Frequently Asked Questions
Why should we hire you?
We are skilled professionals who are committed to the science of planning fundraising auctions and the art of conducting them. We will help guide your committee to implement a more successful event, and we will do a better job onstage than any volunteer. Fundraising auctions are all we do, and that experience will yield you better results.
What is your fee structure?
We charge a flat-fee for our consulting and auctioneering services. Our fees are based on the experience of the auctioneer, and are not offered a la carte. We do not ask for a deposit, and we never invoice before conducting an event.
What are your rates?
We’re happy to share our rates with you, please contact us directly. We don’t publish our rates in order to comply with FCC anti-collusion regulations. Call us, we’re happy to talk.
Will you ever work for a commission or percentage of what we raise?
No. We believe that working for a commission is a conflict of interest for a fundraising auctioneer. See Greg’s blog post on this topic for a more thorough answer.
How soon should we engage you to work on our auction?
The sooner the better. We prefer to be involved as early in your planning process as possible. The success of any auction is built on months of planning, and we like to be involved to offer guidance the earliest we can.
How do we engage you?
Presuming we’ve met, established that we’re a good fit for your auction and established that we’re available on the date of your event, we have a very simple letter of agreement. We sign it, you sign it, and we’re off.
How much of a deposit is required to book you?
None. We just need to get our letter of agreement signed, and we’re in business together.
How much consulting can we expect?
How much consulting do you need? We get as involved as you want; the more involved, the better. We participate in regular committee meetings by phone and in-person and do not set a cap on the number of meetings we participate in.
Can we have a free consultation to see if you are a fit for our auction?
Sure. In fact, it is how we normally do business. Our “new business pitches” are usually a sit-down with the committee to talk about the auction, ask some questions and offer some solutions.
Of course, it’s really bad form to pick our brains for 2 hours, implement all of our suggestions and use a volunteer to do your auction.
We don’t need any consulting, we just need an auctioneer. Can we get a discounted rate and have you only do our auction?
Let’s say that your auction is so incredibly successful and your committee so knowledgeable that their experience trumps the 800+ events we’ve done. Even then, it would be to your event’s benefit to bring us in and have us get to know your committee in advance, to build relationships in person before the event in the hope of making your event more successful. If you are going to trust us to be your spokesperson onstage helping you raise money, we need to be part of the pre-planning process.
However, if you are simply looking for a gunslinger to throw on stage and be your mouthpiece, we’ll do it, but not for a discount. We still have lots of pre-auction work to do preparing for your event, researching your auction lots and writing our script. Odds are we’re not going to be as successful as we would be with pre-event involvement, and we’re not going to take the hit to our reputation and lose out on revenue. Kids in college and all that.
Can you help us with our silent auction, timeline, and other aspects of our event?
Absolutely. The auction isn’t a stand-alone component of your evening; it takes place within the context of your event. We have developed best practices for the entire evening -- all designed to make the event as a whole more successful. For events that need extra manpower, we are able to offer more in depth project management and planning services through our partnership with Beth Sandefur Events.
Our auction is different. Are you going to try and make us do it your way?
No way. We don’t bring a cookie cutter and try to force your event to fit our vision of the way events should be done. We offer guidance based on our experience and work with your team to come up with solutions best suited to the culture of your event.
Do you bring spotters?
Spotters are not included in our initial flat fee. However, we have relationships with many professional spotters in the Bay Area and can introduce you to them or contract them directly on your behalf.
Can you supply auction lots?
Not really. Our forte is helping you build a successful, sustainable auction. Part of the recipe for success is developing a pipeline of auction donors. We work with your team to help brainstorm auction lots and usually are able to identify at least three new lots from your existing base of supporters.
Is Ed really as handsome as they say?
Yes. And funnier.
How many auction lots should we have?
This depends on how long you want your auction to be. We conduct our auctions at an average pace of three minutes per lot, making it easy to calculate how many lots you can do with the time you’ve set aside for your auction. If you’re going to go through all of the trouble to get a roomful of people together to support you though, we recommend at least 10 auction lots.
Do we need to get someone else to emcee, or can you do it?
If you need an emcee at your event we highly recommend it not be us. We’re quite capable of being emcees, but the reality is that emcee and auctioneer are two different positions with very different relationships with the crowd. It isn’t in your auction’s best interest for us to be emcee.
Will you close out our silent auction?
As the last resort, yes. It’s not that we don’t want the work, or don’t like saying, “The final table of silent auction items is closing in 10…9…8…” it’s that the silent auction and cocktail hour provide a valuable opportunity for us to get to know donors and bidders. That networking will yield better results onstage for you – which is why you hire us in the first place.