Charity auctions have become an integral part of the auction profession. Contributing to society for the greater good not only displays the ethos of the auction company or the individual auctioneer, it also has substantial benefits.

Charity auctions have become important social events for corporate companies, financial institutions and individuals that want to make a difference. It is an interactive and fun way to contribute to a worthy cause. Items that are auctioned at these events often achieve high prices with little or no bearing to market-related values.

Philip Powell, South African Institute of Auctioneers (SAIA) vice-chairman and renowned charity auctioneer says this is done through positive interaction with the audience.

“When a successful bid is awarded to a buyer, it tends to invoke a sense of benevolence and achievement,” Powell explains. “Charity auctions are an efficient way to make a difference towards the upliftment of the less fortunate. Social responsibility has become a key element in the ethos of many companies and charity auctions are a platform to raise much needed funds for worthy initiatives.”

Powell explains that it’s important to draw the right caliber of audience. The charity auction platform often presents the opportunity to mingle with sports stars, celebrities and high-profile people. Benefactors contribute by donating funds, saleable assets or services in such a way that the charity is guaranteed positive contributions.

“The auctioneer makes everyone feel important, no matter how wealthy or how famous. Everyone is equal at a charity auction. It’s also vitally important for an auctioneer to have a specialized events manager who understands the requirements for a successful fundraising event. The outcome of these popular functions is attributed to the skill and professionalism of an experienced auctioneer,” Powell says.

Charity auctions aren’t as serious as regular commercial auctions, it’s an interactive show. These events are usually fun-filled and rely on versatile auctioneers to entertain the audience. They have a cheeky lust for life, similar to stand-up comedians.

“During a charity event, guests have the opportunity to see these talented professionals at work. Even if you don’t bid on an item, you are bound to be absorbed by the entertainment the experience offers you. A successful auction is subject to the commitment of all involved, from the auctioneers to the event managers and audience. “An experienced charity auctioneer is able to engage his audience by spontaneously responding to their reactions. He is charming en exudes confidence, compassion and charisma at all times,” says Powell.

The auctioneer should engage with his audience by mingling with bidders and making eye contact. A keen sense of humour is a must; the auctioneer should be able to entertain guests. “Being a part of a fundraising initiative is a very rewarding experience, whether you are an auctioneer, bidder or benefactor. It gives a sense of worthiness,” Powell says.

Fund Raising Initiatives

  • Sir Elton John Aids Foundation
  • Hospice
  • Deaf Child Centre
  • Reach For A Dream
  • The Sunflower Fund
  • Quadriplegic Association of S.A.
  • Nazareth House
  • Our Kids of the Cape