florida keys estate sales & auction services, personal property appraisals, liquidations


More groups are finding that fundraising auctions can raise more money than any other fundraising method, especially when a charity auction specialist helps them with organizing and marketing of the event.  Charity auctions (or benefit auctions) can have specialties such as wine events or other concentrations requiring special event planning.  A charity auction can be a different and festive animal because more buyers are attending these events than ever before.  By using a professional auctioneer and some savvy marketing and technology, you can draw more donated items and bidders to raise more money for your nonprofit church, school or organization.

When you’re planning to hold a charity auction, you want to give yourself plenty of time to collect donated goods.  Typically, an auctioneer will also donate his or her times, or the organization may pay the auctioneer a reduced one-time flat appearance fee.  In most events, the auctioneer is not bringing his or her regular staff, but relying on the assistance of organization volunteers.  Most events are scheduled for one night or one day.  In very well-organized charity auctions, attendees may even pay a fee to attend a formal dinner and auction.

Items typically offered in charity auctions include:  certificates; travel trips; wine; jewelry; golf or sports items; current electronics; and lessons or other service certificates.  For the attendee, charity auctions can be the best place to buy unique experience packages.  Many of these benefits are run by silent auction where attendees may bid (using an identifying number) for items anonymously – the last person (or number) with the highest bid wins the item.  Estimates have cited 75% of the event attendees will bid via silent auction.  For the best events, you should plan a silent auction in conjunction with a live auction.

For extremely advanced organizations, and with plenty of pre-planning, an Internet live auction can be held simultaneously with the evening’s scheduled events.  Some charities will also take phone bids or absentee bids, which will be explained by the auctioneer.  Many groups like to hire a local celebrity or personality to conduct the auction to help draw a crowd, but more charities are finding that a professional auctioneer can raise more money by using advance techniques.  Your organization’s bottom line can be positively enhanced with the proper consultation and pre-planning.

A good practice is for the auctioneer to go around prior to the event’s start to try to lighten the mood and have fun and get to know everyone.  Another good practice is the use of request cards, where months preceding the auction, expected attendees are asked to list items they’d like to see offered at the auction.  Also, consider your event date very carefully so as not to coincide with other scheduled attractions.

During charity dinner auctions, the bidding may begin during the dinner to get bids moving quickly.  The evening takes more planning than you might imagine, including timing of items offered, lighting, music, sound systems, pickup and delivery tables, managing press & photography, and more to add the extra panache.  It is also important to vary the value of items being sold (don’t save all your high-end items for the end, but rather offer them sporadically throughout the evening).  If you attend one of these auctions, you want to position  yourself so you can readily see (and hear) the items being offered.

A charity auctioneer is trained to coax people who are unfamiliar with auctions into bidding with confidence.  (S)he will also be able to encourage higher bids for items in support of the charity.  Personal relationships and friendly one-upmanship can be used to the advantage of the organization when an auctioneer is trained to detect personalities and pocketbooks.

Although charity auctions often have a festive environment, they still fall under auction laws.  You generally cannot retract a bid later if you change your mind on a purchase.  A bid made at an auction creates a contract between the seller and bidder, according to the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC).  Generally, charity auctions move at a rapid pace because the event for bidding is on a limited time schedule, and the auctioneer does not want to lose their audience.  Poor weather can play another role in the evening, with too few or too many showing up.

Lange Auction House believes in giving back to deserving and needy causes. At Christmas time, we solicit donations to give to others. At times of need, we give our time and personal service to achieve goals for a better community, help families in need, and simply share our resources with those less fortunate.

Lange Auction House regularly gives to and supports the following charities: The Red Cross, The Salvation Army, Goodwill Industries, The United Nation’s Relief Funds, The Hunger Project, Habitat for Humanity, and too many Florida Keys groups and organizations to mention!

We are active participants in the Chamber of Commerce, the Key West Business Guild, and newly with Rotary International (not yet pledged members).


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