Frequently Asked Questions


When should we start planning our fundraising auction event?

The answer is now.  Most fundraising auction events are planned over a 12-month period.  A timeline for completion of action items is essential to the success of the event to keep all volunteers and active committee members on task and on time.  Scrambling to complete items at the last minute is a sure way to increase volunteer burnout and diminish the effectiveness of the fundraiser. Champion Fundraising Auctions can assist you with not only developing the timeline but also provide written job descriptions for each volunteer.  Remember there is no substitute for experience!

What kind of sound system is required for our auction event?

An auction quality sound system is an essential but often overlooked ingredient for a successful charity auction.  The type and setup of the sound system is unique for different uses.  Do not rely on the in-house system as they are designed for a single person to be speaking to a group of quiet attendees.  You don’t want your attendees at a fundraising event to be quiet; you want them to have fun! A professional sound system can increase the quality of your benefit auction event immeasurably and is well worth the cost. Bidders need to know exactly what is going on in order to feel confident enough to bid.   Do not take the risk of losing any revenues at your benefit auction due to an insufficient sound system.

Can you assist with the planning of the benefit auction fundraiser?

One of the most important event services that we provide is professional charity auction fundraiser consultation.   We are here to help you from the beginning of the planning stages, to the debriefing meeting after your charity event is over. Creative techniques allow us to maximize your potential revenues in your silent auction and live auction.  We can help you to design fun themes, recruit auction donors, acquire the best donated auction items, design your raffle, perform charity auction evaluations, promote guest development, and much more.

Can Champion Fundraising Auctions be involved in the silent auction?

We can provide silent auction tips and tricks to maximize revenues.  Some of these include silent auction forms, procurement of donated items, silent auction layout, themes for your silent auction, and much more.  Additional Ringmen from our company can encourage bidding on silent auctions and may be an added feature that you might consider.

Our non-profit organization is on a very limited budget. What kind of charity auction services can you provide?

The charity auction services that Champion Fundraising Auctions provides do not cost your non-profit organization anything, but instead make you money. There are many creative ways of collecting the charity auction fees without affecting the revenue from your benefit event. We understand that your main goal is to make money at your charity auction event and we are here to help you do just that. If you feel like your benefit auction event is on a small budget, let us work with you and make it a large source of revenue. In fact, many annual charity auction events that start out small-scale increase in size every year once they start using our professional charity auctioneer services.

Do you provide other auction services besides just being our charity auctioneer?

Yes, we can not only provide the best quality Charity Auctioneer, we also can provide Auction Floor Staff, Auction Evaluation, Event Planning, Staff Training, Acquisition Advice, Guest Development, and Income Generation.

Should we use professional bid-spotters or floor staff at our charity auction?

Our professional charity auction Ringmen are highly trained and entertaining salespeople whose goal is to encourage the bidding not only during the live charity auction, but the silent auction as well. Most benefit auctions see dramatic increases in their revenues with professional Ringmen to assist the charity auctioneer. Before the live charity auction even begins, our floor staff is busy managing the silent auction items. They have the ability to promote items that are not receiving the attention and the bids that they deserve. The floor staff will ensure that the silent auction runs smoothly and closes correctly.

During the live charity auction, professional Ringmen increases the excitement and energizes the crowd. Some nonprofit organizations attempt to do these jobs themselves, forcing their staff and volunteers to be working during the charity auction. When our Ringmen are on the job, the nonprofit’s staff and volunteers no longer have to work and usually start buying at the fundraising auction, increasing the number of bidders.

Is it okay to have a friend or celebrity act as the benefit auctioneer?

The best way to generate more revenue and make your event more enjoyable for your audience is to hire a professional charity auctioneer. Getting a “free” local celebrity instead of spending money on a professional benefit auctioneer sounds great in the planning stages, but the money that is left on the table at the fundraising event is often not considered and cannot be calculated. The cost of the professional fundraising auctioneer will be well worth the financial rewards and will greatly increase the chances for your buyers to return to your next benefit auction event. If you are going to invest the time and money to host a fundraising auction event, do not make the mistake of cutting corners on the most important job of the night. It is your one chance, maybe for another year, to generate the funds you need.

What is a key component to a fundraiser auction that is often forgotten by well-intentioned auction committee members?

While there are many “key components” to a benefit auction the one that is often forgotten is the payment for the benefit auctioneer and fundraiser auction consultation services.  There are several options to considering regarding the payment:

No Charge To The Nonprofit Organization Plan

Most nonprofit organizations favor the buyer’s premium option.  Your organization spends nothing for the costs of the charity auctioneer and consultation services.  The buyer’s premium is paid through the winning bidders. This effectively funds the charity auctioneer and auction consulting services.  This way your nonprofit organization keeps one hundred percent of the money earned!

Flat Fee & Incentive Plan

Another option is a flat fee plus an incentive.  Larger nonprofits or established annual charity auctions may have an amount set aside in their budget to cover the cost of the benefit auctioneer and consultation services.   Sometimes there are specific donors that are willing to sponsor your fundraising auction and cover the cost of the charity auctioneer and consultation services.  The incentives beyond the flat fee help to motivate the charity auctioneer to maximize the revenues received at your fundraising auction.

Portion Of The Earnings Plan

Many nonprofits prefer to pay their charity auction fees through the profit made from the actual charity event.  In this circumstance, a percentage of the benefit auction proceeds will go to cover the cost of the charity auctioneer and auction consulting services.


Is a virtual fundraising gala right for your organization?

The virtual live gala is the next best thing to being there. This is a live party one where your philanthropists are sheltered in place and we’re all communicating in real time. Live chatting, live bidding, and your live auctioneer, Scott Robertson, entertaining you, just as you’re accustomed.

Cameras, lighting, backend support for the stream and rebroadcast will help you through the whole process from planning to event completion. And thanks to technology, we can work with you no matter your geographic location. Virtual live fundraising galas are an awesome idea that work, and we have a proven track record of success. With our collaboration, we can make it work for you.

What is a virtual fundraising auction?

The concept of the Virtual Gala is a brand-new topic hatched when social gathering was no longer allowed due to COVID-19. Charities needed a way to gather supporters virtually, entertain them, present their message, and motivate people to give in the comfort of their own homes. In short, the charities need fundraising to survive and serve their clients. Your supporters believe in your charity and we needed a creative solution to allow them to give and or bid on auction items to support your charity.

We were there at the beginning, pioneering fundraising techniques that are new standards across the country for virtual galas. This cutting-edge thinking is allowing NPOs to thrive instead of throwing up their hands to cancel their event. We are the experienced Virtual Fundraising Gala experts.

My NPO usually holds our gala in the Fall/Winter, what are our options during the pandemic?

What if our advisory board is hesitant to ask our supporters to donate during COVID-19?

I understand, I’ve been a professional fundraising auctioneer for over 25 years working with countless charities and more countless board members. And what I have found is that board members traditionally are afraid of making a mistake which they feel will reflect negatively on them personally. As a former board member at not-for-profit organization I understand their concerns, but I find this excuse short-sighted.  The problem is without fundraising the charity may not be able to survive.  Board members who are afraid of the optics of asking people for money are focused on the wrong thing. They should be focused on what the charity can do to endure through these troubling times raise the money stay sustainable; that’s the answer.

What if our charity does not have the virtual technology to host a virtual gala?

But actually you do! You have a phone, you have a computer, and you have iPhones for recording virtual videos. See what you want to do is that you want to bring our team in, which is a production company, that can handle all those details for you. As long as you have a computer to write scripts, to build PowerPoint presentations, etc. then you give it to the production company and they turn it into one smooth flowing event. You don’t have to produce the virtual gala, you just have to help provide the elements needed, give it to the production company, give it to me and we’ll all be successful together.

Why do we need a virtual gala, can't we just put our auction items in an online auction and people will give?

Well, the short answer to that is yes; if you put your auction items online people will buy them. The problem is…for how much? See, a typical silent auction item on a national survey says that they’ll donate between thirty to thirty five possibly forty percent of the fair market value. The reason you need a virtual gala is to get all your supporters gather together virtually, digitally to support your cause. Get them excited get them fired up and then when you have your live auction items during your virtual gala our studies show that they’re gonna bring in 90%, 100%, 110% maybe way more than that and it’s all because of the focus that you were able to put on that virtual gala. So, can you put them online and earn 30 to 35 percent yes but, the question truly is will it be enough to sustain your charity? Virtual galas focus your supporters to give in a meaningful way.

Can we just ask our supporters to make donations to our organization and eliminate the hassle and expense of a virtual gala?

The short answer once again is yes you can. The problem is…will it work? Here’s what I find; there’s a lot of organizations that had to cancel their gala and they’re like look we’re just gonna ask our supporters to donate to our organization. Then when I checked with them a couple of weeks later and asked how they did they’re shaking their head saying, “we got about 20% of how much we needed.” See the virtual gala brings everyone together motivated to support your mission. If you just make the ask it just doesn’t work very efficiently. The same reason that you host a traditional fundraising gala is the same reason you host a virtual fundraising gala. You want to gather everyone together and get people to bid and support the organization as a collective group. Not one or two by asking them for donations. If you can ask people for donations and they’ll donate you the money, perfect! You do eliminate the hassle and expense, the problem is in the not-for-profit world this usually doesn’t happen. Give a virtual gala a try. I’m willing to bet you’ll be glad you did.

Our supporters are typically over 60, will they feel comfortable using their smartphone to bid?

The answer is yes. I heard that same question 10 years ago when we first started using mobile bidding devices. If they own a smartphone, they know how to use their smartphone. Send them the link they need, let them sign in and let them go to work. If you have a donor that is uncomfortable, make that call, talk to that donor, and help them to bid if that’s necessary. The reality is we all have smartphones, might as well put them to work.

Our regular fundraising auctioneer is nice and really funny, why shouldn't we use them for our virtual gala?

You know, in the fundraising auctioneer world there’s a lot of different skill sets. In the virtual auctioneer world there is a huge list of skill sets that have to be involved in order to be successful. So, what I find is yes I’m an on-screen talent for virtual galas but really what I am is I’m the person that orchestrates all the elements that come together to make an efficient, effective and entertaining virtual gala. I’ve got hundreds of hours of figuring out how to make all this work. If your fundraising auctioneer is a nice personality, funny and great that’s all good but who’s gonna fill in the blanks for all the other information that’s needed? There’s only one way to get experience and that’s to be actively involved. If your fundraising auctioneer doesn’t have virtual experience but wants to give it a try, chances are you need to go with the pro that knows.

What equipment will the supporters need to be able to participate?

Well, at the current status of virtual gala technology, which is rapidly improving, it takes two pieces of equipment. First, you have to have your laptop or smart TV to be able to view the broadcast, and then you’ll need a smartphone, or mobile bidding device, in order to place the bids on the items. Now you can toggle back and forth on your laptop, or you can even watch it and toggle back and forth on your smartphone. But for most people to be comfortable you’re gonna need a smart TV or laptop; either one works just fine, and a mobile bidding device which is your smartphone. So, it’s really simple for your supporters and I almost guarantee everyone has this equipment in place in their home.