The 3 Main Elements of a Virtual Fundraiser


Having a professional production crew with all of the necessary equipment (i.e. microphones, cameras, software, etc) is absolutely critical to your virtual fundraising success. Setting up a studio is also essential. You can use an official designated studio or you can create one. A green screen is a great tool to have so you can post different backgrounds during your broadcast (fund a need thermometer, pictures of live auction items being sold or logos of your great sponsors). Also important is a teleprompter screen just below the camera so that your presenter and auctioneer are always looking into the camera making that connection with your audience on the other end.

Online Bidding Software

Online bidding software is a must have so that your donors can give to your cause while they sit in the comfort of their homes and view your broadcast. There are many great companies that offer software that is designed for this very purpose. We love Greater Giving’s virtual event software! Your donors will be able to bid online in real time and give in your fund a need while all the accounting is handled seamlessly through the software.

Professional Auctioneer/Emcee

We urge you to utilize the services of a professional auctioneer that has virtual fundraising experience. He/she will be the face of your organization and you want to put out the best image you can so that people feel completely confident to give to your cause. A professional will be able to navigate your viewers through the virtual experience and properly encourage them to give.

Written by Mike Grigg of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services

Top 3 Things you should have Your Auctioneer do prior to your Fundraising Auction Event

If you aren’t using a professional benefit auctioneer at your fundraising event then you should be!  Here is a blog about why you should:  Hiring a Professional Fundraising Auctioneer & Consultant?

Once you have selected your professional fundraising auctioneer, here are the top 3 things he/she should be doing for you prior to the event date.

1.  Assisting with the creation of your event timeline.  This is the back bone of your entire event and a poorly organized timeline can spell disaster for the success of your fundraising event.

2.  Putting your live auction items in the most effective order so that funds can be maximized during the live auction.  There is a special formula for success based on the type of items, value of items and whether or not items can be sold multiple times or not.

3.  Organizing a winning fund a need.  This is the single most important fundraising aspect of your event and must be done at the right time with the right levels and flow.

Professional fundraising auctioneers are not just a person that gets up on stage and calls an auction.  We are highly trained professionals in the area of charity auction events.  We have seen it all and know what works and what doesn’t.  Select an auctioneer that you are comfortable with, based on their knowledge and experience, not on what their price is.  You will see great results with the correct person for your organization.

Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services

Should I use Mobile Bidding for the Fund a Need?

As mobile bidding becomes more an more popular at fundraising auction events we tend to get this question quite frequently: “Should we use mobile bidding for the fund a need?”  The simple answer is NO!

While mobile bidding is a spectacular way to maximize funds in your silent auction, it just does not perform well with a fund a need (aka: paddle raiser, fund a cause, etc.).  I want to reiterate that I am specifically writing about the fund a need aspect in regards to mobile bidding.

Here are the top three reasons why mobile bidding is not effective for your fund a need:

1.  People give to people and by having everyone looking at their phone screens the personal feeling is taken
out of the giving process and it becomes much less emotional.

2.  A fund a need is driven by a “community” effort to come together and fund a specific need of the organization.  The sense of community is taken out of the equation by everyone focused more on finding the correct button to push rather that engaging and cheering on each other to accomplish that goal.

3.  Accountability.  Mobile bidding is much more discreet and it allows people that would otherwise give a larger amount to “cheat” a bit and give less.  People are simply not as inclined to give big in such an impersonal way with no recognition.

Mobile bidding is a fantastic tool for the silent auction but please let your audience hold their bid paddles up high and show you what they can do when the spirit of giving is out in the open and they are united in funding that specific need.

Please visit to find out how we can take your fundraising event to the next level!

Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services

Giving in 2015 and involving Millennials

I recently attended a presentation sponsored by the Giving USA FOUNDATION entitled “The  Annual Report on Philanthropy for the year 2015”.

We were informed that 2015 was a year of steady and strong giving, explaining that the total contributions for 2015 where $373 .25 billion.  88% of the total contributions came from individuals, bequests, and family foundations. The individual contributions were up 3.8% over 2014, family foundations giving increased 6.5% and bequests were up 2.1%.  2014 and 2015 combined saw giving increase 12.2% which is the largest two-year increase since 2003 – 2005.

I am including a graphic that presents many other interesting facts about our giving in the year 2015. The graphic was created by the Giving USA Foundation.

Now with individuals being the greatest source of contributions it is extremely important we discover the most effective way to involve the next generation of donors, the Millennials. During this same presentation we heard from a panel of experts involved with philanthropic organizations. One of the subjects they discussed and I felt important to share with you is how to encourage and motivate Millennials to participate in the many aspects of fundraising for your charitable organization.The panel pointed out that Millennials don’t give to organizations, they support causes and because Millennials are so connected through Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media, they have the ability to influence so many of their friends for your cause.  In order to take advantage of this fact it’s important you use social media not to sell your organization but to tell the world about your cause by sharing stories and pictures and featuring people who have benefited from your service. If the millennial is moved by your message and connects to your cause they will become an influential voice to all their friends and family via social media.

Blackbaud also reported in their Generational Giving Report that 50% of Millennials share information about charities they support with their friends on Facebook.
It was also pointed out that with the millennium’s being 18 to 32 years old, the best way to excite them about your cause is to encourage them to volunteer. In the beginning volunteering their time and energy is the path to Millennials becoming your loyal donors.
With the Millennials being the largest generation since Baby Boomers we can certainly see the importance of connecting your cause to this generation.
Written by Connie Waddell, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services

Should you have a Live Auction at your charity auction event?

charity auction bidder raising bid paddleWondering if a live auction at your next fundraising auction event makes sense?  Well, the simple answer is YES!!!  Live auctions are not only huge money-makers but they provide a high energy excitement that is matched by nothing else.  There are some critical elements to having a successful live auction at your nonprofit or school fundraiser.  I have outlined the most important ones below.

1. Hire a professional fundraising auctioneer.  DO NOT use a volunteer or inexperienced auctioneer here; your results will be much more dismal and your audience will feel like they are having their teeth pulled during the auction.

2. Fill your audience with people that have the means to support your cause.  You have to have money in the room to have a great revenue outcome.

3. Procure desirable, higher dollar items to sell.  Find out what your audience is interested in and the price range they can afford.

4. Don’t have too many items in your live auction.  A good rule of thumb is to not exceed 30-45 minutes for your live auction.  It takes me about 3 minutes per item so about 8-12 live auction items is perfect.

charity auctioneer and consultant mike grigg elite auctions Live auctions at your fundraising auction event will be one of your biggest revenue generators.  Whether you have three items or twelve you should be doing one.

Visit today to find out more about our services and how we can help you achieve your goals!

Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services.

The Ultimate Fundraising Auctioneer

Check out this new “movie trailer” video showcasing Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services.  We are so proud to be in this exciting business and LOVE our nonprofits and schools for the good they bring into each community we serve.  If you need a professional benefit auctioneer and consultant we would be honored if you considered us!

Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services

How many People should attend a Fundraising Auction Event to ensure SUCCESS?

Every nonprofit and school want to have hundreds of people attend their fundraiser, but is this really the measure of a successful event?

The question should be: “How many people will give and at what levels will they give?”

Just because an event has 800 people in attendance does not necessarily mean that the event is a success on the revenue side of things.  This is where mining your database of past attendees comes in extremely handy and really is an absolute must before you send out your invitations.  Look at past event records and see who is giving and who is not; it should become very apparent who you want to fill your seats with for your next charity auction gala.  I would rather have 100 people with the means to support your cause in the seats then 500 people who are there to simply party.  Not only will it cost the nonprofit a lot more to provide a venue large enough to house 500 people but it will cost immensely more to feed 500 people versus 100.

As an example: A room full of 100 power bidders may generate an average of $1,000 per person of revenue which equates to a gross of $100,000 versus a room of 500 people who generally came to party which may equate to an average of $100 per person or $50,000 gross with a much higher expense to house and feed them.

Your homework should be done several months in advance using data from the past 3 years of events to determine who should receive invitations.  I’m not saying that all events should have lighter attendance because if you happen to have 500 loyal supporters that plan on giving then invite all of them.

Don’t forget to hire an experienced, professional fundraising auctioneer and consultant like Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services to help insure your event’s success.  The results far outweigh the investment!

Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services

Why You Should Hire a California Based Fundraising Auctioneer if your Charity Auction is in California

First off, if you are having a fundraising auction event you should definitely retain a professional benefit auctioneer that is a member of the National Auctioneers Association, their state auction association (California’s is the Western States Auction Association), and better yet has the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) designation as well.  With that out of the way lets discuss why you should be hiring a California based charity auctioneer for your California based fundraising event.

As we all know California has several areas that are unique to that region.  Quite frankly the Bay Area (San Francisco, Oakland, etc.) is a lot different from Central California (Bakersfield and Fresno, etc.).  Of course, Southern California has many different pockets as well, such as Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, Orange County, and San Diego to name a few.

This means many things, but here are just some of them:

1.  Different regions of California have unique general occupations that drive the economy in those areas.
2.  Different regions have contrasting income levels and age groups.
3.  Different regions have particular auction items that will do well just in those zones.
4.  Different regions have unique venues to utilize for your fundraising auction event.

Overall, California is DIFFERENT as you travel north to south and east to west.

Don’t you want a benefit auctioneer that has knowledge of these differences and familiarity through experience of what works and what doesn’t work in these specific regions?  Most of the time in order to have this knowledge you need an auctioneer that is local to the state and understands these differences so he or she can fully maximize the degree of services that they provide to your nonprofit or school.  You want a professional fundraising auctioneer that understands the people in the audience and what they want.  Not to mention, a professional auctioneer that is well read and understands the laws of California when it comes to charitable fundraising.

Here at Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services we understand California and have been in the auction business since 2002.  Our Chief Auctioneer, Mike Grigg is a California native and has been a professional auctioneer for almost a decade and a half.  We have raised literally Millions of dollars for nonprofits and schools in all different areas of California.  We are here in California to serve California nonprofits and schools!

Next time you retain a professional fundraising auctioneer and consultant for your California charity event… Go local, go with a California Auctioneer.

Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services.

Top 3 Reasons why You should have a Live Auction at Your Fundraising Event

Live auctions are an essential element to any successful fundraising event and by overlooking this element you may be leaving BIG bucks on the table!

Here are the top three reasons why you should have a live auction at your fundraiser:

1.  Live auctions are FUN!  A survey conducted by the National Auctioneers Association determined that the number one reason why people attend live auctions is because they are fun.  You can’t have a FUNdraiser without the fun!  People will keep coming back for years to come if they have fun at your event, and with the right people in the seats this directly equates to more revenue.

2. Live auctions bring the big dollars!  A live auction with the correct 7-10 items will many times eclipse a silent auction with 50 items in revenue generated.  If you want to tap into the larger donors in the crowd, a live auction with higher dollar items is a perfect way to accomplish this.

3.  Live auctions provide a spectacular marketing opportunity!  Leading up to your fundraising auction event you should be taking advantage of as many marketing opportunities as possible to advertise your event.  When you have great live auction items you should be advertising these as well as the event itself.  If you go on a local news station’s broadcast then talk about some of your top live auction items that will be sold at the event to create a buzz.  Remember, don’t just focus on the party… focus on the fundraising.

Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services

How to Get Bidders to Bid at Your Fundraising Auction Event

First off, there are several ways to get bidders to bid at your benefit fundraising auction, but the MOST important aspect is to make sure you have the right people in the seats with the means to support your cause!  Check out this past blog post explaining this in more detail:  What is the most important ingredient to a successful fundraising event?

Here are the top 3 ways to get bidders to bid at your charity auction event:

1.  Hire a professional fundraising auctioneer to take the helm during your live auction and fund a need.

2.  Make sure you procure desirable items for your auction.

3.  Do not start your bidding too high.  This includes not using items with high minimum bids (i.e. consignment items).

There are several factors that play into a successful auction but these are the key elements that make your auction a record breaker and help you achieve fundraising bliss.

Written by Mike Grigg, AARE, BAS of Elite Auctions and Fundraising Services