So who do you know?

March 4, 2013

My clients often ask what is new and fun that I am selling at other benefit auctions. Here are three auction prizes that I recently sold:

  • A three-hour private house concert featuring a prominent local singer/musician along with a three piece band. This was a great item, and might have been used for a block party, graduation event or entertainment for a small company get-together. The person that arranged for the donation is a close friend of the musician.
  • A home irrigation system and installation. There aren’t that many “guy” items at most galas, but this was a fun one. Labor and materials for a lawn up to 10,000 square feet. The person who arranged for this donation had contracted with the firm for a system at their business and knew the owner.
  • A Sunday brunch for 24 people in a private room at a prominent Downtown Minneapolis restaurant including food and 24 complimentary rail drinks, Bloody Mary’s or beer. Again, the volunteer that was able to put this donation together has a relationship with the owner of the restaurant.

Ask your board and volunteers who they know that owns or manages a business. Be creative in suggesting a donation.



Acquisition items often overlooked

February 7, 2013

Many auction committees are working on auction item acquisitions. One suggestion I always make is to contact the organizations’ vendors and ask for a donation. Most often, the business manager will identify the 20 largest vendors that the organization does business with.  Some of the vendors will probably not commit, such as electric and telephone utilities, but others may want to donate a service, a cash contribution, or the vendor may have professional sports tickets, a vacation condo, or something that might make sense for your event.

If possible, see if the business manager might make the calls, as he or she probably has a relationship with the vendor. Your live acquisition person might want to look at each prospect with the person making the call in advance to identify some possible contributions that the vendor might make.

Most vendors are happy to make a tax deductible contribution to their clients in the spirit of support and maintaining a client relationship. The key is to ask.




Lawrence Auctioneering, LLC: 2012 last minute auction acquisition

December 12, 2012

Now is the time of year when there is lots of discussion on gift cards. A perfect time to ask your supporters for gift cards for your next silent/live auction event.

Many restaurants and retailers are offering a bonus when you buy their gift cards. Consider asking your supporters to give your organization their bonus card, or buy an additional card for your organization when they are purchasing cards.

Or, ask your supporters to donate a card they receive over the holidays to your organization. Many cards go unused for many reasons…donate it in 2012 and get a tax deduction.

This ask can be in the form of an e-mail blast, or as part of a online or mailed newsletter sent to your supporters.




Lawrence Auctioneering LLC | A twist on Heads and Tails

December 5, 2012

Many events that I work do a heads and tails game as part of a live auction. It’s a great way to get folks energized after sitting for dinner, leading into the live auction.

Recently, one organization had a very successful heads and tails game. There were 300 in attendance. The group limited participation to 100, with a cost of $25 per person. The prize was an iPad valued at approximately $500.

100 participants at $25 per person grossed $2,500. After paying the cost of the prize, the organization netted around $2,000.

Just another revenue area that can make a great event even more profitable. If you have questions about holding a game such as heads and tails at your next fundraiser – give me a call.



Lawrence Auctioneering LLC | What time should your auctioneer arrive?

December 3, 2012

I like to get to the venue before guests arrive. That gives me time to check the sound system, get last minute instructions from the event manager, and address any last minute changes. I always state in new business proposals that I will be there half hour before guests arrive, and earlier if requested.

Another advantage of being on-site is that it gives you a chance to monitor the silent auction. If the bidding for the silent auction goes well, it’s usually a good indication that the live and special appeal will be successful.  If it isn’t going well, I might suggest announcements highlighting certain items, or possibly leave the silent auction open for a longer period.

There’s no reason the MC should sell the first item because the benefit auctioneer arrives late. The development staff has enough to worry about the night of the event.  Worrying about one of the key vendors for the event shouldn’t be one of them. Make sure to clearly indicate in your contract when the auctioneer should be onsite – and, as winter arrives, make sure you’ve built in enough time for inclement weather.




Lawrence Auctioneering LLC | Raffle adds to evening total

November 29, 2012

 A church school event that I auction runs a fun raffle during the evening. It leads up to the live auction. Volunteers sell 20 chances at $10 each for what they call the 50/50 money raffle. Every time they sell 20 tickets, I announce the winning ticket number and the winner gets $100 dollars. Then, the procedure starts over again. They sell 20 more chances and one of those 20 tickets gets drawn for $100 in cash. Their goal was to sell $2,000 in tickets and net an additional $1,000 for the evening. This is an easy raffle to run – all that is needed is a roll of preprinted tickets, and a couple of volunteers to continually sell to the crowd.



Lawrence Auctioneering LLC | New website pretty much up and running

November 16, 2012

Our new website is up and running, some tweaks may be necessary but we are ready to run and present our Lawrence Auctioneering operation. We last made format changes in 2009, and although we were able to make changes easily, the new site gives us even more flexibility.