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Where in the program should we hold our live auction?

May 17th, 2015

One of the single most important factors for the success of your event is timing. You could have done everything perfectly. You could have held months of committee meetings, have arranged for a great venue, decorated a beautiful room and acquired great auction items, but if there is no one there to bid the results will be less than desirable. We recently had 4 similar events in the same venue, 2 had a buffet style dinner, and 2 had a sit down dinner. The first of the two with the buffet had a plated salad; the guests came in from the cocktail hour/silent auction. The chairs welcomed their guests, there was a short and compelling presentation and we immediately went into the live auction and emotional appeal. Then the buffet lines were open, the band stated playing and the guests mingled and danced for the rest of the evening. The results, best year ever, focused group, and great bidding! The guests were not starving, there were passed hors-d’oeuvre during the cocktail hour and the plated salad kept them occupied. 2nd event same venue, same buffet, guests came in, buffet  lines were open, an hour later after everyone finally settles in for  a long program, too many speakers covering the same topic, and by the time the live auction started a large percentage of the room was empty. The take away ……You cannot reach your goals with a half empty room. Friends, timing is everything, which includes start time of event, length of cocktail hour /silent auction, start of live and placement of emotional appeal. Work with your professional auctioneer on your timeline, it is one of the most important aspects of your event. In the next blog we will cover timing for sit down dinners.

If you have any questions about when and where to hold your live auction next event  feel free to call us anytime at 561-955-9414.

About the Author: Neil Saffer, president and lead auctioneer of Saffer & Company Benefit Auctions has been helping non profit organizations with record breaking events since 1990.

The power of incorporating a mission video into your timeline

February 19th, 2015

A well written, well produced and professionally edited video right before your fund a need can be an extremely effective fundraising tool. Picture this. Your guests have just enjoyed a wonderful cocktail hour. They have had an opportunity to mingle, eat, drink, and bid on silent auction items.
They have entered the ballroom, and been welcomed by your chair people. The live auction has been animated and your auctioneer has done his or her job of getting paddles up for your cause. You now have 50-100 guests that have raised their paddles and only a dozen or so have been able to contribute to the cause. The auctioneer asks the audience to turn its attention to the screens. A powerful 2 1/2 minute video comes on sharing facts, statistics and a human story of how the people in that room can change lives and make a difference. The lights come up and there on the stage next to the auctioneer is the person who was just featured in the video. The auctioneer starts the ask and everyone in the room becomes a part of this changing lives initiative.
We have worked with Bob Buruchian (bob@playimage.com) at Palyimage Communications www.playimage.com on many events . Bob and his team are masterful at creating perfect pieces and truly understand the mission and it’s importance. These videos also have become tools for our clients to use all year long in their fundraising efforts.

If you have any questions about how to best use a mission moment video at your next fundraising auction feel free to call us anytime at 561-955-9414.

About the Author: Neil Saffer, president and lead auctioneer of Saffer & Company Benefit Auctions has been helping non profit organizations with record breaking events since 1990.

 

It’s Auction Day….Let the professionals do their jobs!

November 3rd, 2014

You’ve researched the best caterers, AV professionals, videographer, and auctioneer. You’ve scheduled the event, invited the guests and the time has come to share the mission of your organization and raise the funds that you need to accomplish it. Your job on event day is to welcome your guests, thank them and see that they have the best possible time. So often I see fundraising professionals try to micromanage and second guess the experts with less than optimal results. Come the day of the event, have the confidence in the team that you have assembled and let them do the job they have been hired for in the way that they know best.

If you have any questions about how to best practices on auction day feel free to call us anytime at 561-955-9414.

About the Author: Neil Saffer, president and lead auctioneer of Saffer & Company Benefit Auctions has been helping non profit organizations with record breaking events since 1990.

 

The Importance of a Benefit Auction Wrap Up Meeting

October 20th, 2014

 

I can not stress enough the importance of a wrap up meeting as a tool to analyze and improve your event, your guests experience and your bottom line year after year. You should not wait more than a week to review what worked well and what could have been done better. It can be a casual get together at a home with refreshments to celebrate to event, thank the committee and share your thoughts or a more formal meeting in a board room but it is important to get your comments, ideas and suggestions recorded along with action items for improvement. Things to discuss include logistics, what ran smoothly and what could have been improved?,Sound, AV, lighting during the silent auctions? Check in and Check out? How where the displays?, the program books and the timeline? Make your own list prior too the wrap up meeting and invite the committee to share their observations. Take the positive comments into account as you plan next years event.

If you have any questions about how to make the most of your benefit auction wrap up meeting feel free to call us anytime at 561-955-9414.

About the Author: Neil Saffer, president and lead auctioneer of Saffer & Company Benefit Auctions has been helping non profit organizations with record breaking events since 1990.

 

Benefit Auction Committee Meeting Best Practices

October 6th, 2014

Respect that your committee members time is valuable. Prepare an agenda and stick to it. Appoint subcommittee chair people and have all subcommittee meeting work done in subcommittee meetings. At the General auction committee meetings have the subcommittee chair people give brief reports and updates on what has happened since the last meeting. For example do not spend hours in a general meeting talking about invitation graphics, colors, fonts and images. Have the invitation subcommittee chairperson present the finished product or possibly allow the group to pick from two options. Keep committed work in committee. .Another example have the dinner committee meet with the caterer, get quotes, have tastings and present the menu at the general meeting. If an auction committee member is interested in procurement, or menu, or decor or invitations, they should join and participate in that subcommittee. General meetings should start with a kickoff meeting or party 6 months out. Monthly meetings should be held until 2 months out and then bi weekly and weekly as needed. Keep general meeting to one hour or less, and your volunteers will return year after year. Preparedness equals success.

If you have any questions about Benefit Auction  Committee best practices free to call us anytime at 561-955-9414.

About the Author: Neil Saffer, president and lead auctioneer of Saffer & Company Benefit Auctions has been helping non profit organizations with record breaking events since 1990.

The Importance of a Professional Sound System

September 22nd, 2014

I can not over emphasize the importance of a professional sound system and a professional sound technician for your fundraising auction. You do everything perfect, have a great audience, a powerful message, an incredible dinner, an open bar serving the best beverages and book the best venue in town. You can hire the best benefit auctioneer but if your audience can not clearly and loudly hear your speakers, your auctioneer and your message what do you think the effect will be on your bottom line? Band sound, DJ sound and particularly house sound are not optimal for voice. Hire a professional, make sure they understand your goals, have them walk the venue and speak to your auctioneer long before your event, have a sound check prior to your program and you and your organization will benefit. If you have any questions about sound at your next auction call me anytime at 561-955-9414

If you have any questions about sound systems for your next fundraising auction feel free to call us anytime at 561-955-9414.

About the Author: Neil Saffer, president and lead auctioneer of Saffer & Company Benefit Auctions has been helping non profit organizations with record breaking events since 1990.

 

 

 

The Importance of Audience Development In Your Fundraising Auction

September 8th, 2014

I can not overstate the importance of strategic audience development. So many organizations spend countless hours on the program, the decor, the menu and precious little on this key component to success. This is a critical fundraising mistake and can have severe consequences. An auction without the right people in the seats will suffer from lower giving during the event itself and loss of future philanthropic support. It is crucial to fill your venue with guests who have the capacity to bid and give generously at your auction beyond just buying a ticket to your gala. Post auction follow up with these donors who are now familiar with your cause and mission and have already “bought in” will help your organization to grow year after year. Cultivate these relationships and turn bidders into long term donors. Invite your generous bidders to become more deeply involved in your organization. Remember the first rule of fundraising: “People give to people – not causes.” Create an “Audience Development Team” identify, invite and cultivate guests who have means and influence to generously support you before, during and even after your fundraising  auction.

If you have any questions about audience development and how it relates to your fundraising auction call me anytime at 561-955-9414

 

What Should I Expect From A Professional Fundraising Auctioneer?

August 25th, 2014

Many non profits,executive directors and committee chairs know that they need to hire a professional auctioneer but are not sure what the role of the auctioneer is. The days of a car or cattle auctioneer showing up at the local fundraiser 5 minutes before the event, jumping up on the stage calling bids and leaving are long gone. Fundraising is an art and a science and a large part of  many organizations entire budgets is made at the annual auction. A professional benefit auctioneer will get to know your organization and your event. He or she will have an understanding of your audience, your donors and their propensity to give long before the event. Your auctioneer may attend committee meetings, help to motivate your committee members, help decide which auction items belong in the live, silent or other and suggest additional revenue generating components to your event. Your auctioneer should be an integral part of your team, help with the timeline,help to set goals and work with you on ways to exceed them. Your auctioneer should interface with the venue and Audi Visual  professionals to make sure that your event goes as smoothly and in turn is as successful as possible. There is no room for mistakes of any kind at your event. A professional benefit auctioneer will help with the script, timeline and the myriad of other items that make up a winning fundraising auction.

If you have any questions about how a professional fundraising auctioneer acn help your organization call us anytime at 561-955-9414!

 

About the Author: Neil Saffer, president and lead auctioneer of Saffer & Company Benefit Auctions has been helping non profit organizations with record breaking events since 1990.

 

Selling Puppies at Fundraising Auctions.

August 11th, 2014

One of the most common questions that we get asked is “what is the best way to sell puppies at benefit auctions” My wife and I are dog lovers and over the last 25 years have had many rescue dogs and currently have 2 as part of our family. There is nothing more fun than selling a puppy at a fundraising auction. We have worked for many animal rescue organizations and humane societies over the years and and we have sold many puppies but there are “best practices” associated with selling a puppy at auction.

#1 Pre-publicise that you will have a dog at your auction, a dog should not be an impulse buy. Let your guests be prepared to study the breed, discuss it with their family  and make sure that it is a good fit for their home and family.

#2 If the puppy is donated by a humane society or an animal rescue organization and they have a system for qualifying the prospective pet owners, make sure to disclose that as the organization will often not allow the pet to go home with the high bidder that evening.

#3 A puppy can be very distracting, once the puppy comes out and everyone sees it the attention goes away from the stage and focuses on the puppy. We have found that showing the puppy around during the cocktail hour/silent auction, then keeping hi/her safely away during the live auction and then selling the pet as the lats live  item to be quite effective.

#4 Check your local laws regarding selling a puppy at auction.These may vary according to state and city or town.

 

If you have any questions about selling puppies at auction feel free to call us anytime at 561-955-9414.

About the Author: Neil Saffer, president and lead auctioneer of Saffer & Company Benefit Auctions has been helping non profit organizations with record breaking events since 1990.

Timing is everything!!

July 28th, 2014

I can not overemphasize the importance of timing. You can do everything right leading up to your event, fill the seats, get the greatest auction items in the world, have the best food and entertainment but if your timeline is off, your event will suffer. The timing for a a fundraiser is like choreographing a dance. How long is the cocktail hour? when do you close the silent auction? When does the chairperson do the welcome? Where do we place the live auction and emotional appeal. Everyone of these elements along with where they are placed in the event is crucial to your bottom line and success. I have seen bottom lines suffer when a well meaning guest gets up at the wrong time and makes a pledge and challenge other guests to join in taking all the momentum and excitement out of the auction and emotional appeal. The buildup to a big “ask” is an art and should have a well planned out and professionally executed approach.   If you have any questions about auction timelines feel free to call us any time at 561-955-9414.

About the Author: Neil Saffer, president and lead auctioneer of Saffer & Company Benefit Auctions has been helping non profit organizations with record breaking events since 1990.

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Upcoming Events

In Jacob’s Shoes 7th Annual Celebration “Every Sole Counts” April 20, 2017 5:30PM Boca West Country Club

100% of the proceeds benefit In Jacob's Shoes, a non-profit charity formed in loving memory of Jacob S. Zweig. The mission of In Jacob's Shoes is to provide shoes, backpacks and school supplies to local children in need. We believe the right pair of shoes can change a child's life. [...]

Derby Day Auction to Benefit LoveWay Equestrian April 21st 2017 at The Northern Indiana Event Center

Please join us for this exciting event with a derby theme. Derby Day will be taking place at a new venue this year! We are excited to announce that it will be at the Northern Indiana Event Center. The night will include live and silent auctions, derby inspired decorations and food, music, and more. Attendees dress in their best derby attire. [...]

Boca Helping Hands Monopoly Tournament and Auction

This is Boca Helping Hands major fundraising event of the year as guests vie for the BHH title of, MONOPOLY® Game Champion. Enjoy the tasty hors d'oeuvres and Dinner while checking out our Silent and Live Auction. There is also Casino Gaming for our guests to enjoy. Have fun as our DJ mixes the music for your dancing and listening pleasure. All proceeds from this event benefit Boca Helping Hands, a 501 (c) (3) organization named Charity Navigator 4 Star award winner for the 11th consecutive year. [...]

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Ian’s Friends Foundation

 Neil,

I want to thank you for your ongoing support of Ian’s Friends Foundation! It was such an honor to have you join us Saturday night. I am ecstatic to report that our event raised over $900,000 for pediatric brain tumor research! It is because of YOU that we are able to make a difference.  On behalf of all of the children battling brain tumors, thank you for your time! Your support is critical in sponsoring the research so desperately needed to find a cure for pediatric brain tumors.

We hope to work with you again in the future. With gratitude,

 

- Kathy OrtstadtExecutive Director Ian’s Friends Foundation

JFS

Just wanted to tell you how impressed Pamela and I were with your work at the JFS Annual Dinner.  You really were responsible for making the auctions a financial success … and at the same time, made it fun for the participants & onlookers. 

Any way … didn’t want to let the weekend pass w/o letting you know you really helped make the evening a success.  I estimated you took in almost $200,000 during the Live Auction … and I know there was a good deal of activity on the timed auction items, as well.  See you soon ! ~ bob

ROBERT S WEINROTH

 

- Peter ParkerManager

Place of Hope

Neil – you are a tremendous part of the team. You do a superb job and really bring a level of excitement and fun to the process and the evening! Thanks so much for being so very good at what you do! We also beleive that God brings each person into the fold to accomplish His plan. You are certainly in that fold!

Charles L. Bender III
Executive Director PLACE OF HOPE

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Ruth Rales Jewish Family Services

Thanks so much for last night.  What an amazing evening!!!  needless to say, it was a STELLAR CASH CALL!!!  We couldn’t have done it without you.
Thanks again!!! Love you guys!!!

Jill Waldman,

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Sevices

-

American Cancer Society-Orlando

Thank you so much Neil! You were fantastic! Very nice to meet you and your wife. You are the best auctioneer we have ever had. I am very happy how everything turned out. It was a great event and I think it will just keep growing bigger. Thanks again!

- Brandi HolstenAuction Chair ACS Cattle Barons Ball Orlando

PARC

“Neil Saffer knows how to get a crowd involved!  He is articulate and educated on the products for auction.  He knows how to speak to the crowd without being demanding or over the top.  He was able to make our auction a success and bring critical fund-raising dollars to PARC.”

- Sue BuchholtzPresident & CEO of PARC in St. Petersburg, FL

Chabad of East Boca raton

Now I can believe that miracles can happen!
You were a very big part of this successful event. Your professionalism is apparent in your demeanor.
I think you could actually get water from the rock! I had no intention of buying anything, but as you know I did.
Neil, it is a pleasure to meet, and get to know you. You are a talented person.
Thank you so much, look forward to seeing you soon,

 

 

- Herb RaiffeChabad of East Boca Raton

Ruth Rales Jewish Family Services

Thanks so much for last nite. What an amazing evening!!! needless to say, it was a STELLAR CASH CALL!!! We couldn’t have done it without you.

Thanks again!!! Love you guys!!!

 

 

- Jill Waldman,Norman and Ruth Rales Jewish Family Services

Unity School of Delray Beach

After each one of our annual auctions, we come back to  Unity School and rave about the ever fantastic auctioneer,  Neil Saffer. Year after year you bring fun and excitement to the night!  Your sense of humor and joy of raising money for our school ensures that each one of our auction events surpasses the last in both profitability and entertainment.  Not only do you amuse our donors but you cajole them into happily opening wide their wallets to support our mission. Please don’t ever give up your auction career because we would be hard pressed to replace your amazing gift for fund raising on the auction podium. Thank you for all that you have done and continue to do for our school. “

- Diane Shawcross Unity SchoolDevelopment Director

Catholic Charities Diocese of Palm Beach

Thank YOU Neil! It always is a treat to work with a professional who brings so many unique ideas to the table. Thank you for everything you contribute and do for us!! Until next year!

- Janelle HoffmanDevelopment Coordinator Catholic Charities Diocese of Palm Beach