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►Venue Checklist – Download This

September 14, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
image of Venue Checklist

Download the FREE Checklist!

I try to do a Venue Visit with clients at least 2 months before the event, so I can help determine stage position, traffic flow, sound system and lighting needs, etc.

You can download and print (or view on your phone) this 70-item Venue Checklist to help you either A.) narrow down your venue options, or B.) catch potential problems with the venue you chose.

It covers

  • Destination Appeal
  • Parking / Valet
  • Raised Stage
  • Pre-dinner Space
  • Auction Promotion
  • Lighting

I often repeat the mottos “Make it easy for people to spend money” and “Ambiance is bad for auctions” (meaning low light is fine for dinner, but make sure the lights can be brighter for silent and live auctions and appeals).

As always, if you’ve got a question, just call my cell at 407-791-1360 in Tampa!

Categories: Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions

►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

►Cruise Raffle

August 23, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
lapel pin of blinking ship

Selling chances to win for that cruise or yacht trip!

Ah, the Chance to Win, doesn’t most every event have one?

Of course, the very first thing you need to do is familiarize yourself with your state’s (and sometimes city) raffle, gaming, gambling, drawing statutes.

Did you know that in Florida, you can’t require anyone to pay for a ticket?

Print out the Florida statute here.

Once you know the rules, this is a great option for the “blinky lights” pin to show who bought a chance to win (and, obviously, who hasn’t yet).

Do you know that Holland America has a reduced-price program that your nonprofit might qualify for? It’s a great program with a reasonable fixed cost, and never expires. Check it out here.

If you’re selling chances to win a cruise or a yacht excursion, instead of generic pins consider these cute things, found at FlashingBlinkyLights.com. It’s themed, flashy, and if you don’t want to pin into guests’ fancy clothes, then simply attach each to a lanyard or a wrist-tie ribbon like my client.

Here’s to selling those chances and raising big money!

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Other Money Makers, Raffles/Chance Drawings

►”Lucky Line” with Mobile Bidding

August 16, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of mobile bidding incentive caption

Using Mobile Bidding? Add an incentive to get guests to Bid More!

Do you use the “Lucky Line” for your traditional silent auction bids on paper?

It’s a way to encourage folks to be more generous, give a little more, just jump down a few bidding lines rather than the next bid available. I’ve got an explanation in a viewable Google doc here.

For years we (the benefit auctioneer community) have been trying to replicate this bidder incentive with handheld mobile/text bidding, but to date most mobile technology companies haven’t figured out a way to virtually highlight only bids past a certain point, and then segregate just those for a random winner.

And then my new client shared a semi-solution!

While the one “who makes the most bids” isn’t random and may not encourage as many people to try for the prize as the Lucky Line highlighting does, it certainly is trackable in mobile bidding reports, AND worth celebrating and rewarding! Using the technique above, the organization rewards participation, not dollars, which is an equalizer of sorts.

How have you figured out ways to incentivize more bidding using technology?

 

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Other Money Makers, Silent auctions, Technology

►3 Payment Options

August 9, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
GALA GAL offers 3 ways to pay

It doesn’t cost to hire a professional, it pays!

What do you pay for your auctioneer, and how?

When you’re hiring someone who does fundraising auctions for a living, you know it’s an investment in your success.

You get 1 night, once a year to hold your event, and your auctioneer may be on the microphone longer than any other speaker! Choose the right look, the right personality, the right ambassador to be the face of your annual fundraiser.

I try to offer folks 3 options to reserve a date on the GALA GAL events calendar: an all-inclusive rate (good if you have a budget or will secure an Auction Sponsor), a retainer to get started and a percent of the Live Auction results generated, or, some events qualify to use the Buyer’s Premium, which includes your bidders in auction underwriting so that you can hire a professional auctioneer at little to no cost.

Can you afford to hire a professional auctioneer?

Can you afford NOT to? You don’t get a do-over for your big event. With at least 3 options, there’s a way for just about every organization to partner with a full-time fundraiser like me.

Categories: About GALA GAL, Buyer's Premium, Consulting

►3 Magic Words to Get Anything Donated

August 2, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Boost Your Benefit Auction book

Use discount code BOOST to save $5

A couple of years ago I asked many of my smart fundraising friends to contribute a top tip or piece of advice.

It turned out even better than I’d envisioned, as 50 auctioneers offered 42 different chapters to boost your benefit auction.

From Fund A Need to the Treasure Chest, ambiance to the alcohol curve, you can learn from professionals across the country, and everyone’s contact info is listed in case you have a question or just want to know more about their services.

My chapter is about the “Three Magic Words” that help you get just about anything donated. In fact, these words elevate your request from an all-too-common “ask” to an opportunity.

Ready? Here they are: feature, showcase and highlight. And the question? How would you like to be included? 

Instead of begging for a donation, explain that  – of all the possible businesses in town – for this event you’d like to “feature” ABC Business so you can “highlight” their great ____________ and “showcase” what they do to your prominent supporters and community members. “Our committee thinks more people should know about your terrific ____________, so we wanted to invite you to have one of the exclusive (another good word!) spots in our live (or silent) auction. How would you like to be involved?”

If they say “no,” thank them and say (to yourself), “Next.” They either see the opportunity or they don’t, and someone always will when you share how wonderful your cause is and how much you want to include them in your biggest 1 night, once-a-year event.

So just ask! And remember: feature, showcase and highlight.

P.S. You can order a BOOST book here for less than $30 shipped – use the code BOOST to save $5.

Categories: About GALA GAL, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Other Money Makers, Silent auctions

►FUBI: Funny, Useful, Beautiful or Inspiring

July 26, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Funny Useful Beautiful Inspiring

Don’t Interrupt – ATTRACT!

As I was preparing my 90-minute presentation on Branding and Marketing for the National Auctioneers Association annual conference, I came across this GREAT article from a cool-looking group: The Emotional Intelligence Agency. Their tagline is, “Be as interesting as the internet.”

In their recent article in Fast Company magazine, they explain how marketing has changed.

The buzz word now is “emotion,” and how to connect in memorable ways with your target audience.

There are “four kinds of emotionally compelling content: funny, useful, beautiful, and inspiring.”

(Read the entire article here)

They condense this to FUBI – an easy thing to remember when planning (or posting) on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Snapchat, You Tube, your website, or anywhere else.

You don’t have to be all of these, and, in fact, you should consider having a different tone on different platforms. Maybe your posts are funny on Twitter, useful on Facebook, and beautiful on Instagram. You might even assign a different person to manage each distinct “voice.”

So, for my presentation, I made this 4-leaf clover image, because if you focus on being funny, or useful, or beautiful, or inspiring with your posts and content, I bet you’ll get luckier with your results.

Categories: Consulting, Grab Bag, Other Money Makers, social media, Technology

►A National Presentation!

July 19, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
plaque NAA award Jenelle Taylor

Honored to present for the annual conference

On Thursday, July 13th I flew to Columbus, Ohio, to see hundreds of auctioneer friends.

Friday the 14th I was honored to present a 90-minute session to my peers and colleagues, all about who is attracting attention and staying top of mind in our industry.

I then gave them more than 30 tools and ideas to build their benefit auction businesses across the country.

Could your nonprofit use help branding and marketing?

I’m a national expert on that, too 🙂

(And I work with nonprofits on affordable short-term contracts and monthly retainers, unrelated to auction galas. Just call me, 407-791-1360, or use the CONTACT link on the home page.)

Categories: About GALA GAL, Consulting, Other Money Makers

►Working Women of Central Florida

July 12, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of speaker Jenelle Taylor

Thanks to Jessica Rivelli from Working Women of Tampa Bay for the invite to speak!

Did you miss it?

I’m happy to speak to your board, your staff, or civic groups like Rotary, Kiwanis or chambers of commerce.

Of course I can talk about auctions, and how to best support the causes you believe in, but some people don’t know that I also speak nationally on branding and marketing.

Things are changing all the time in social media.

Isn’t it time you got some help?

Call me to chat: Jenelle @ 407-791-1360 cell

Categories: About GALA GAL, Consulting, Grab Bag, social media, Technology

►Who’s the “Voice” of your nonprofit?

July 5, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of branding handout

Who’s the “voice” of your social media posts?

I’m a huge, huge fan of Entrepreneur magazine. In fact, if you’re not already following them on Facebook, seriously, click over there and do it right now.

I’ll wait.

It’s that important.

If you want to be smarter about, well – anything – you should be following Entrepreneur magazine on Facebook.

Their posts are 2- or 3-minute reads about stuff you want to know, and I guarantee you’ll see something each week you want to click on and open.

By the way, I don’t get anything for promoting them. I’m just a super fan.

When I was researching for my presentation to the Working Women of Central Florida, I came across this awesome article Entrepreneur mag posted, “22 Statistics That Prove the Value of Personal Branding.”

It’s about how we (people, you and me) connect better with people, not companies, and you’ll do yourself and your organization a 561% favor by letting your employee’s personalities show when they share posts about your cause.

Since you can control the tone, images and message you put out there, sit down and really think about how you want to be perceived. Is your org inspiring? Are your clients beautiful? Are your services useful? And isn’t life just funny sometimes? (NOTE: If you don’t yet know about FUBI, read about it here.)

You can even let different people shine in their elements. If you’ve got a stellar soul who can communicate all you want to say on all your platforms, give him or her a raise! Otherwise, try trusting your inner circle with the platform that best matches his or her personality, and see if you don’t get more likes, follows, and engagement from your fans.

Categories: Board members, Charity, Consulting, Grab Bag, Other Money Makers, social media, Technology

►VIDEO – Selling an Inside Joke!

June 21, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of auctioneer GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor

Sell More Memories, Less Stuff!

This might be my favorite video clip ev-er!

It starts at $100 and you’ll never guess where we end up 🙂

Watch the short VIDEO on my You Tube channel.

There’s a lot I love about this clip – this small crowd of 160 solid supporters, the clear joy of giving in the room, and the fact that I’ve done this event for years so we’ve built this great rapport!

(Sidenote: we really do have the best job in the world.)

Anyway, the winning bidder doesn’t even keep the hat! It’s all in fun, a vehicle for donations, and a few minutes we will all remember as a highlight. Can your event do that?

Sell more memories to make your event a signature celebration of your cause.

Not sure how? Just call me: 407-791-1360 in Tampa.

 

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

►VIDEO – Only 2 Live Auction Items

June 7, 2017 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of charity auctioneer GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor

On the catwalk selling just 2 auction items!

Here’s a quick video on my You Tube channel from May 2017, when I sold just 2 live auction items (and raised double what we’d expected!)

Watch the VIDEO on You Tube, click here

There’s no one perfect answer to how many live auction items you should have.

I always ask my clients, “How long will your crowd pay attention?”

That’s a good place to start!

But it depends on if your event is a weeknight (ends earlier) or a weekend, what else you’re trying to accomplish that night, what your items are, if you have deep pockets and big spenders in the room, and several other factors.

Believe it or not, selling just 2 or 3 items is just as challenging as selling 18!

Call me (407-791-1360) and I’ll help you figure out how many items are best for your event.

Categories: About GALA GAL, Auctioneers, Live Auctions

►2017 Bookings in full swing!

November 16, 2016 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of Jenelle Taylor

It pays to hire a professional!

After a fantastic 2016, the GALA GAL team is looking ahead to an invigorating new year, and we’re looking for you!

Since 2002, I have worked with hundreds of nonprofits across Florida, and trained hundreds of fundraising auctioneers across the country through my private BOOTCAMP for Benefit Auctioneers course.

I’m available to help most any cause, and this year I find my heart being pulled to social justice causes, the underdog, the underfunded and hugely impactful.

If you’re making a difference in the world, I want to use my 14 years of fundraising to increase your impact, raise your revenue, and expand your outreach. You are committed to moving America forward, and so am I. Let’s plan your biggest fundraising auction yet for 2017!

Categories: Consulting, Live Auctions

►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

►More Donations During Your Fund-A-Need

March 21, 2016 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of Jenelle Taylor

It pays to hire a professional!

This spring I tried out a fundraising technique popularized by a colleague of mine in the San Francisco Bay area. He calls it The Run Around, and it’s a way to encourage much more participation at your final fundraising level. By taking the emphasis off of the size of each gift and focusing on getting more and more people to give (and give again), you can raise more money AND end your Fund-A-Need ask on an upbeat note with the crowd’s support. Check out this 5-minute clip on YouTube to see how we raised $4200 with a $1500 item. GALA GAL does The Run Around

Categories: Consulting, Other Money Makers

►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

►About that Safari Trip…

April 15, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
Photo of GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor

Try to avoid this at your non-profit, says GALA GAL Jenelle Taylor

A client called today for advice. They’ve planned to feature a safari trip as one of the live auction items for their event in a few weeks. When I read the description a few days ago, I realized with some surprise that this was not a typical sightseeing safari trip – this was a hunting safari!

I’ve seen and sold a number of safari trips, but they’ve always been photo safaris, or – said another way – photo shoots, not actual shoots.

My dad was a hunter, though I am not. Even though I would greatly prefer to only shoot things with a camera, I understand that a portion of the population worldwide shoots for sport and challenge. I’m comfortable promoting this item during the live auction alongside the other trips and experiences.

However, some of this organization’s supporters called to complain today, with the expectation that the trip will be pulled from the auction.

What should you do if some people feel an auction item is controversial?

Whether it’s selling a puppy, dinner with the embattled mayor, a hunting safari or countless other potential hot buttons, how should your committee proceed?

  1. Pull the item from the auction? After how many complaints, 1? 5? 25?
  2. Only pull the controversial item if the complaint comes from a major donor?
  3. What about moving the item from the more visible live auction into the silent auction?
  4. Should you try the “Sealed Bid” method for this auction item, so that if no one bids, no one knows, but if folks do bid, their names and amounts are known only to the committee?
  5. Or how about sending an e-mail blast or newsletter notification for interested parties to place bids via fax or email or text prior to the event?
  6. Keep the item in the live auction, but work hard to identify someone on the staff or committee or patrons interested in the item and willing to quickly raise a bid card, ensuring that it sells easily if other bidders don’t materialize?

There’s no one right answer, of course. While you may not want to bend to a few disgruntled voices, you also don’t want those voices to complain even more loudly on Facebook or the nightly news if they feel dismissed.

Ask yourself, what could possibly go wrong if we auction this item?

As your committee tries to “think outside the box” for atypical auction items, if you don’t have these conversations early on, you may find yourself – like my client – scrambling to find a solution 1 day before the catalog goes to print.

Categories: Consulting, Event Logistics, GALA GAL Case Study, 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

►Silent Auction – Bidder Blockers and Sheet Stealers

March 19, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of Gala Gal

Don’t let those “bid blockers” and “sheet stealers” ruin your auction!

If you’ve never seen one at your event, you’re lucky! While it’s great to have fast and furious bidding on your silent auction items, and it’s fun to watch that competition, too many times I’ve heard (or seen) heated bidders try to bend or break the rules of fair play.

I’ve seen Bid Blockers who square their shoulders and won’t let anyone else get to the bid sheet to bid against them, or Sheet Stealers who actually pick up or hide the bid sheet and try to sneak it back on the table right before closing time! I’ve actually seen someone rip up a bid sheet…twice! The same guy!

Anyway, if every year a few of your classroom projects or priceless opportunities create more bad blood than goodwill among your bidders, you’ve got a few options: either move those items to the main Live Auction, where peer pressure and encouragement will spur on the bidding, or post signs and make announcements reminding people that if your auctioneer sees a bidding war heat up, she plans to step over there and see who really wants it the most with an on-the-spot, mini live auction. It’s fun, it’s fast, and it’s fair.

But make sure to warn people first. And, of course, if you use mobile bidding for your silent auction, you’ll never have this issue again 🙂

What are your auctions most highly contested items year after year? How have you solved it?

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Silent auctions

►Silent Auction, or Mini On-the-Spot Live Auction?

March 10, 2015 - Author: Jenelle Taylor, CAI BAS
photo of easels with poster-sized bid sheets

Draw attention to a row of Can’t Miss items

What to do when you have so many great auction items that you can’t even fit them all in to the time slotted for the Live Auction?

Most live auctions at charity events are 30-45 minutes, and with an industry average of 3-4 minutes per live auction sale, that means only 10-15 items make the Live Auction cut for many events.

What if you have 20 awesome items that you need to get in front of bidders? I suggest blowing up the bid sheets to 20″ x 30″ mounted on foam board, place them on easels in a very high traffic area, add signage, place 1-2 full-time volunteers who never leave and can answer all questions about the items, and then get into the mindset of a county fair carnival barker, “Ladies and Gentlemen, don’t miss this awesome opportunity right here. Step right up to bid on ….” You get the idea.

Sometimes, I place these easel items in a semi-circle directly in front of the ballroom doors, and I let the crowd know that these items -while available for normal bidding during the silent auction – will be closed by on-the-spot, mini live auction between 7:40-7:45, immediately before the doors open for dinner. All interested in bidding need to gather here at 7:40 to get a last chance to be the winning bidder.

By doing this, we get as close as we can to the energy, excitement and ego of a live auction even though there wasn’t time in the program. As guests gather, I gets everyone’s attention in the vicinity and say, “Ladies and Gentlemen, we’re now going to close these 5 SUPER silent auction items by mini live auction. They are such great items that we didn’t want anyone to miss the opportunity, so whether you’ve already bid or not, everyone is welcome to bid right now as we close these awesome items. First up, you’ve been bidding on Item 901, 1 week RCI Timeshare anywhere in the world, valued up to $1800. The current bid is $1200, but who’ll go $1300, do I hear $1300, yes and now $1400…” Each item will take just seconds to close, and inevitably we’ll raise several hundred more dollars, remind folks that a professional auctioneer will entertain them later, and generate auction closing excitement right before releasing the guests to dinner.
Win. Win. Win!

Categories: Better Buyers, Consulting, Event Logistics, Live Auctions, Silent auctions