Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I do a warm up before the live auction?

Definitely! You do not want a cold open to your live auction. We recommend a warm up game that is simple and works for crowds of all sizes.  We want 100% participation with the warm up game so we can get the crowd excited and ready to bid on the live auction items. Hire Travis and he will provide you all of the details.

How many items should I have in my live auction?

Most organizations that host an annual fundraiser have about 8 to 12 live auction items.  I would recommend around 10 with no more than 12.

How should I arrange the order of items?

We recommend using a bell curve to arrange your items.  Start with the least expensive item and work your way up to the most expensive item to be sold in the middle of the auction.  Then after selling the most expensive item then sell the 2nd most expensive item down to the least expensive that you still have remaining.

For example, you have a Safari to Africa valued at $25,000 and it is the most expensive item in your live auction items then you need to put it in the middle of your auction.  This way if you have 10 couples that all want the Safari to Africa the 9 donors that don’t end up winning the item will still have a chance to bid on the items remaining.  Otherwise, if you sell it at the end of the auction they will all hold out to see if they win the Safari to Africa and you will have left money in the pockets of donors.


What types of items should I have?

First, don’t have art, furniture, medical procedures or jewelry.  Have “Experiences” rather than retail items. The reason is that retail items can be easily purchased after the auction. Offer fun packages that are unique. For example, you could offer a private chef that will come to your donors home and serve a gourmet dinner for them and their friends accompanied by a musician to sing while they enjoy dinner. Everyone would want this live auction package and it cannot be easily duplicated.

Should I have a call for cash portion of the evening?

Definitely. This should be the most profitable portion of the evening! Hire Travis and he will discuss all of the logistics of maximizing revenue for your big event with a call for cash or fund the mission. He will consult with you on how many levels and what the levels should be set at. Also, it is vital on how you introduce the call for cash portion of the evening.

What is the difference between a traditional auctioneer and a benefit auctioneer?

A traditional auctioneer is trained on how to sell Uncle Tom’s farm and they usually do a good job of selling tractors and livestock! A benefit auctioneer is trained to help non-profit organizations maximize their revenue. Most organizations only have 1 big gala auction event and you should not gamble by using a traditional auctioneer.  A well experienced benefit auctioneer will help take your fundraising efforts to the next level.  There is a big difference!

Can I afford to hire Travis?

Yes, you can afford to hire Travis because of the increased revenue that he helps your organization generate from a fun warm up game, live auction and call for cash portion of the evening. Typically, the fun warm up game we play before the live auction will more than cover our auction fee.

Travis will introduce to you a fun warm up game to play right before the live auction to build energy and a rapport with the crowd that can easily earn $2,000+ (100 people * $20 per person = $2,000).  Travis will consult with you on the types of live auction items you should have, the best order of the items, and will consult with you on the levels and amounts for the “call for cash” portion of the evening which should become the most profitable portion of the evening. Travis will make your big event fun with his energy and exciting auction chant.  You only have one chance at your big annual fundraiser so you owe it to yourself and your organization to hire Travis.

What areas does Travis serve as a benefit auctioner?

Travis regularly conducts benefit auctions for non-profit organizations throughout Montana including: Billings, Belgrade, Bozeman, Butte, Great Falls, Helena, Kalispell, and Missoula at a rate of $1000.

Travis conducts benefit auctions for non-profit organizations throughout the United States at a rate of $2000 which includes his travel.

Want to see if Travis is available for your auction date? Please reach out to us today.

Call: (406) 539-7653
Bookings: travis@travisballenger.com