Auctions, Raffles and Cash Calls, Oh My! – Part 2

In my previous blog, I talked about some of the points that the guests on Tony Martignetti’s podcast made about make a fundraising auction successful.

They focused on Cash Calls, Auctions and Raffles and tips on how to make these fundraising elements more appealing to donors.

If you’d like to see more of my thoughts, take a look at the video below.
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If you are working on an upcoming fundraiser, and would like to implement some of these ideas into your event, I’d enjoy the opportunity to discuss them with you further!


Auctions, Raffles, and Cash Calls, Oh My!- Response to Tony Martignetti NonProfit Radio Podcast

This is a quick blog post in regards to the recent podcast from the Tony Martignetti Nonprofit Radio Show “Auctions, Raffles and Cash Calls Oh My!”. I’ve been listening to Tony’s podcasts for quite some time now. I’m always looking for insights into the non-profit sector and how I can implement those ideas and thoughts into helping our clients. I was so excited when I saw this in my feed as I’ve always thought that he should do a show on fundraising events, namely fundraising auctions. The three guests he had on were all members of different non-profits in the New York area and seemed to have some experience in fundraising auctions and events.  Here are a few of the great things they shared with the podcast listeners:

Neil Bogan on the Cash Call

  • Create and focus impact messaging throughout the night to build up to the Cash Call or Call To Action
  • Get the donations immediately that night
  • Start the giving high with a pre-secured lead gift
  • The spirit of giving is set from the lead gift and will allow all to give at a level that is meaningful to each person
  • Committee or Board of Directors sets the stage with their guests and asks if they will participate in the Cash Call and sets expectations for the night

Yolanda Johnson on Live and Silent Auctions

  • It has to make sense to have an auction and complement the tone and style of the event
  • Match items to what donors want
  • Analyze donor data to find what sells great and what doesn’t
  • No one will want it if it’s random
  • Guests love auction items that include food and travel experiences as well as mission centric items
  • For smaller items, you can package them together to make a great package
  • The auctioneer can bring a huge value to the event, and needs to be charismatic and outgoing
  • The style of the auctioneer needs to match the event
  • Make sure the paperwork/backend is completed and correct
  • Sell multiples of items in Live Auction
  • The Auction needs to have choreography and a production value

Tracy Drayer on Raffles

  • Raffle item acquisition is key
  • For a large raffle with many items, a list of items can help
  • Place ticket sales near the registration and use preprinted labels to place on each raffle ticket sold
  • 2 types of raffles: One large receptacle for all tickets or separate receptacles for different raffle items
  • Deliver items to table after drawing them; Draw Grand Prize at the end of the night
  • Follow your local gaming regulations and acquire necessary permits
  • Donation policy: donors give the item to the organization and cannot have back

Thanks Tony and your guests for bringing to light the importance of doing fundraising right at your next event! Maybe we’ll get to chat more someday about how to create events that engage more donors, excite the attendees and inspire those that support the organization to give more than ever before.

You can listen to his episode here:

I created a video in response to this that you can watch here! Part Two

You’ve never had a LIVE AUCTION? Why not? 6 steps to Live Auction Success!

I will admit, that there are some very successful events that have never had a live auction or Fund A Need during the dinner portion of the event. I am also pretty sure that these events are leaving thousands if not TENS of thousands of dollars literally on the table if the donors are either not asked or not asked effectively. Just this past weekend we worked with two organizations who’ve never had a live auction at their event. Both were very wary about the impact one small change can have on the results of a small fundraiser, but I am proud to say that both events met and exceeded expectations and goals of each committee and board member involved.

Some of the hesitations in each of those organizations were very similar. They were both asking “Why would anybody bid? “; “What if no one bids”; “What are we going to sell?” and “How do we keep track of what sells and to whom?” And many more questions. You might be asking yourself these same questions or have more that you’d like answered if you are thinking about adding a live auction to your event. Here are some points to think about before you take the big step into implementing a live auction into your fundraiser.

6 Steps for Live Auction Success:

  1. Audio/Visual Needs: You need to have amazing sound and video to display your message correctly and have a pleasant guest experience for your donors and attendees. Prior to having a live auction you may have been able to get away with using the venue’s in-house speakers to make your presentation and appeal. When you are planning for live auction success, you need to have a separate sound system including powered speakers around the room and a wireless microphone for your professional auctioneer to use. If your guests can’t understand or hear the auctioneer or it’s too loud or painful to listen to, they will leave and you will raise less money.
  2. Show Flow: Your event needs to move smoothly and efficiently to respect your donor’s time investment and to create opportunities for all attendees to give. We suggest you fundraise first and do the awards and dance later. Making sure you do your key fundraising at the best times will set you up for success. You can find out more about show flow here.
  3. Live Auction Items: Ok, you want to have an auction but don’t think you have items or experiences to sell? The best way to find items is to look within your own network of committee members and board members. Does someone have a timeshare, vacation home, private chef that they’d be willing to donate for an experience? Maybe someone knows a celebrity or a sports star to spend the day with. Maybe someone has a membership to a private golf club or has a houseboat they’d like to donate? What about your organization? Can you create an experience that you can find anywhere else? Maybe your teens can plant a garden for a bidder or have a dinner with the board of directors? The sky is the limit! It’s not about what you sell but how that item is a tool for giving to create competition and the spirit of giving to your meaningful organization that is changing the community with their dollars.
  4. A live Auction can create inspiration, excitement and engagement: Everyone loves an AUCTION! The sound, the rhythm, the speed, the competition…whether your bidders are actively participating or just spectating from the sidelines but showing their encouragement, everyone can get in on the act! When you do an effective auction, you will grab everyone in the room’s attention and when you have their attention…BAM! You hit them with mission and impact stories about the successes your organization is having and then they will give moreJ . By building excitement and engagement along with the inspiration portion, you have a unique opportunity to ask everyone to give at a level that is meaningful for them through an effective Fund A Need, Call To Action or Paddle Raiser appeal. When you do this right, everyone can give and invest in your cause.
  5. Professional Fundraising Auctioneer: Having an effective, fun, exciting and inspiring Professional Fundraising Auctioneer you will guarantee your success as well as the enjoyment and involvement of your donors in the auction. A Professional Fundraising Auctioneer knows how to read the crowd and get them to bid more, but also invests time and energy into learning about your organization to become the best ambassador they can be. When you combine ambassadorship with a great auctioneer, your fundraising records will be broken! You can learn more about this here.
  6. Check In / Check Out: You will need an efficient check in and check out service or software to issue everyone bid numbers and pre-swipe credit cards. If you do this right you can collect most of the money raised that night, if not, you might be chasing dollars for months after the event and may not even receive some pledged donations. No dollars go into your bank account unless the prior planning is done before hand. You can learn more here.

If you follow these simple steps, you can set yourself up for success and record breaking fundraising at your next event! If you would like more help in planning a great fundraising with your guests saying “That was the best auction I’ve ever been too”, please don’t hesitate to contact us so we can help you raise more money so you can help more in your community.


Bobby D.

Why you NEED a Professional Fundraising Auctioneer at your event!

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So you’re having a Live Auction at your upcoming fundraiser…you need an auctioneer, right? You might be saying to your committee “Does anyone know an auctioneer? Does anyone know anyone that can talk fast? Does anyone know anyone who would be willing to stand on stage and make bad jokes and ask our donors for money?” You’re not the only group to ask these questions.

There are so many fundraising auctions currently being held that there are not enough auctioneers to go around. So why don’t you get the weather man, radio guy, board chair or celebrity to do your auction? They are comfortable with a microphone and love being on stage, right? They love to be the center of attention, right? They have the prettiest sounding auction chant, right? They know how to represent your organization and share your impact on the community, right? They know when to sell an item and how to ask for more money than ever, right? They conduct hundreds of auctions a year, right?

This list could go on and on…well the answer to these questions is…NO!

Celebrities, whether local, national or even within the organization are great at what they do and not great at what they don’t do…namely auctions.

What about that FREE auctioneer who sells cars and cattle on a weekly basis? What about that auctioneer fresh out of auction school looking for experience? What about that individual who watched a couple YouTube videos? These could work, right? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

A Professional Fundraising Auctioneer is just that…a professional! Someone who makes a living doing exactly what you need for your event to raise more than ever!

Professional Fundraising Auctioneers are trained in the art of fundraising as well as auctioneering. This comes from years of experience working in front of crowds raising money and awareness for causes like yours. Also, most Professional Fundraising Auctioneers have specific training by the leaders in the industry to be the most effective salesperson for the event. Some also have attained the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist designation by the National Auctioneers Association which requires 40 hours of specialized training to do the best job for your group. There are only about 200 BAS Auctioneers in the Nation! If you are lucky enough to partner with one…do it! There’s 1.5 million non-profits in the nation and only 200 BAS Auctioneers? Yes that right…they are in such high demand because they create results.

Another reason why Professional Fundraising Auctioneers are so key to having a successful event is that they invest time and energy into learning and experiencing your organization so that they can be the best ambassador for you on the night of the event. You are trusting your fundraising that night and for many years to come with this one individual…they’d better be prepared! Professional Fundraising Auctioneers will do that because they know that by being an effective ambassador and a great auctioneer…magic can happen.   Donors get drawn into the action and their dollars get drawn out of their pockets.

Professional Fundraising Auctioneers also know auction psychology to create a great momentum to raise more money from those you have in the room. By being able to read the crowd along with individual bidders, knowing when they are going to bid again, along with the emotional statements about all that your organization can do, you will raise more money! Combine momentum, with experience and excitement and add a little inspiration…you will realize record breaking results!

If you are looking to have a Live Auction, I highly suggest using a Professional Fundraising Auctioneer so you can guarantee your success. Don’t hesitate to contact us to match one of our Associate Auctioneers with your event to raise more than ever to help many more that you already serve.


Bobby D

Are You Making These Killer Mistakes When Planning Your Benefit Golf Tournaments?

When planning any kind of event, it is important to ask yourself, the Board and the planning committee these questions:

Why should anyone want to attend this event? The ‘why’ has to be logical and meaningful. Is the money that is being raised impacting local causes? Do the donors know how they are impacting their communities? Many don’t and that hurts a Fundraiser! Have solid testimonials from those being helped by the organization that show donors how meaningful their support is. Give them hard numbers of dollars donated, people helped, meals served, etc.

What’s ‘the Draw’? Will it be the same old, same old type of event? Some golf, some prizes, some celebrities. Think of creative ways to refresh and renew the event Find Out More. Consider moving the event to a unique or exclusive golf course. Change the length of the tournament from 18 holes to 9 holes. This reduces the amount of time required and will appeal to busy professionals.

Are we competing with other major events? There are only 52 Thursdays, 52 Fridays and 52 Saturdays per year. Before setting the date for the event, check local calendars to see what else is going on that day. Competing with another event with a similar donor base can limit the number of participants and can reduce the amount of funds raised. Consider the time that the event is starting. Who really wants to start a golf tournament at 6:00 am? Why not choose a Tuesday at 3:00 pm?

 Who are we inviting? Do your attendees have the means and desire to support the organization? Will they or can they bring others with them who also have the financial means to advance the organization’s mission and cause? Many times sponsors will send their employees to attend if they can’t. Let your sponsors know that this is a fundraiser and that you would like them to participate in the fundraising events.

 Is it crystal clear from the invitation and during the event that your organization is having a FUNdraiser and not just a party or golf outing? Does the invite mention that the event is going to be fun, BUT it’s more than a p-a-r-t-y… but it’s really an opportunity to get behind something good all while having a good time?

Stop making these mistakes to make sure that your next golf event is successful and generates much needed dollars for your organization.

At Call To Auction we have many ideas and techniques to make sure your event is FUN and Fresh, which enhances & advances your mission and cause.

Call or email us for a Complimentary copy of out E-book or 15 minute call which will help you avoid these killer mistakes.

Excited to Present at the “Event Auction Strategies and Secrets” Workshop presented by the Arizona Nonprofit Academy

I can’t wait for this great opportunity to share the experience and expertise I have learned by working with so many organizations over the past years to raise more money, help more people and change the communities they reside in.

I’ll be co-presenting with Robyn Broshears of Auction Events Solutions and we will be discussing the key fundraising areas at your next Fundraising Auction Event.

Silent Auctions


Live Auction

Paddle Raiser or Fund A Need

This is an opportunity for you to learn directly from years of experience in fundraising and auctions. You will be able to take these methods and secrets to directly affect your bottom line. Please join us!

You can register here!

Hope to see you soon!

Bobby D

Why I Love What I Do – A Fundraising Auctioneer’s Perspective

As a professional fundraising auctioneer, I feel very fortunate and honored to help people every day. Whether it’s consulting with a client on best practices for their upcoming event or actually calling a live auction and exciting and inspiring donors to give more than possible, being a fundraising auctioneer is a calling that I find very fulfilling. When I make a visit to an organization and directly meet and interview those they serve, I create a lasting connection that not only sticks with me for a long time, but also helps me to become a true ambassador for their cause. This is really what makes a great fundraising auctioneer, that desire to become an ambassador for the cause.

By being an ambassador for the cause, I educate and inspire donors and their friends to understand the impact that their dollars have on those served. Whether it’s helping kids with cancer, animals at a local shelter or one of the thousands of other amazing causes out there today, being an ambassador is a huge honor that many individuals never get to experience. Unfortunately donors these days are so busy in their lives and their businesses that the Fundraising Auction Event is sometimes their only opportunity to learn about how they can directly make a change in the world. Sure many groups have great websites and post regular social media updates, but many times this information goes un-noticed by most of the donors. This is where the Fundraising Auctioneer/Ambassador is so crucial to the success of an event. We get to weave the story using our personal experiences and the research we conduct to excite, educate and inspire donors to feel that they are making a difference with their dollars. That is why donors give; to know they are making a difference in the world today by helping the causes they love so much.

The feeling of making a difference and having a direct impact on one individual’s life with the possibility of helping thousands more, is what sticks with a donor days, weeks, and even months after an event. When a post from their favorite organization comes up on their Facebook wall or an email about a story of a life that has been touched lands in their inbox, many times the donor thinks back to that night and the brain releases those feel good chemicals all over again strengthening the connection. Sometimes this flood of feelings will then inspire that donor to give a little bit more. When that “Save the Date” card comes in the mail 9 months after the event, that feeling of making a difference will make them put the event on their calendar as a “Do Not Miss” event and then inspire them to call their friends to fill a table so they can share in that feeling.

By helping to create this feeling in hundreds of individuals on any given evening, at any given event for an amazing organization that is doing the hard work to change the world, is why I love what I do. There are not many individuals in the world that can draw and hold a crowd’s attention, educate as well as excite, entertain as well as inspire donors to give more than they have ever thought possible. By helping all of the remarkable groups that I am honored to serve help do just that, I am able to do what I love to do.

Proud to be a NAA Auctioneer!

Coming off of an amazing week at this year’s National Auctioneers Association Conference and Show in Louisville, Kentucky, I am re-energized and renewed in the auction method of selling; particularly in helping non-profit organizations raise more money and retain more donors. I met with some amazing auctioneers who are helping so many people around the nation to raise awareness and funds for their organizations to change our world! All of the attendees were NAA members and have invested their time and money into our industry and our education. We all attended many different sessions to educate ourselves on how to better serve our clients, from using social media more effectively to the latest technology solutions to use in silent auctions. Some of my greatest moments were in the halls speaking with some of the greatest fundraising auctioneers and picking their brains about what items and auction games are working at their events. I uncovered some brand new ideas that can raise thousands in just a few minutes. I loved these types of ideas and can’t wait to share them with you!

I also competed in the International Auctioneer Championship and was proud to be one of the 86 contestants gunning for the title. Fortunately they chose the best auctioneers of the contest…unfortunately neither of them were me.. However, every contest that I compete in, I learn something about myself, my presentation and ways to be a better ambassador for my industry as well as my clients. By continually investing in my self-improvement as well as my professional improvement I can provide better service for you my client!

Here is a great YouTube commercial showing why a NAA Auctioneer is your best bet when you want to conduct an auction! Please watch and enjoy! Thanks for choosing this NAA Auctioneer as your Auctioneer!

Prior, Proper, Planning

I was trained by my parents about the seven P’s:

Prior Proper Planning Prevents P!$$ Poor Performance. (Sorry about the foul language, but I think you get my point)

When you give yourself, your team and your event the proper prior planning it deserves, you set yourselves up for success! By taking the time to do it right, you will create an event that will make your guests and donors feel welcomed, let them have fun, be educated, enjoy giving and want to come back next year with more friends. For you and your team, it will be a minimally stressful event, with few hiccups, plenty of laughs and big dollar returns. Below are some points that you need to think about and get covered before you even send out the “Save the Date” cards.


  • Who is in charge of the Check in/out process?
  • Who will pre-swipe Credit Cards?
  • How and why do you assign bidder numbers?
  • How many silent auction items and how to display them?
  • How many live auction items, how to display them and when to sell them?
  • Raffle items, raffle tickets, when do you give them away, how do you sell them?
  • Will you have a Fund-A-Need? Where to put in program, what are you raising money for, who will do the asking?
  • Will you be utilizing a professional fundraising auction team?
  • How are you going to excite, engage and inspire donors to give more than ever?

These are just a few questions you need to ask yourself and your team about your next upcoming event the sooner the better. If you have any questions or would like help planning your next record-breaking event, please don’t hesitate to send me an email at or call me directly at +855-GO-GAVEL.

What are some things that you’ve found have helped you the most in your planning process that made your event run smoother than butter?


Why Use a Professional Logistics Company at Your Next Benefit Auction?

Why the heck would you hire a company to do your registration for your next event when you have a staff that is more than capable of handing out bidder numbers, creating seat assignments and event programs? Oh yeah, they also have to accept payment, make sure the right silent and live auction items go to the right purchasers, print out invoices and receipts, accept donations, tally up and reconcile the Fund A Need and solve problems as they present themselves. All while keeping a smile on their face, and staying civil. Wait a minute, that sounds like a bunch of work right? You worked your administration team and volunteers hard enough getting ready for your big gala, and you expect them to give you 110% the night of the event? Being a realist, this is a lot to ask of your dedicated workers and helpers, so why not give them a break as well as make your event world class by giving your donors a great experience throughout the night? A professional logistics company can help with all of the items below and more:

  • Assign bidder numbers
  • Seat Assignments
  • Pre-Swipe credit cards for easy and quick payments
  • Hand out Event programs
  • Print Invoices and Receipts
  • Accept payments and donations with all forms of payment (Cash, Card, Check)
  • Reconcile Fund A Need donations to the correct donors
  • Distribute auction and raffle items to correct bidders
  • Solve any issue with registration and check out that might arise.

By utilizing a professional logistics company at your next event, you not only solve all of the above problems, but most of all create a positive donor experience for your guests. By making check in and check out seamless, quick and painless, your donors will be greeted with a positive first impression and leave with a great lasting impression (ensuring their attendance next year with more friends). The last reason to use a professional logistics company and not your current staff or volunteers is that you put those working in your organization out in the room as ambassadors of your organization. The people that are doing the great work for those you serve are the ones telling the best stories and sharing the impact that donated dollars have on the people your organization serves. So put your team and volunteers out into the room as advocates for your mission to share your vision and build long lasting relationships with your donors. These days donors want to know that their dollars are doing good, so why not have those that actually provide the services be the one to share that? Make an investment in a logistics company for your next gala and you will see amazing returns with donor retention as well as that great giving feeling buzz that all your donors crave. Make your next fundraising gala easy, fun and smooth! What are some ways that a professional logistics company has helped you and your organization?