do is go to a dealership and pick it up.”

 

How clever! Not only does this speak to a hip, Millennial generation, it offers a solution to funding a major cost –  by crowd-sourcing.

What a great idea to change up how you offer sponsorships this year for your event. Sure, most events already ask for sponsors, but typically at generic dollar amounts not tied to anything specific. Anyone else bored with the “Sponsorships available at $25,000, $10,000, $5,000 and $2500” approach?

This year, be forward thinking and socially savvy. Post a great photo from last year and offer opportunities to underwrite parts of the event at all different price levels. Instead of funding the engine on a future Dodge Dart, your supporters can fund the venue, the food, the bar, the linens, the decorations, the invitations, the technology…even pay for your professional auctioneer!

Just like chipping in to buy a beloved and deserving person a new car, your benefactors will feel good about helping fund something concrete, and empowered by being given a real choice. Come to think of it, isn’t that exactly the feeling we want to give our non-profit supporters all the time?

Categories: Auctioneers, Charity, Event Logistics, Other Money Makers

►Don’t Risk Your Revenue

July 18, 2012 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Danger Symbol- choose an auctioneer wisely

Don’t Risk Your 1-Night, Once-a-Year Event with just any Auctioneer

Whether you’re the Development Director of a non-profit or a volunteer on the planning committee for a gala fundraiser, you’ve got hundreds of decisions hanging over you.

Buffet or sit-down dinner?

Cocktail or black tie?

Band for background, or dancing?

Online silent auction or traditional?

All of these decisions affect your event, it’s true. But if the money matters, then give at least as much weight to your choice to conduct the fundraising.

That’s a big choice. A weighty choice. A choice with ramifications, no doubt. So you’re not just asking someone. If it was that simple, it’d be no big deal. In fact, if your choice didn’t really matter, you might look to cut costs, perhaps even look for someone to do this for (gasp!) free.Since this particular event (this event you’ve worked on for months) only happens 1 Night, Once-a-Year…well, everything, EVERYTHING, is riding on that person, that night.

No, what you’re really doing is entrusting the financial outcome of your event to one individual. (more…)

Categories: Auctioneers, Board members, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Other Money Makers

►Pique interest with Sneak Peek

July 16, 2012 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Fundraising Consultant GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor Auctioneer

Send an e-blast Sneak Peek of best auction items a few days prior to event

Ever have one of those days?

(Hang with me for a moment, Sneak Peek Template link below!)

I was just typing an e-mail and used the phrase, “The Board’s interest was piqued,” and I KNEW “piqued” was the right usage, but then…

I’ve found that blogging makes me ultra self-conscious about what and how I write.

In case you’ve ever run across someone (incorrectly) trying to “peak” or “peek” someone’s interest, I’ll expose my Grammar Geek self for a moment.

Anyway, here’s the Auction Sneak Peek Template I mentioned. I share this with non-profits (in fact, I typically create, edit and format it for them) so that we can promote a sharp, 1-page PDF attachment showcasing the best auction items and getting everyone prepared to “attend and spend.” This can be used as an e-mail attachment,  added to the website, uploaded to a Facebook page, Tweeted, or even saved as a .jpg.

Using this template can

1) save you time, and

2) make you money.

Oh, and one more thing. Would you believe that the first time I named this template I wrote  Sneak PEAK Template?

(shaking my head) One of those days!

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Templates

►MC or not MC?

July 3, 2012 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Emcee for your event

Who’s your MC?

I got cc’d on an e-mail that one of my November events confirmed a local TV anchor to emcee (or MC, if you prefer) their gala. This is a common practice which you’ve no doubt seen or done.

There are so many logistics to juggle when you’re planning a fundraising event:

which venue, what entertainment, ticket pricing, getting folks to attend, staffing, auction items and on and on. And who’s going to run this thing??

If your event has a live auction or Fund-a-Need appeal for donations, there’s just too much riding on your 1-Night, Once-a-Year event to risk with just Joe Anybody. Hire a professional who does fundraising for a living, all year long. Once your fundraising is safeguarded, consider asking this auctioneer to serve as MC for you. Benefit Auction specialists will be charismatic and able to command the crowd’s attention. Doubling up like this will save you time and money, since you won’t have to do the back-and-forth to confirm and manage another person or pay for another meal.

If you want a different voice to host your event for whatever reason, then certainly invite a community dignitary,  involve your Board president, a TV news anchor, or even a celebrity in your program.

But whatever you do, don’t hand over your fundraising

to anyone who is a professional something-else!

 

Those well meaning folks can leverage their personalities and knowledge of the crowd in a support role. Use your special guest in direct interaction with your attendees, but leave the auction psychology to the fundraising pro.

Your celebrity or community dignitary can best benefit your event by:

  1. Donating a Chance-of-a-Lifetime opportunity to the auction. (Actress Cheryl Hines   donated a private poker party with her to her favorite central Florida gala!)
  2. Hosting his/her own table for the dinner portion and inviting folks to bid for the chance to move to that VIP table
  3. Working the Live Auction on the floor, shaking hands and encouraging those who bid
  4. Drawing attention to your high-end items by visiting with folks at the Live Auction table during the 90-minute preview time

Your Board president can best benefit your event by:

  1. Hosting a pre-event VIP reception for last year’s big spenders and this year’s sponsors and special guests, giving them an initial hour to sip champagne, schmooze, and shop the auction unencumbered by the masses. These guests might even get a mini live auction with 3-5 things that are only offered to this elite VIP group.
  2. Promote the importance of fundraising by escorting VIPs and likely deep pockets personally to the Live Auction display table and facilitating an introduction with the auctioneer. This serves your guests by making them aware of the opportunities only available that night, and it initiates the rapport important to getting more bidding.
  3. Thanking the event sponsors and really explaining how their large gifts allow you to provide services.

Your TV news anchor (or Board member, CEO, staff member, or services recipient) can best benefit your event by:

1. Sharing the emotional appeal of your mission by putting faces and personal stories to the services you deliver. Getting the right person to introduce the video, deliver a keynote, or set up the Fund-a-Need appeal is crucial.

2. Being available to the guests throughout the night, mingling and adding a welcoming warmth to the festivities.

While several folks are appropriate for various aspects of MC hosting, the money you need to operate for months will come from the auction and appeal proceeds, so entrust the opening bids, the increments, the snap and sizzle of the numbers to a benefit auction specialist.

Categories: Better Buyers, Board members, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions

►Your Auctioneer’s Education, 2011 Summit

June 28, 2012 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

Photo of professional sound equipmentSince yesterday I mentioned the upcoming Benefit Auction Summit as a continuing education opportunity for professional fundraising auctioneers, I’ll share some of my takeaways from the two previous Summits.

2011-Baltimore

BOOTCAMP Alum Darron Meares shared (more…)

Categories: Auctioneers, Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Technology

►The Auction Bible

June 24, 2012 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

Cover image of the 250-page Charity Auction Manual called AUCTION! The 98 Solutions to Every Charity Auction Challenge by GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor CAI BASAt a lunchtime meeting with a Clearwater client today, a committee member pulled me aside.  I was surprised and flattered by her request:

 

“Could we have a second copy of your book? It was such a big help to us last year, and Sandy is using the copy you gave us for this fall’s event. But we’d like to put a copy in the archives.

In the archives?

Wow!

I am happy that they continue to use their copy of AUCTION! The 98 Solutions to Every Charity Auction Challenge, and humbled that it’s been deemed important enough to join other historical records in this church’s vault.

Check out an excerpt here “68 Essentials to Ask at a Mid-Point Planning Meeting”

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Raffles/Chance Drawings, Silent auctions