More Than Your Average Auctioneer
Running a stellar auction takes more than a great auctioneer’s chant. After 20 years in the industry, I can tell you that genuinely connecting with the audience, and in turn connecting them with the cause they’re supporting, takes personability, character, and a dedicated team. That’s what Baker Auction Company brings to the stage at every auction we run.
I grew up eating, sleeping, and breathing the auctioneering world. My grandfather was one of the best auctioneers in the Northwest. There’s a recording of his auctioneer chant in the Smithsonian. Farm auctions, cow auctions, retirement auctions — you name it, he probably did it. My dad followed in my grandpa’s footsteps, going to auctioneering school at just 14 years old. When he graduated, he was one of the youngest auctioneers in the country. He and my grandpa were partners for a long time, and my dad has been an auctioneer for 40 years and counting.
They did auctions all over the Treasure Valley, and they took me and my brothers with them. In a calendar year, they did 30 to 50 auctions for charities, churches, and benefit events, all for free. It was their way of giving back to the community, and it planted the seeds for the mission of Baker Auction Co. today. I’ve always been fascinated by sales and driven to succeed, so auctioneering was a natural fit for my interests. I also found that I had a passion for charity auctions. I could tell it meant a lot to those charities and churches that my family helped them raise money for their cause.
My grandpa started helping me with my auctioneer chant when I was 10 years old. When I was 13, they put me to work. They didn’t just throw me out on stage, though. My grandpa would make a real show of it, pretending to suffer from a coughing fit before handing the microphone to me, supposedly while he would gather himself. It always came as a big surprise to the crowd when a 13-year-old continued the bidding war. I got in front of the mic any chance I had, and with every auction, my chant got better.
Running the best charity auctions is about more than fast talking, though. You have to show the audience that you care about the cause and get them to care too. The ringmen are instrumental in accomplishing that. While I’m up on stage, they don’t just call out bids. Through our banter and antics throughout the event, ringmen make the audience feel like a part of the show, which increases their enjoyment and the likelihood that they’ll donate to your cause.
We’ve done charity auctions all around the country, and one of the most rewarding aspects of our job is helping organizations provide for people’s needs better than we can by ourselves. We play a small part in changing lives — and that keeps us going.
Stories From the Stage: Turn Off Cruise Control
When we first start working with an organization to plan their next charity auction, we emphasize one thing up front: Change is okay. If an organization puts together the same fundraiser every year, their fundraising abilities will stagnate, and their donors will lose interest. It’s something I’ve seen time and time again. Taking a chance on something new is the first step an organization can take to create more successful fundraisers and get out of that stagnation.
This year, we teamed up with an organization that had done the same type of auction with the same team of auctioneers for the previous 20 years. Historically, the auction had also been a dry event (no alcohol). In all that time, their record fundraising amount was $40,000, but their takeaway usually averaged about $25,000. They hadn’t even done the auction the previous year because there was no interest from their donors.
From the beginning of our involvement, it was an uphill battle. But our client realized they needed to change, and they wanted us to help them do it. We got to work changing everything, including the design and layout of the space, the music, and even how guests should raise their paddles during
the event. They didn’t have to follow our suggestions if they didn’t want to, but usually, if an organization has hired us, they’re receptive to our advice.
When the big night finally came, it was unlike any auction they ever experienced before. Our presentation on stage brought people to tears. The head of the organization, always very stern and composed, was doubled over laughing. Even the most conservative crowd members enjoyed themselves. In the end, they raised $225,000.
Don’t put your organization’s fundraising efforts on cruise control. Times change and so do people, so why shouldn’t you take a chance on something new? Give Baker Auction Co. a call at (208) 739-8750. You won’t regret it.
Breathe Life Into Your Fundraising Events
At Baker Auction Co., we love conducting auctions of all kinds, and we participate in over 400 auctions every year. That being said, we have a special place in our hearts for conducting charity auctions. However, anyone who has tried raising money for their cause knows just how hard it can be to bring in those donations. Luckily, there are some strategies you can use to make the process a little easier on yourself.
Maybe you’ve done the same type of fundraiser every year, and it’s feeling a little stale. While it might feel like a safe and secure option to go with what you know, you’ll never see the kind of success you’re hoping for unless you take risks and try new strategies. Try to think of some fun, creative events to draw in your donors, like an escape room event, a walk-a-thon, or a charity auction.
Optimize the Invite List
While, ideally, you want to invite all of your donors and supporters, it’s not always possible. That’s why it’s important to go through your donor list, take into account the size and frequency of specific donors’ donations, and make sure you invite those who are most generous. This will help you maximize the amount of funds you can raise, as well as honor your most valued supporters.
Time the Event Carefully
Statistics show that there are times of year when people feel more generous. Your organization can take advantage of these attitudes and plan to host events during peak charitable giving season. We’ve found that the fall, winter, and early spring months are the best time to conduct an auction, and statistically, people are more generous at the end of a calendar year.
Are you trying to figure out your next fundraising event? Tyson Baker is a certified Benefit Auctioneer Specialist, and he and his team guarantee they will make your next fundraiser something truly special. Check out Baker Auction Co. LLC on Facebook for contact info and updates on our latest events.