The last time you bought a flight ticket or booked a hotel room for a trip, did you wait until the last minute to do so? Of course not. When it comes to reserving expensive tickets or rooms, you do it months in advance. Otherwise, the price will go up as time goes on, or worse — those seats or that hotel room could be unavailable by the time you decide you want to actually make the purchase.
With that in mind, my question is this: Why wouldn’t you think the same way about your charity auction and auctioneer?
We work with a lot of different charities and nonprofit organizations, and I’ve found that the auctions we help them put on are usually their biggest fundraisers of the year. Sure, they might put on smaller raffles or similar events throughout the year, but they call us for their most important opportunity to raise funds for their causes.
I want for any organization we work with to have the best possible advantage when it comes to raising funds, and a big part of making sure that happens is booking your venue and auctioneer way in advance. When I say “way in advance,” I don’t mean just a couple of months ahead of time. I mean that if you want to have the same venue and same auction company on the same date next year, you need to book everything almost immediately after this year’s event.
I know that may sound like overkill. But, in cities that are experiencing rapid growth and have limited venue space, like Boise and the rest of the Treasure Valley, we get booked further ahead of time than you might think. Two or three months in advance isn’t enough time to ensure you’ll get everything you want booked. For your organization’s biggest fundraiser of the year, don’t you want to make sure you have all those ducks in a row as soon as possible?
If you throw the same fundraising auction at the same venue with the same auction company on the same date every year, any change might mean losing supporters who count on that consistency. Say you do your charity fundraiser on Dec. 1 every year and you absolutely need the same venue you had last year, but you waited too long to book it. Now, if you want that venue, you have to push back the date of your auction, which potentially means that supporters who count on going on Dec. 1 every year might not be able to make it on the new date.
Booking too late might also mean losing big-ticket auction items. Those large companies and corporations that donate auction items only have a finite amount of resources for charitable donations, and asking them for donations too late might mean you’ll leave that meeting empty-handed. We work with many organizations that loved working with us — and we loved working with them! However, because we’re running multiple auctions every weekend, we can’t guarantee they will have first pick of team members if they wait too long to ask us to do their next charity event. We have a large team, but we can’t promise they’ll be able to have the handsome Tommy Baker available for their auction.
Like I said before, we want your auction to go off without a hitch. We absolutely want to be your auctioneer of choice. But for that to happen, you have to coordinate with us early on. With that in mind, if you just worked with us recently, we hope to hear from you soon!
Stories From the Stage: Not Every Act of Kindness Happens Where We Can See It
When I’m up on stage in front of the crowd, I can see a lot, but I can’t see everything. Even though I’m proud of all the good that Baker Auction Company does, sometimes the greatest acts of kindness happen behind the scenes. No matter how much you think you know about your event, there’s a good chance you don’t know everything.
Recently, we were hosting an auction for a scholarship foundation. About a week before the auction, the father of a well-known family in the community tragically died in a farming accident. He left behind a wife and five kids. I knew the family, but I didn’t know that some of his kids and their aunts and uncles were at the auction that night.
We started warming up the crowd with a card game where players had a chance to win a cash prize, and a little girl won $500 playing the game. I found out later that she was one of the farmer’s kids. Then, about halfway through the evening, we started the bidding for one of the night’s big-ticket items: a purebred doodle puppy.
If you’ve ever worked with us before, you know we like to start the bidding low. We started off at $100, knowing full well it would go for way more. This little girl, bless her heart, bid all the way up to $500 for the puppy. She really wanted it, and she was devastated when she didn’t get it.
The bidding war went on until the puppy sold for over $5,000 to a wealthy donor family. We thanked them for buying the puppy and went about the rest of our night. The next day, I found out that family had given the puppy to the little girl. They bought it just for her.
It would have been hard for me to keep my emotions in check during the show if I had known all of this was going on. Call it destiny, fate, or whatever you want, but something special happened that night that proved there are some really good people out there with a lot of love to give.
Topping Their Own Fundraising Records And Helping Disadvantaged Youths Go to College
“For a lot of kids out there, all it takes is one dedicated mentor to launch them into a bright, successful future. At the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada, that’s what we try to provide for the kids in our community. If you’re not already familiar with the work Big Brothers Big Sisters does nationwide, we pair kids, ages 6–14, who come from disadvantaged backgrounds with adult mentors for an entire year. Many of these kids come from single-parent households, and around 65%–70% come from households where English is not the primary language spoken. It’s our passion to give these kids opportunities they wouldn’t otherwise have through mentorship.
With such an important mission, we want to make sure we have the resources to continue our mentorship programs. I was fortunate enough to see Baker Auction Company in action at a fundraising event for the Boys & Girls Club in Bend, Oregon, back in 2018. I was impressed with their energy onstage and how they could engage a room and get the audience invested in an organization’s mission. When I went back to Reno, I told my team about them, and we decided to bring them down for our next Big Chefs Big Gala, which was our biggest fundraiser of the year.
In the past, Big Brothers Big Sisters has had a few different auctioneers. We chose to work with Baker Auction Company because of the incredible energy and level of professionalism they bring to nonprofit events. They ran the most successful auction in terms of fundraising in the history of our organization. Baker Auction has only worked one event for us, but they beat the previously fundraising record by 20%. The funds that Baker Auction Company helped raise will help Littles in our program graduate high school and move on to their college education. One of the most rewarding experiences for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada every year is seeing the kids whom we helped mentor graduate from high school. At least in part, Baker Auction Company helped make that possible.”