Hello, my name is Jenna. In this blog, I am going to bring you BIG ideas for every little detail of your event. Need inspiration? Check out my current post. Want a tip on a topic? Browse the categories. There are thousands of people just like you planning fundraising events across the country...we may be apart, but when we share ideas, we will do great things together!

Please Note: Jenna has retired from blogging, but we keep her posts on the site because the ideas are timeless and have been very well received in the non-profit community!

Details About Your Blogger, Jenna

JennaBW resized 182 Mom, step-mom, wife, daughter, singer, volunteer, writer, marketer, gluten-free baker, MBA, and...
eternal optimist! More...

When you provide your email below, you will receive a weekly email from me announcing the title of the newest blog post. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Subscribe by Email

Your email:

Help Others by Sharing Your Ideas! (And, maybe win a hot air balloon ride!)

describe the image

Every month from November through June, I will pick a winner of a hot air balloon ride for two! And, if you submit a photo or video from your event, you will be entered twice! Any event topic is welcome! Things like..

Creative Place Settings
Fundraising Games
Checkout Best Practices
Agenda Ideas
No idea is too small!


Don't Forget to Order Your FREE FundraisingRides Auction Materials!

AuctionTableTopDisplay8.23 resized 182FundraisingRides donates a hot air balloon ride to every non-profit that participates in our program. Order your FREE Auction Packet with our simple online form.

Why the Details Bring Us Bliss

25x25OrganizerWithDividers25x25pinkrose25x25describe the image25x25chaircovers25x2525x25binders25x2525x25Balloons25x25spoons25x25VelvetRope

I have a love of details because managing them gives me three wonderful gifts. To find out what they are and learn a little more about me, click here.

Is There an Event Detail You Would Like to Read About?

Themes that Rock
Transforming Your Venue
Event Timeline/Flow
What Makes a Good Emcee
Staging the Auction Table
Balloon Arch Design
What's on YOUR mind?

If you are thinking about it, most likely other people are too! Send me an email and let me know what event details you have the biggest questions about!

Send me an Email!


Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

There is Something About Your Auction That You Need to RETHINK!


The auction is likely the single most important hour of your fundraising efforts for the entire year!“Haven’t I met you before?” That’s all that kept looping through my head when I met Tom Weitbrecht at an event sponsored by The Non-profit ToolBox, just outside Boston, in the Fall of 2010.

With a sparkle in his eye, an endearing “Bah”ston accent, and a handshake that felt like it was from an old friend, Tom said, “Nice to meet you, Jenna!” With a first impression like that, I am pretty sure that everyone thinks they have met Tom before!

It was at that meeting, that I became passionate about the topic that we are discussing today. Honestly, it is a topic that many non-profits put to bed years ago. And because they are occupied with so many other decisions, they simply don’t think to revisit it.

But, it is time to freshen up your due diligence and open up a dialog. Let me help get the ball rolling by giving a shout out to the group:  If you don’t use a professional auctioneer for your fundraiser, it is time to RETHINK!

Can you think of any other high risk financial situation where you don’t turn to a professional?Okay, I know what you are thinking, “Jenna! Auctioneers cost money. They take a cut out of the funds we raise at our events.” Yes, they do. But, let’s take that notion and turn it upside down for a second. What are the costs of not having a professional auctioneer at your event?

What do you hope to bring in at your auction this year.. $10K, $20K…$50K? The auction is likely the single most important hour of your fundraising efforts for the entire year! There are high expectations and high stakes—that makes it high risk! Can you think of any other high risk financial situation where you don’t turn to a professional?

Anything that takes the auction off track--even in the slightest way--could distract bidders or make them lose interest and erode the funds you raise during that crucial hour.

But, the great news is, anything (or, in this case, anyone) that keeps your auction on track—or, better yet, elevates the experience to entertainment and excitement for your guests, will increase the funds you raise during that crucial hour!

So, I have two goals, today. My first goal is to inspire you to revisit the topic of hiring a professional auctioneer. My second goal is to give you the resources you need to make the right decision for your nonprofit. To that end, I am going to make cyber introductions to two auction professionals and their valuable online video content.

Out-of-this-World-Super-Helpful Online How-to Videos from Two Auctioneers

So, let’s circle back to my old friend, Tom (oh wait, he isn’t my old friend, I keep forgetting). Tom is the principal and chief charity auctioneer of The Strategic Auction Alliance and he has helped raise millions of dollars for charity organizations.

Above, is a mini video with a handful of helpful auction tips and a demonstration of Tom’s auctioneering skills. After you check that out, I highly recommend carving out some time to watch his free webinar: Obtaining Quality Auction Items.

The 25-minute seminar is jam-packed with HUGE ideas that you WILL implement. Plus, the recorded 35-minute Q & A session following the formal talk answers all the questions you will have swimming around in your head.

I also want to introduce you to Sherry Truhlar who is the founder Red Apple Auctions. I have never met Sherry, but I am a big fan of her video content. She passionately disseminates massively practical event details that will have a meaningful impact on your auction!

Sherry is dynamic and incredibly energized. She specializes in three to five minute videos that are a slam dunk in addressing, debunking and blowing out auction details. Above is one of my favorite videos where Sherry has a great no-bones-about-it opinion about how to (or more accurately how NOT to) announce the start of the auction! Below are three links to her short auction guides selected from her vault of helpful video content.

How many items should you sell in your benefit auction?

How to design the perfect auction bid paddle number for your event.

How to display silent auction items at your benefit auction fundraiser.

What I like about Sherry and Tom is that they know the best way to build trust is to be open and authentic. And, thank goodness for us, they are skilled in using web-based tools and media channels to cast a wide net and broadcast their good thinking to all of us do-gooders.

Just so you know, I have no affiliation with Tom or Sherry. And, as I publish this post, they have no idea that I am singing their praises.

So, there you go. It is time to RETHINK the auctioneer! Then REACT to these ideas. And, don’t forget to let me know how it all turns out.

Remember, the Bliss is in the Details!


P.S. Do you  have great auction tips to share, what to do and what not to do? Submit your ideas and get a chance to win a hot air balloon ride for two people!

This blog is sponsored by FundraisingRides, the division of Soaring Adventures of America, Inc. dedicated to providing non-profit organizations with fundraising opportunities.



I can vouch for what you say in your blog! When I was volunteering with another group we decided to try not using a professional auctioneer (letting a very personable member of our group talk us into having a community member auctioneer after they'd hosted their small school event) .. what a catastrophe!! The professionals know how to keep the live auction ALIVE .. keep it moving, don't lose momentum, he knew when he had the crowd with him and when he didn't, knew how to get them back. A professional will easily double your proceeds, if not better. And involve them before the night of the event; if you can rehearse and/or review items the day before so that he is fluent with your offerings, so much the better. Don't let them go cold into the auction event - it leads to item misrepresentations, errors, etc. and that can lead to costly refunds to mislead buyers. Thanks, Jenna, for a great topic!!
Posted @ Friday, March 02, 2012 9:11 AM by Sandie
Comments have been closed for this article.