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Benefit Auction
Photo courtesy of Bill Wills Photography
hen contemplating a fund-raising auction, the question of retaining an auctioneer is often limited to finding one who will merely agree to call for bids. The five-part professional services CMBA provides are far different from that approach. In fact, we consider them - a cut above!

Groups using our services will confirm that they receive greater value from this approach, and that the return on their investment is outstanding. We would be pleased to work with you to adapt the CMBA professional services to your requirements.

I. PRE - AUCTION CONSULTATION
Designed to share with your auction committee the highly successful fund-raising auction ideas we have developed and tested.

Pre-Auction Consultation:

During the planning phase of your auction, you will receive professional consulting services relating to all aspects of planning for a successful goods and services auction. You may contact your CMBA consultant as often as you like by using our toll-free 1-800 telephone number. Your consultant may attend meetings if his/her schedule permits and if you assume all air or long distance ground travel expenses, if any. You are encouraged to ask any questions concerning your auction and to review your auction plans with your consultant.

Specific Topics:

Your consultant will share with you the CMBA approach to fund-raising auctions, as well as, the CMBA techniques, thoughts and ideas, which have made other auctions successful. In addition, your consultant will caution you about ideas other auction committees thought would be helpful, but which actually were counter-productive. We firmly believe that the success of an auction is assured during the planning phase of the event.

Auction Planning Packet:

You will receive a CMBA packet of information about how to plan a fund-raising auction. Filled with fund-raising auction ideas, techniques and approaches, this packet includes a planning calendar, volunteer job descriptions, an auction model budget, sample acquisition letters, sample auction invitations, sample auction rules, sound and lighting specifications and much more.

Acquisition and Attendance Sessions:

Your CMBA consultant will conduct an acquisition rally to share with your committee what items are selling well at auction and how to acquire them. Also, a session is included, which focuses on who are the best buyers and how to get them to attend your event.

Live Auction Selling Order:

Your CMBA consultant will work with you to implement our special method of ordering your items in the live auction. This live auction order technique has resulted in substantial additional earnings for our clients.

Authorized Computer Software Representatives:

To increase efficiency and reduce volunteer and staff burnout, several computer companies have introduced products specifically designed to manage fund-raising auctions. CM Benefit Auctions consultants, who closely monitor developments in this industry, can recommend the appropriate software for your organization.

II. AUCTION DAY SERVICES
Designed to ensure that your plans have been implemented as you intended. Also ensures that everything is ready for your guests when the doors open.

Sound and Lighting Check:

Many groups underestimate the importance of the sound system at an auction. If guests cannot hear and understand the auctioneer, they simply will not bid. Your CMBA auctioneer will arrive at the auction site approximately one hour before the doors open to conduct a sound and lighting check. At your request, CMBA will furnish written material on sound system requirements and lighting specifications.

Room Arrangement and Layout:

When your CMBA auctioneer arrives, he will review the room arrangements, stage conditions and overall layout to ensure that your plans have been implemented properly. The registration area, funds collection area, food and beverage service area and all other event activity areas will be reviewed.

Volunteers Briefing:

Although CM Benefit Auctions provides staff for many of the functions auction night, volunteers are responsible for certain tasks. Particularly important is the proper functioning of the volunteer spotters for the live auction.

Mixing with Prospective Bidders:

Your CMBA auctioneer wants to socialize with prospective bidders during the social hour and silent auction. Your CMBA auctioneer wants to acquaint himself with as many prospective bidders as possible and to identify which items are of interest to them.

III. AUCTIONEERING SERVICES
Designed to make your auction fun, exciting and enjoyable to attend, which will maximize revenue and build a solid foundation for future auctions.

Silent Auction:

Your CMBA auctioneer likes to count down and close any silent auction sections that close prior to the live auction. The auctioneer will stimulate the bidding in these silent auction sections and this interaction allows guests to become familiar with your CMBA auctioneer. We utilize a special method of bidding in the silent auction that maximizes silent auction revenue by motivating your auction guests to bid. Your consultant will provide and prepare these special forms. By preparing the silent auction bid forms, CMBA completes a labor intensive task usually performed by staff or volunteers.

Live Auction:

Your CMBA auctioneer will conduct the live auction, taking care to ensure that bidders know how to bid and are recognized when they are successful. The object is to make the live auction fun and exciting for the guests. The attendees must be made to feel that they are the stars. The greater the fun and excitement, the higher the revenue, and the greater the probability that the bidders will return for your next auction. CMBA strongly suggests that the live auction be kept to 2 minutes per item, so the event maintains the bidders' interest.
With your approval, your CMBA auctioneer will conduct two exciting and profitable promotions during the live auction. Over the years, CMBA has refined the revenue generating concepts of Fund-An-Item and Bidding Frenzy. These two promotions can substantially increase the revenue at your auction with minimal work by staff or volunteers. Ask your consultant for details.

Raffle and Door Prizes:

These duties are generally assigned to an emcee or to others, but may be included in your CMBA auctioneer's services by mutual agreement.

Immediate Market Testing:

Your CMBA auctioneer likes to speak with many guests after the auction to thank them for attending and bidding, and to see what they liked about the auction. The auctioneer also asks guests what changes they would suggest to improve the event. A summary of this immediate feedback is noted in your written critique.

IV. COMPUTERIZED CHECK-OUT
Designed to ensure that guests are served quickly and efficiently through the payment and check-out process. 

Live Auction Clerk:

Staff members who are trained to listen to the auctioneer's chant are provided to record the high bid and bidder's number on the live auction invoice. This person also acts as a spotter for the auctioneer. A volunteer runner takes the live auction invoice to the invoicing station at check-out.

Computerized Invoicing and Cashiers:

One of the most difficult aspects of a benefit auction is the collection of funds at the end of the event. CMBA will provide trained personnel to enter the live and silent auction data into the networked computer system. When a guest is ready to check-out, an invoice is printed at the computer station. Then the CMBA cashiers collect the amount due. At the end of the evening, your CMBA consultant will reconcile the auction and turn over the proceeds and reports to your organization. By the end of the event, the organization knows exactly how much revenue was generated from the live and silent auction, what each item sold for, who bought each item, what items did not sell, each buyers' invoice total and who did not pay for their purchases, if applicable.

V. POST-AUCTION CRITIQUE
Designed to provide information to refine your next auction by identifying what went well and what can be improved. 

Critique Review:

CMBA offers a post-auction formal review or critique of the auction. In this critique, we list things well done at the auction and aspects that could be improved at the next event. You may take notes at this critique and pass these notes along to the next chairperson of the auction. Consequently, the next chairperson has the benefit of your experience, so that the following auction will be even more successful.