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Top Charity Auctioneers: Your Guide to Successful Fundraising Events

Written by
Jaclyn Risser
April 3, 2024
5 mins
auctioneer pointing to an attendee

Wondering how charity auctioneers can elevate your fundraiser? Their expertise extends beyond commanding the room—they’re pivotal in securing higher bids and fostering donor generosity. This guide dives into selecting the right auctioneer for your charity event and leveraging their skills for maximum impact. Discover the difference a seasoned charity auctioneer can make in meeting your fundraising goals.

Key Takeaways

  • Professional auctioneers have been shown to significantly boost revenue at charity auctions, with clients experiencing a 109% increase in live auction and paddle raise segments, demonstrating a substantial return on investment.
  • The efficacy of an auctioneer lies not only in their ability to entertain and engage the audience but also in their specialized fundraising training, knowledge of the nonprofit’s mission, and ability to motivate generous giving, thereby elevating the fundraising impact.
  • Choosing the right auctioneer involves considering factors such as full-time versus part-time dedication, alignment with organizational mission, audience engagement style, and additional support such as bid spotters, all contributing to the success of a charity auction.

Evaluating the Value of a Professional Auctioneer

Professional auctioneer conducting a charity auction

The significance of charity auctioneers in fundraising auctions is immense. Their expert knowledge and skills can significantly enhance your fundraising event’s success.

Indeed, clients using auctioneers have seen a 109% revenue increase in their live auction and paddle raise segments over the prior year’s results, with an average cost of $2,000. Yes, you read that right - a whopping 109% increase! This statistic alone underlines the value of investing in fundraising auctioneer services.

A professional auctioneer brings a unique blend of skills and expertise to your charity auction. They:

  • Engage with attendees effectively, leveraging their charisma and confidence to inspire higher bids
  • Drive up the total amounts raised, making your event more profitable
  • Play a crucial part in silent auction events, fostering an atmosphere conducive to generous giving

Their ability to raise as much money as possible, significantly more funds than their cost, makes non profits a valuable asset to your fundraising efforts.

However, to fully capitalize on the benefits of hiring charity auctioneers, it’s important to strategize for a positive return on investment. This involves making strategic decisions based on your charity auction’s specific needs and circumstances.

Ultimately, the choice of whether to invest in a professional auctioneer is one that should be guided by careful evaluation and planning.

An auctioneer auctioning off a piece of art

The Art of Raising Paddles: What Makes a Great Auctioneer

Having understood the importance of a professional auctioneer in charity auctions, it’s time to delve into the attributes of an exceptional auctioneer. A top auctioneer:

  • Knows how to keep the audience entertained and engaged - a key factor in encouraging bidding and maximizing revenue.
  • Leverages their personality and uses humor, sentiment, and strategic selling to work the crowd and coax higher bids.
  • Sparks competition and excitement among attendees.
A woman receiving an award for generosity

Psychology of Giving

But it’s not just about putting on a show. A great auctioneer has advanced training and specialization in fundraising, equipping them with the tools to convert auction items into significant funds. They’re not merely talking fast and taking bids; they’re effectively translating the value of each item into dollars for your cause.

Moreover, a truly effective auctioneer:

  • is thoroughly informed about the hosting organization’s mission
  • educates the audience and motivates generous donations
  • reinforces the purpose behind the event and the impact of each bid

This knowledge and skill set allows the fundraising auctioneers to provide successful and impactful fundraising auctioneer services, creating a profitable fundraising event that remains memorable.

So, next time you’re planning your live auction, remember - a great auctioneer doesn’t just raise paddles, they raise awareness, interest, and ultimately, more money.

Finding Your Perfect Match in Charity Auctioneering

Selection process for charity auctioneers

What To Look For

Selecting the ideal auctioneer for your live auction demands meticulous thought. After all, not all auctioneers are created equal. Full-time, fundraising auctioneers often bring more enthusiasm and success to charity auctions than those who work part-time. Their dedicated focus and extensive experience can significantly enhance the event’s outcome.

In addition to experience, you also want to ensure the auctioneer is well-versed with your organization’s mission. This not only allows them to deliver knowledgeably during the event but also offer substantial ideas for event improvement.

Evaluating an auctioneer’s style and audience engagement is also crucial. This can be done by watching videos of their past charity auctions or even attending a prospective auctioneer’s recent event to gain firsthand insight into their operational approach and crowd engagement tactics.

Ultimately, finding and selecting the perfect auctioneer involves a comprehensive understanding of the steps involved, from identifying qualifications to ensuring style alignment with event goals. Remember, the right auctioneer can make all the difference in the success of your next charity auction.

An auctioneer at a fundraising event

Beyond Event Gives: Diverse Auctioneer Options

Though Event Gives boasts a superb list of partner auctioneers, it’s important to acknowledge that the realm of professional auctioneering reaches further than our network. There’s a plethora of reputable options out there, each bringing a unique flair and expertise to fundraising events. These auctioneers are associated with organizations showcasing a broad spectrum of industry affiliations, providing event organizers with a diverse range of choices.


This diversity in auctioneer options empowers you to find the perfect fit for your charity auction. Whether it’s a professional who specializes in silent auction events, a master at live auctions, or an auctioneer who excels at online auctions, the right person is out there. So, explore, compare, and choose the best professional auctioneer for your next charity auction. After all, your event deserves nothing but the best.

Our Favorite Auctioneers

We work with some incredible auctioneers and hear first hand about the impact they make on nonprofit fundraising evens. We categorized the auctioneers by state they reside in, however, it is important to note that most if not all of our auctioneer partners travel anywhere in the United States.


Christie King
  • Christie King: Christie's polished auctioneering skills and ability to connect with donors make her auctions highly successful, as she effortlessly inspires generosity and raises significant funds for worthy causes.


Dan Newman
  • Dan Newman: Dan's innovative approach to auctioneering and his ability to adapt to any situation make him a top choice for fundraising events, as he consistently delivers exceptional results and exceeds expectations.


Jennifer Tersigni
  • Jennifer Tersigni: Jennifer's infectious energy and her talent for engaging audiences make her auctions stand out, as she effortlessly guides bidders through the bidding process with warmth and enthusiasm, ensuring successful fundraising outcomes every time.
Jessie Straight
  • Jessie Strait: Jessie's natural charisma and charm make his auctions memorable and highly successful, as he skillfully navigates the bidding process with a blend of energy and expertise.


Patrick Desmond
  • Patrick Desmond: Patrick's professionalism and his strategic approach to auctioneering make him a sought-after choice for fundraising events, as he expertly navigates the bidding process and drives impressive results with ease.


Ben Farrell
  • Ben Farrell: Ben's dynamic presence and quick wit command attention at any auction, as he effortlessly drives bids higher and ensures a fun and engaging experience for all attendees.
Scott Roberston
  • Scott Roberston: Scott's charismatic personality and his talent for entertaining audiences make him a favorite among donors, as he expertly guides bidders through the bidding process with humor and charm, ensuring successful fundraising outcomes.
John Harrison
  • John Harrison: John's extensive experience and his knack for building rapport with bidders make him a trusted and respected auctioneer, as he consistently delivers outstanding results and exceeds fundraising goals with his expert guidance.


Seth Weiner
  • Seth Weiner: Seth's innovative approach to auctioneering and his knack for engaging audiences make him a standout choice for fundraising events, as he creates memorable experiences and drives impressive results.


Ruth Ludwig Lind
  • Ruth Ludwig Lind: Ruth's passion for fundraising and her commitment to excellence shine through in every auction she conducts, as she skillfully engages audiences and inspires generosity with her warm and approachable demeanor.


Christine DiCarlo
  • Christine DiCarlo: Christine's professionalism and attention to detail shine through in every auction she conducts, as she skillfully guides bidders through the bidding process with precision and grace, ensuring maximum returns for her clients.
  • Carol Mckean: Carol's passion for philanthropy shines through in her auctioneering, where she effortlessly connects with bidders and maximizes fundraising potential with her infectious energy and strategic approach.

New Hampshire:

Ailie Byers
  • Ailie Byers: Ailie is a master at creating excitement and driving bids with her charismatic stage presence and impeccable timing, ensuring every auction is a resounding success.

North Carolina:

Matt Newsom
  • Matt Newsom: Matt's dynamic stage presence and his ability to captivate audiences make him a standout auctioneer, as he skillfully orchestrates bidding wars with flair and finesse, ensuring maximum returns for his clients.
Scott Matthews
  • Scott Matthews: Scott's exceptional communication skills and his ability to connect with audiences make him a standout auctioneer, as he effortlessly inspires generosity and drives bids to new heights with his engaging and dynamic style.
Lisa Jeffries
  • Lisa Jeffries: Lisa brings unparalleled enthusiasm and charisma to every auction, captivating audiences and driving bids to new heights with her dynamic style and keen sense of strategy.


Tony Wisely
  • Tony Wisely: Tony's expertise in auctioneering and his dedication to his craft make him a trusted partner for fundraising events, as he consistently delivers exceptional results and exceeds fundraising goals with his professionalism and skill.


  • Briana Kawaley: Briana's expertise in connecting with donors and her knack for storytelling make her auctions unforgettable experiences, as she effortlessly inspires generosity and drives bids to new heights.


  • Andy Keller: Andy's unparalleled ability to read the room and engage audiences makes him a standout auctioneer, consistently delivering record-breaking results with his dynamic and energetic style.

South Carolina:

Kat Leitner
  • Kat Leitner: Kat's passion for fundraising and her ability to connect with audiences on a personal level set her apart as a top auctioneer, consistently delivering outstanding results and exceeding fundraising goals.
Erin Kienzle
  • Erin Kienzle: Erin's passion for philanthropy and her ability to connect with donors on a personal level make her auctions highly successful, as she creates meaningful experiences that inspire generosity and drive significant fundraising outcomes.


TiWanna Kenney
  • TiWanna Kenney: TiWanna is a master at engaging crowds and creating an electrifying atmosphere at auctions, using her charm and expertise to ensure successful fundraising outcomes for her clients.
Micki Pickering
  • Micki Pickering: Micki's refined auctioneering skills and impeccable professionalism make her a top choice for any fundraising event, consistently delivering exceptional results and exceeding expectations.


Justin Swisher
  • Justin Swisher: Justin's professionalism and charm make him a favorite among clients, as he expertly orchestrates auctions with precision and finesse, ensuring maximum returns and delighted donors.

Preparing for Success: Setting Up Your Auctioneer

Meeting with an auctioneer before an auction

Upon choosing your auctioneer, the next step is to equip them for success. This involves providing them with all the necessary information, discussing event goals, and ensuring the proper resources are available. For instance, a master list of items available for bidding, a seating chart for strategic placement of bidders, and a full schedule of the event are all essential to ensure they can conduct a successful auction.

planning a fundraising event

Planning, Planning, And More Planning

Engaging in strategic discussions with the auctioneer to set specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound goals is also crucial. This includes briefing them on the fundraising target, engagement strategies, and the profile of the audience. Pre-event preparation should also include a soundcheck and familiarization with the audio-visual systems, as well as displaying organizational branding where the auctioneer will stand.

Supporting the auctioneer involves:

  • Ensuring efficient check-in and checkout processes
  • Providing the necessary team training and briefing on any unique aspects of the event
  • Remembering that the auctioneer not only facilitates the auction but also acts as a motivational speaker, inspiring attendees to give generously

So, set them up right, and watch them shine at your charity auction.


Harnessing Technology: The Role of Auction Software

In the current digital era, technology has an escalating role in charity auctions. Auction software can revolutionize the way you host auctions, streamlining bidding, engaging a wider audience, and enhancing the overall auction experience. High-quality auction software provides a platform to effectively showcase auction items with photos and detailed descriptions, engaging a wider audience.

Auctioneer at a charity event

Auctioneer Focused Features

Our software includes a teleprompter feature that allows auctioneers to see bids coming through online in an easy and fast method, enabling them to host the auction seamlessly. This is particularly helpful during live auctions where real-time bid tracking is essential for maintaining auction momentum and engagement.

Additionally, our zero latency feature ensures there is no delay with virtual and hybrid events during the bidding process. This is crucial for keeping the excitement high and allowing bidders to participate without the frustration of lag times that can dampen the competitive spirit of the auction.

Furthermore, our digital display screens can significantly enhance paddle raises by displaying donor names on screen when they donate. This personalized acknowledgment not only thanks contributors in a more meaningful way but also encourages others to participate when they see their peers contributing to the cause.

By harnessing technology and utilizing auction software non profits raise more money year after year after year.

Engaging New Donors and Cultivating Long-Term Relationships

Engaging new donors at a charity auction event

Fostering Recurring Donors

Charity auctions present a distinctive chance to attract new donors and nurture enduring relationships. This involves not just attracting these donors but also retaining their support and fostering their ongoing engagement. One proven strategy to surpass fundraising goals at charity auctions is identifying and integrating new donor plants, individuals invited to auctions to inspire giving by making significant initial donations and setting a high donation benchmark.

donors engaging at an event

But your engagement shouldn’t stop at the event. Employing detailed post-event thank-you strategies, hosting special appreciation events, and featuring donors in publications are effective in recognizing donors’ contributions. This could include immediate and personal acknowledgement, such as thank-you letters, donor walls, and personal phone calls, that enhance donors’ sense of value.

Furthermore, creating a strong connection with new donors is fostered by offering engagement options like advocacy, volunteering, and personalized communication. Transparency about the impact of donors’ contributions and soliciting their feedback demonstrates respect for their investment in the cause. And remember, maintaining communication and engagement with donors through social media platforms can help sustain their interest in your organization’s activities.

people bidding at an auction

Tailoring Your Auction Items for Maximum Appeal

The Strategy of Your Auction Items

The success of your event can be greatly influenced by the items up for auction. Therefore, selecting auction items that appeal to your audience’s interests and preferences is crucial.

These items are known to generate substantial interest and competitive bidding at charity auctions, making them the best silent auction choices.

guest picking up an item

To ensure maximum appeal, tailor auction items to align with the interests and spending habits of your audience. Make sure they appeal to their lifestyle preferences, price range, and desire for unique or trending items. Also, employ pricing strategies by:

  • Setting starting bids at 40-50% of the Fair Market Value (FMV)
  • Establishing bid increments at 10-15% of FMV
  • Offering a Buy-It-Now option at a significant premium for select items.

And don’t forget to learn from the past. Analyze past auction performances to better understand which items were most popular, which did not attract bids, and which exceeded their value. This data can inform and improve future item curation, ensuring your auction items continue to captivate your audience and maximize bidding.

woman bidding on her phone

The Impact of Virtual Events on Charity Auctions

Expanding Your Reach

The emergence of virtual events has deeply influenced charity auctions, ushering in novel opportunities and hurdles. Virtual auctions often lead to significant cost savings by eliminating expenses related to physical event logistics. Plus, they can reach and engage a larger audience, garnering greater participation.

auctioneer talking

Auctioneers are adapting to this new reality by using livestream systems with low latency and integrating mobile bidding options to enhance the online participation experience. Some tools that can be used include:

While virtual events may lack the physical proximity of traditional auctions, charities are innovating methods to foster a sense of community and togetherness online. By analyzing performance metrics and prioritizing attendee retention, organizations can expand their reach and resonate with new participants in the virtual event landscape.

art auction

Crafting a Memorable Experience for Attendees

A Positive Guest Experience Increases Funds Raised

The success of your charity auction hinges on creating a memorable experience for attendees. Auctioneers known for thorough preparation and creating excitement, along with a world-class entertainer quality, significantly enhance the guest experience. They engage not just the winning bidders but the entire audience, making the event enjoyable for all attendees.

Enhancing guest interaction can be achieved by actively engaging them with announcements, bid assistants, auction scoreboards, and live feeds, keeping fundraising engagement high throughout the event.

The closing of the auction is a particularly crucial moment that can create an atmosphere of excitement. This includes a flexible plan, fanfare, and adherence to the declared closing time, all contributing significantly to a memorable experience and final bids.

male auctioneer

The Financial Advantage: Understanding Auctioneer Fees and ROI

Is Hiring An Auctioneer Worth It?

Understanding auctioneer fees and assessing the return on investment (ROI) is crucial while planning your charity auction. Auctioneers may employ different pricing models including:

  • Flat rate
  • Base rate plus commission
  • Straight commission
  • Flat rate with bonuses

Understanding these fee structures can help maintain your project budget and evaluate the cost-effectiveness of hiring a professional auctioneer.

For instance, a flat fee ensures organizations can budget a known line item ahead of time, reducing uncertainty. On the other hand, performance-based fees ensure that the auctioneer’s earnings are less than the flat rate unless they outperform the previous year’s earnings, aligning their incentives with the organization’s fundraising success.

woman raising her paddle

Remember, engaging a professional charity auctioneer can dramatically increase fundraising results, potentially raising earnings by 200% to 400% over a non-professional equivalent. The use of ‘donor plants’ by professional auctioneers can create competitive energy and escalate bidding, contributing significantly to heightened fundraising revenue.

By setting clear goals concerning attendance, procurement of auction items, and earnings projections, organizations can ensure their auction is profitable.

In summary, professional auctioneers play an invaluable role in making charity auctions successful. Their expertise, charisma, and strategic approaches can significantly enhance the fundraising results. The right auctioneer can engage attendees, motivate generous giving, and create a memorable experience for all.

With the right planning, the use of technology, and a focus on engaging donors, your next charity auction has the potential to surpass all expectations. So, gear up, plan strategically, and leverage the power of professional auctioneering to take your charity auction to new fundraising heights.

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