There are many strategic components nonprofit development directors use to organize successful benefit auctions. A professional benefit auctioneer is one of them, providing planning expertise and helping to boost crowd enthusiasm and encourage bidding.
If you want record fundraising numbers, an educated and experienced benefit auctioneer is a necessity.
But not all benefit auctioneers are the same. Did you know that there was a professional auctioneering association? Founded in 1949, the National Auctioneer Association (NAA) is the world’s largest association dedicated to professional auctioneers. The NAA offers a Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) designation given to auctioneers that demonstrate industry-best skills. Continuing education, classroom hours and extensive auction experience is required to receive the designation.
For development directors, hiring a benefit auctioneer can make or break a fundraising event. By seeking a professional with a BAS designation, stakeholders get peace of mind that the auction will run smoothly and attendees will be inspired to get involved andto support the cause financially.
NAA offers many educational opportunities for benefit auctioneers, and one of the key events is the annual Benefit Auction Summit. Winspire had an opportunity to sponsor and attend the 2013 Benefit Auction Summit. Benefit auctioneers from across North America came together to learn and develop the skills required in achieving the goals of the nonprofit and charity communities. The summit, which took place in Rosemont, Ill., sold out and was the largest to date.
Scott Robertson, a BAS licensed fundraising auctioneer in Florida served on the steering committee this year and chaired the “Strategic Auction” in which he orchestrated a live benefit auction to showcase and role play best practices through various benefit auctioneers.
“I thought this year’s event was a home run based on the participation of the attendees, the quality of the attendees – I mean we had some heavy hitters there!” says Robertson. “If you figured out how many dollars these folks helped raise, it would be an impressive number. We have the quality of the attendees and also the quality of the presentations. I thought it was absolutely outstanding.”
As the importance of the BAS designation increases, the event will continues to grow at a rapid pace. Next year’s event is already being planned, with the Benefit Auction Summit 2014 to be held Sept. 14-16.
Scott Robertson wraps up, “Set your calendar right now for next year’s BAS Summit. If you think you can’t afford to go and you really want to be a benefit auctioneer… you can’t afford not to go.”