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►Cancun was the SUMMIT!

August 30, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of Benefit Auction Summit 2017

Featured Presenter Every Other Year!

It’s that time of year again, when the biggest names in Benefit Auctions nationwide gather to share and learn.

Oh, yeah, that happens, too, but many of us go year after year to see our much loved peers and friends! You see, the benefit auctioneers are a very tight group.

In fact, I’m part of a connected international (and private) group of more than 1000 individuals who do fundraising auctions.

That means that at any time, I can reach out to professionals across the country  – to check out a consignment provider, bounce off ideas, or mentor someone. I can even get feedback on your committee’s brilliant (or kooky!) new idea 🙂

This year, to shake things up a bit we gathered in Cancun, Mexico, and a good time was had by all. My presentation this year continues my streak of being featured as a presenter for our industry every other year since 2010. As you can imagine, we come away with new techniques to bring back home to you, our nonprofit partners!

Categories: About GALA GAL, Auctioneers, Consulting

►Auctioneer Style ~ Choose the One You Want to Watch!

March 22, 2016 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Is your auctioneer entertaining?

Is your auctioneer entertaining?

I’ve been working in the auction industry since 2001, and specifically with fundraising auctions since 2002. I’ve been to auction school (Go Nashville Auction School – whoot whoot!) and I’ve been onstage all across Florida conducting benefit auctions since 2007. However, I don’t “chant”. You probably think all auctioneers sound the same, and maybe you can’t even pick out what they’re saying when it all goes by so fast.

My onstage style is quite different. I joke with folks that “I flirt with the audience for money,” and – as you’ll see in this YouTube clip GALA GAL Jenelle sells a South Africa Trip – I talk directly with the bidders, invite the audience to encourage higher bidding, and basically just charm them into staying in the game. At all times, the bidders know how much they’re bidding and aren’t confused, scared, or intimidated, even when we get up above $20,000!

Your guests should leave saying, “That was the best auctioneer I’ve ever seen!”

If they don’t, give me a call 🙂

Categories: Auctioneers, Consulting, Live Auctions

►Another reason you need a female auctioneer!

April 17, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of Gala Gal and team

Study says men give more when the person fundraising is attractive

This morning I read a piece entitled “Men Strive To Give More To Charity When The Fundraiser Is Cute.”

Believe it or not, researchers found that both men and women donated more to online campaigns after they saw how much others had given. The men, however, gave an even larger increase to attractive females.

If that happened just by looking at a photo of the female asking for donations, could it be that the effect is magnified in person? When you put a charismatic, attractive female auctioneer on stage and give her a microphone to engage people about your cause, might that increase the competitive bidding in your audience? Think about it, every single time he or she bids again, that’s more dollars raised for you!

Combining the “all eyes on me” aspect of live auctions with a smiling, friendly female face is your recipe for awesome auction results.

Just ask my clients!

Categories: About GALA GAL, Auctioneers, Better Buyers, Charity, Consulting, Live Auctions

►GALA GAL, Featured Presenter for Colorado Auctioneers

April 1, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Gala Gal Jenelle Taylor as presenter

Jenelle was invited for the 2nd time in 3 years to present at the Colorado Auctioneers Association

A hearty Thank You to O.J. Pratt and all the Colorado auctioneers for warmly welcoming me to present at their Winter Conference this past January. Well, as warm as Denver can be in January, that is!

Since I’d also been one of their invited presenters in 2013, I’d already shared seminars with their members on Boosting Your Brand and 78 Ways to Better your Benefit Auction Business. This year I created 2 brand new seminars for the nearly 100 auctioneer attendees, coaching them on how to create valuable seminars for the public and how to tackle the avalanche of social media outlets in 2015.

I was also honored to serve as a judge for the annual Bid Calling Championship, which one of my BOOTCAMP course alumni (and Boost Your Benefit Auction book contributor) Doug Carpenter won! In addition, the rookie contest was won by another of my BOOTCAMP alumni, Jennifer Clifford.

Congrats to all, and thank you again for a wonderful, educational, fun-filled (if chilly!) trip.

Categories: About GALA GAL, Auctioneers

►WOW! Does your auction team look like this?

May 1, 2014 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of Gala Gal and team

Your Auctioneer and Bid Spotters can look like this!

I am so thankful to these four lovely ladies for joining me a few weeks ago for a fantastic live auction and scholarship Fund-a-Need for the 18th annual Starry Starry Night!

All 5 of us are Florida-licensed auctioneers with specialized training in fundraising, and they did an awesome job working the crowd as Bid Spotters for me.

Would your big event benefit from an all-female team?

Your auction doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s. It can look like this 🙂

Categories: About GALA GAL, Auctioneers, Live Auctions, Other Money Makers

►Live Auctions and Opening Bids

November 21, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

Flummoxed about where to start live auction bidding?

Today one of the fabulous auctioneers who has attended my “BOOTCAMP for Benefit Auctioneers” course e-mailed me with this question:

There is much debate on “starting” bids at B&C (benefit & charity) auctions.  In commercial auctions we start where we think the FMV (fair market value) is….come down till we get a bid….and go till they stop.  I have used this technique in B&C’s but some people start way low and get more people involved.  I am really curious to get your perspective.  And….do you do it different if there is a minimum….consigned item?

If you’ve attended even one live auction, I bet you’ve wondered as each item is being described, “I wonder where the bidding is going to open?”

At your charity fundraising gala, many people in your audience have that question too! Attendees often come up to me at the Live Auction Preview Table and ask, “What’s the opening bid for this package?” My typical response is, “Well, it’s my job to help you win this item. Where would you like it to start?”

Where each live auction package opens for bidding sets the tone for fundraising. One school of thought says to open the bidding at a low level (10-35% of retail value) in hopes of getting more bidders to jump in and get caught up in the auction excitement. If the bidding starts low and doesn’t quickly get a bunch of bids, however, what does that say to the crowd?? It might be sending the message, no-one-wants-this-item, no-one-is-bidding, this-is-a-fire-sale-not-a-fundraiser.  Not the tone you want to set. On the other hand, if the audience perceives the opening bid to be so high that no one raises a bid card, you risk losing the auction participation and momentum.

Where to start the bidding on your charity gala’s live auction packages is a top concern faced by every similar event, and it’s why you want to trust your auction to a licensed, professional auctioneer who’s got both experience and specific fundraising training. A volunteer board member, DJ, or TV personality trying to be your auctioneer probably didn’t devote 90 minutes prior strategically gathering info at the Live Auction table, and he or she has much less experience with auction psychology, reading the crowd on the fly and knowing by instinct when to keep asking for a dollar amount and when to change things up.

I personally don’t like the technique used in commercial auctions of stating the retail price (fair market value) and quickly coming down (“Let’s start the bid at $5000, $5000 where, gimme $1000 and go…”). I’m not a fan of it when I attend an auction, and I think it’s confusing to a novice, non-auction savvy audience. Benefit audiences are on the whole unsure about the live auction bidding process, so I am always careful to be clear, easily understood, easy to follow and inviting to all.

I replied to my colleague that I honestly decide where to open each live auction package after I chat with all the attendees during the preview time. By then I know how much interest there is in each package and how much folks are expecting to pay. I auction by gut and by perceived value. For things $1000 and below, I often open at retail, but the values aren’t published, so I’m opening where I expect the crowd to join me. If it’s a private chef dinner for 6, then that certainly sounds more prestigious and inviting than $300 (the retail value) so I’d start at $300 and expect to go up. For items more in the $2K-$10K range, most of the time I open at 35-50%.

I rarely have to deal with consignment (items that aren’t donated but are a cost to the charity) because I don’t encourage it, but for that headliner consignment cost trip I follow the same as above typically: start at cost if the payback amount is $1000 or below, and for higher cost consignment items (some packages can require a payback cost of $5000-$10K or more!) I start below the minimum and take my chances. Auctioning items with high minimum required payback costs is nerve-wracking and not for the inexperienced DJ or Board member to try!!

Because auctioning items with a consignment payback cost always has the risk the bidding falling off and not reaching the minimum amount needed to sell it, I work with my clients to get a commitment in writing for how they want me to handle it if a consignment item doesn’t hit the minimum. As the auctioneer, I can either pass the item (awkward!), keep asking (and asking and asking and asking..UGH!) or disclose there’s a price below which I can’t sell it. Since none of those are very good options, I encourage the groups I work with to strive for 100% donated auction items. You keep all the money with none of the potential headaches and hassles. But, to do or not to do consignment is a whole ‘nother discussion, so let’s wrap this up by sharing how my colleague responded to the reply I sent him:

I think I will change my practice here.  That makes so much sense….and I do like to work off the cuff so to speak and change as I determine what the crowd is doing.  You may absolutely use the question and my name if you like.

Thanks Jenelle.

No, thank you, David Runte of Worstell Auction Company in Texas, for spurring a valuable discussion and helping so many groups raise more money!

Categories: Auctioneers, Consulting, Live Auctions

►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

►Donation Card Designing

March 15, 2013 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Photo of Jenelle Taylor GALA GAL

A benefit auctioneer should conduct your Donation Appeal

I was talking with a fundraising auctioneer pal yesterday about “donation cards” – the little cards that are either placed at each seat or peeking out of the program.

 

As your fundraising consultants, benefit auctioneers work with you to raise the most money for your cause. Donation cards are one option, but that approach lacks both urgency and peer encouragement. Your guests might never pick up that donation card, or may take it home with good intentions and no follow through.

Since auctioneers know how to handle a microphone and a stage, we are always going to recommend a traditional “direct appeal”, meaning a well planned part of your evening with an inspiring testimonial and the call to the “raise your paddle”.

In fact, a structured, auctioneer-led ask routinely raises $20,000, $60,000, $100,000 and up with professional auctioneers across the country. Whether you call it Fund a Need, Fund a Cure, Fund a Cause, Paddle Raise, Call for Donations, Cash Call, Donation Appeal, Direct Appeal, Planned Appeal, Bid to Give, or any other name, we believe that nothing connects your mission to your audience more than a straightforward but tactful conversation with your supporters, all working together toward a common financial goal. Then, when you add in Challenge Matches and similar giving incentives…the Paddle Raise concept is very hard to best.

However, if for whatever reason you still want to stick to donation cards on the table, I did a Google Image search of Donation Card and found tons of examples to help you plan and design! Check them out here: http://tinyurl.com/DonationCardSamples

Categories: Auctioneers, Charity, Consulting, Live Auctions, Other Money Makers

►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

►A Soundbite that Sizzles

July 10, 2012 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

Earlier I wrote a post about an article I’d read explaining how to introduce yourself or your organization to someone new:

  1. Explain how you provide a solution to a problem.
  2. Tell a brief anecdote that illustrates why you choose to do this or how you’re exceptional.
  3. Invite your listener to engage further with you by asking an open-ended question.
Here’s another approach to selling your sizzle that’s designed to attract the ideal match:

Categories: Auctioneers, Board members, Consulting, Other Money Makers

►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

June 27, 2012 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

Photo of GALA GAL Jenelle TaylorToday I shared a link with the elite auctioneer alumni from my BOOTCAMP for Benefit Auctioneers course. I keep in close contact with this group of professionals via a private Facebook group just for them. We share what’s working across the country at fundraisers and share our favorite techniques.

This morning I reminded them about the upcoming continuing education opportunity known as the 3rd Annual Benefit Auction Summit.

I was a presenter at the first Summit in 2010 in San Antonio, so I did interactive activities to put those auctioneers into your shoes as the non-profit liaison.

I asked them to imagine that  – in addition to your regular full-time job – you’ve been put in charge of a black-tie event for 400 people, and if the event doesn’t net $100,000 you could lose your job.

Then I asked them…

Categories: Auctioneers, Consulting

►Remote vs. In-Person Consultation

June 25, 2012 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS

Face-to-face meetings are a crucial part of my relationship with my clients when planning silent and live auctions. So important, in fact, that even my smallest consultation package includes 5 critical collaborations you should expect from your auctioneer:

  1. An initial EVENT ENVISIONING meeting with the decision makers, including time to (more…)

Categories: Consulting, Technology