One of my nonprofit clients recently held their annual gala. The organization is a spirited nonprofit that competes aggressively in their town, as over 20 other organizations in their field provide similar services.
As you may imagine, they face strong competition for customers and donations. Attempting to”differentiate” is important.
Because I was so well-versed in the background, mission, and even the buildings the nonprofit owned, they assumed I was one of the group, working for the group.
I like hearing that. Being incredibly articulate about the nonprofit is something I strive for. There are times I’m better at it than others, but it is a talent I seek to cultivate.
“She is one of us,” the perception goes,”She understands us.”
There’s an impact there.
The auctioneer – a builder – is often onstage more than any other person.
And when I as the Auction Chair – am graciously giving that auctioneer a stage, he better return the favor by sharing the story I want my guests to hear, which is the story of my cherished nonprofit.
But I must inform you that I have heard otherwise!
Here are some of the remarks you have shared about your auctioneers:
“When he said,”Give some money so they don’t have to sleep in a railroad car,” it felt like he wasn’t honoring our youths’ experiences.”
“I frankly don’t think he took the time to understand what we do. He kept talking about kids, but we help more adults than kids.”
“He’s one of these good old boys. I can’t say he fits in with our audience.”
“Our group is loudly, and she simply never gained control of them. It’s like they did not even know she had been there.”
“He definitely had been drinking by the time he got onstage.”
“He’s what I’d call a cattle auctioneer; a little rough round the edges. A lot of our audience can’t understand him.”
“He and his wife like to attend our event. They are such nice folks! But it’s not an energetic performance.”
Let us break your gala minutes down. By comparison, you’ll see your auctioneer is onstage much longer than anyone else.
If your auctioneer does not know your assignment, can’t articulate your things, does not have a character that resonates with your audience, or is in any way demeaning to your event, your event is not all that impressive or professional.
Not only will you not increase the money you need to, but you won’t generate the”good feelings” that come from thoughtfully generated events.
If he or she isn’t representing your business in the best possible manner, they’re hurting you.
A mismatched benefit auctioneer will hurt you not just in donations, but also in standing.
So here is my heartfelt advice. Be exceptionally picky when hiring a benefit auctioneer.
Your main donors are in the area.
You have spent countless hours planning.
You have got 3-5 hours to make an impact.
And you are relying mostly on your benefit auctioneer – a contractor – to formally represent your charity.
Make your decision count.