Expert Strategies to Increase Your Auction Profits

Q. Why should I hire an auctioneer who specializes in benefits if I can get my neighbor to do it for free?

A. It takes months of professional strategizing to maximize the return on a gala event, not to mention the hours of the venue, food, volunteers, etc. This investment in time is too valuable to toss to someone willing to do it for free while crossing your fingers and hoping for the best results. This is like building a formula one racecar and letting anybody that has a license race it for you. Sure they know how to drive, but can they pass on the inside doing 140mph?

Always hire a professional auctioneer certified to conduct a charity gala. Be sure they can work with you from beginning offering consultations to ensure you reach your goals. They must be able to guide you through the process so you can trust their ability to be your ambassador – raising you the most money possible. It is the only money you will spend to guarantee a monetary return.

Q. Every year we have more and more silent auction items, but we are earning less. Why?

A. Less is more. Too many items tells attendees they are going to get a deal. Make your silent auction feel like a Christian Dior boutique with fewer specialty items and less like a tag sale of bargains. After all, this is for your charity and business have generously made the items available so you can raise more money. In the end, many bidders will contribute but only one will be a winner per item. Make it count.

Q. How do we get the right people to attend our event?

A. A lot of times we think that if we want to make a lot of money we need to invite the wealthiest people we know. That isn’t always the case. Sometimes your biggest donors are those that have either been assisted by your organization at some time, or that has a real passion for it. I would rather have 100 people that are passionate about the cause than have 600 random people in the audience. A good practice is to have some of your highest bidders and donors invite their friends and family.

Build your event from the inside out.

Q. We have a fundraiser event, but by the time the auction starts a lot of people are starting to leave. What are your suggestions?

A. There are two types of events! Parties with a fundraiser attached to it, and true fundraisers. An event where the auction is not the main focus is just a social gathering. These do not to raise as much money since the money-making aspect of the event seems like an afterthought.

Then there are fundraisers that have all of the money making components as the main event. For example, if your event is 4 hours and you want to raise $150k you will have to generate $37,500 per hour or $625 per minute. That means having a guest speak for 20 minutes it would cost $12,500 in lost revenue that would need to be made up. When you start thinking about your event in those terms, you can start to increase your revenue drastically.

Larsen & Larsen Auction Co.-LogoJonathan R. Larsen is a professional auctioneer that works with organizations all over the country partnering with them to increase their awareness and revenue so that they can continue to be a positive impact on those that need it. You can learn more at or e-mail and mention this article and get a free 30-minute consultation about your event.