Awesome AFP Arizona State Conference

Hello all of my Fundraising Superheroes, especially my friends that I met at the Arizona Association of Fundraising Professionals Conference on July 19 and July 20, 2017 in Tucson, AZ.

What a fantastic day filled with fellowship, fundraising best practices and FUN all culminating with the World Premier of Fundraiser: The Musical presented by Call To Auction (YouTube Video coming soon!)



We had a few questions come up during our conversations and wanted to answer those here:


Question 1: How many items do we need for our Live Auction? 


The answer is 0 to 10+. All depending on goals, culture of your event, previous event feedback, demographic of donors, timeline, auctioneer, marketing, etc.  It is our philosophy in fundraising that you have 45 minutes of dedicated donor focus on live fundraising, whether that is a Live Auction, Paddle Raise/Call To Action, Fundraising Games etc. Every minute over that 45 minute time limit, you will see a decrease in maximized revenue.
It is our recommendation for an optimal fundraising event to have 3 – 5 absolutely amazing Live Auction experiences followed by an  short inspirational statements by those directly effected with from your donations and then conduct a Paddle Raise/Call To Action by your professional fundraiser. This will maximize your donation potential but most importantly your donor experience.


Question 2: How do we do a Paddle Raise?


This is the biggest question being asked around the nation about special event fundraising. Paddle Raise, Fund A Need, Cash Call or what we refer to as, the Call To Action. This is the most effective method of live fundraising at your special event in regards to ROI of time and dollars as well as donor experience, engagement and interaction. Your Call To Action can raise $1000’s if not $10’s of thousands of dollars a minute. Our most successful clients have raised millions in their Call To Action when done effectively. How do you do this asking?
  1. Prepare your donors: Let donors know that you will be conducting an Ask and that they can give at a level that is inspirational to them
  2. Set the Stage: Great lighting, mood, video, etc. to get all guests focused
  3. Tell a short story: An individual from your organization that has been directly effected by the funds is usually the best person to tell a 100 second story.
  4. Make the Ask: Have your professional fundraiser make that ask, sincerely, graciously and powerfully to inspire the giving.
  5. Collect the funds: Make sure every guest has a giving card/bid paddle to make it easy for them to give emotionally
  6. Celebrate the success: Woohoo!!! You just raised a ton of money, let your guests now donors know that you love them
  7. Say Thank You: At the event and after the event. Let all those that gave a big “Thank You” and messaging where their dollars are going and who they are impacting
Question 3: We had a really awkward Live Auction, how do we fix this? 


Easy, hire a professional. Sure the MC, Celebrity, or Board Member has no problem behind the microphone and being funny. But your Live Auction and Call To Action are your biggest fundraising opportunities of the night. Don’t take a chance. Invest in someone who is specially trained, has 1000’s of hours of experience and knows how to excite, engage and inspire a crowd and utilizes effective fundraising psychology to get your donors to give as much as they can. By hiring a professional, you are investing in creating a positive donor experience that will live on much further than the funds that were raised. Maya Angelou said it best, “People will forget what you said, they will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you make them feel…” Can we help your donors feel amazing!
We would like to invite you to our upcoming seminar workshop titled “Smash the Ceiling: Secrets to create 6 Figure Events”.


You can learn more about the event and register below
It was great meeting you all and let me know if you have any other questions or more clarification about these questions. Please call 855-GO-GAVEL.


Thank you!
Bobby D


See you next week at the AFP Arizona Conference!



Call To Auction is so excited to be an exhibitor at this years Association of Fundraising Professionals of Arizona Statewide Conference! Our auctioneers and consultants, Frank Kitchen, Daren Shumway and Oscar Guerrero will be on hand to answer questions and give ideas of who to add energy and dollars to you next fundraising event.  Be sure to drop by for free drawings for our upcoming fundraising event seminars and other gifts that can BOOST your

Call To Auction and Bobby D. are excited to invite you to the Fundraising Auction Seminar and A Higher Bid Book tour with Best Selling Author, Kathy Kingston.

Double Down for Homeward BoundKathy Kingston

Best-selling author Kathy Kingston and Bobby D. reveal powerful and innovative strategies from her blockbuster Bestseller book A Higher Bid.

Register for this content rich and highly interactive seminar where you’ll take away fresh profit-making tips you can use immediately to raise more money. Kathy created this seminar just for you because she knows that nonprofits and schools need these proven strategies to maximize fundraising and to engage new donors now.

Sedona September 26, 2016

Phoenix September 27, 2016

Tucson September 28, 2016


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.

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

Big Ideas for Big Donations

We are pleased to introduce the second installment in our Maximizing Profits for Non Profits seminar series:

Big Ideas for Big Donations at Your Next Event

If you are ready to:

  • Bring in donations bigger than ever you thought possible
  • Add 15-25% or more to your Silent and Live Auction Budgets
  • Use the advancements in mobile electronic bidding to include even more buyers
  • Create a stronger “Why” and have better ways to present it
  • Freshen up your stale event
  • Have an out pouring of donations from thin air

Then please join us on Monday  March 10th from 10:30 am – 1:00 pm at the Tempe Library see page. Lunch will be provided.

So whether you are new to the fundraising biz, or have been around for years, we have the solutions you need and much more!!!!

Ready to Register? Click here.

This event is being sponsored by:








Maximizing Profits for Non-profits in 2014: Building Buzz for Your Next Event

Maximizing Profits for Non-profits in 2014: Building Buzz for Your Next Event

Come learn from the pro’s on how to take your fundraising to new heights with cutting edge technologies and techniques. Is your non-profit ready to play by for-profit rules? Is your organization ready to raise as much money as possible while building a bigger donor and volunteer base? Are you looking for more active board members who can draw on their circles of influence for donations and support? Do you need amazing auction items that don’t cost a dime? Do you need to effectively share your story and impact of donations through the powerful use of video? We will teach you these and more! You will learn how to:

  • Exciting Donors/volunteers by creating that buzz around town through social media, so everyone is talking about your event.
  • Effectively reach out to donors by getting in-front of them and sharing mission, vision and impact they are having
  •  Engaging Donors/volunteers by giving opportunities to give and to help
  • Inspiring current/past/future donors and volunteers to give more time, support and donations by showing the impact of past work and donations
  • Find an out pouring of auction item donations from your local business community
  • Sell out every event and continue to grow your support throughout the year
  • Create a powerful and effective video marketing campaign to swell donors hearts and open their wallets.

Join us on Monday February 3rd, 2014 from 10:30 am – 1:00 pm at the Tempe Library.

Register here.

Professional Presenters to include:









Participate in a panel discussion with all presenters and get your questions answered! Lunch is included! By signing up you will receive the video of the previous Call To Auction Seminar “Secrets to Supercharge Your Fundraising Auction” Free Ticket to Endless Range Marketing’s newest Seminar Series And much, much more!!! For a few hours of your time invested, you will learn from professional fundraisers, marketers and film producers to take your fundraising to new levels!!! Please join us and take part in the Non-Profit Revolution!!!

Ready to Register? Click Here

#FFFF2013 Seminar Review

Facts, Fiction and Fun of Fundraising 2013 Seminar Synopsis

August 28, 2013

W Hotel Scottsdale, AZ
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A number of nonprofit organizations development directors, CEO’s, executive directors and other support members gathered on this warm August morning to meet with local businesses looking to help maximize their events in style, feel, taste and inspiration. As guests arrived, they mingled with the vendors to see what is on the cutting edge of fundraising events. Auction & Event Solutions was the organizing group of the event and had a full staff and display of the newest technologies in the fundraising sector. Smartphone and touch screen electronic bidding platforms, speedy guest check in and check out are AES’s specialty. Phone and touch screen electronic bidding platforms and speedy and easy guest check in and check out is there specialty.

Attendees were treated to a wonderful breakfast by the W Hotel and settled in for a fun morning. Robyn Broshears of AES opened the event by welcoming everyone and sharing why we were there, to raise more money for nonprofits and their beneficiaries. Sonoran Studios provided the audio and visual displays making this look and sound like a world class event and the beautiful table settings and decorations provided by Classic Party Rentals of Phoenix.
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Next, Julia C. Patrick of Frontdoors News gave a wonderful keynote speech on unlocking your fundraising potential. She also took questions from the floor in regards to the concepts covered and fundraising in general. Robyn and Julia then picked three lucky nonprofits out of a hat to earn the funds raised during the event from registration, sponsor fees, the live auction and centerpiece sales provided by table tops etc. find out here. Above & Beyond Communications selected Fresh Start Women’s Foundation to receive the ticket/sponsorship proceeds: $1,650!
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Then it was time for fun, Bobby D. Ehlert BAS (Benefit Auctioneer Specialist) of Call To Auction, a local professional benefit auction and consultation firm, excited and inspired the crowd to bid in a live auction. He sold a special event marketing package donated by Frontdoors News and valued at $5,200.. Bobby D. used his unique wit, charm and auctioneer style to get hands in the air for the auction and shared some information on why it is important to use a Benefit Auctioneer Specialist. The winning bidder’s funds went to Arizona Broadway Theatre: $1,600!
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After a quick break, the group split into two groups to hear talks from Kari Yatkowski of Corporate Citizen about enhancing current fundraisers and Alissa Pierson of the ASU Alumni Association about creating new fundraisers for nonprofits. Both talks shared valuable information about raising more dollars for the organizations in attendance. After closing the session, groups were invited to visit with each of the vendors again, including event planner EMP Management, and partners Don Dear Photography & Studio ADT who create high quality, branded photo keepsakes.There was a fun and fundraising buzz in the room as guests mingled sharing ideas for their next event.
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The 2013 Fact, Fiction and Fun of Fundraising in its 3rd year proved to be a success for all involved. The nonprofit groups gained some valuable information and tips about raising more money, the vendors met some potential clients and everyone had a ton of FUN!