The New “IT ” Days in Fundraising

Who knew Thursdays and Sundays are the new “IT” days in Fundraising?


Right here in the middle of gala season, nonprofit organizations are approaching us about how they simply must schedule their fundraising events on Saturdays.  However, at the peak of gala season you may find not just one, but several fundraisers competing for the same dollars you are that very same night.  Why make it so hard for your donors to choose, and for your nonprofit to secure the right auction talent?

May I suggest a solution?  We advise our clients to take a serious look at Thursday or Sunday nights.  Here are the top three advantages that are worthy of your consideration: 

  1. The chance that you’ll be competing with a like organization on the same night is significantly reduced.
  2. You have your supporters where you need them…in town!  While weekend events compete with other events, out-of-town jaunts, weddings and any number of other possibilities, YOU have them to yourself on Thursday or Sunday night.  (Even babysitters are more available on weeknights).  
  3. Many event venues have less expensive rates on weeknights and Sundays.  You’ll save money!

We recently moved a Saturday gala to a Thursday night.  Results?  They had increased attendance, increased revenue across the board and reduced overhead.  Happy client!


You do have to tighten things up.  Being a work/school night you need to have a timeline focused on a shorter window of opportunity to get to your desired results.  Reduce the number of speeches, and of course no long speeches, expedient valet services, and well-trained clerks to assure efficient check-in/check-out.

Truly, the people we saw in the room this past week were the same people that we see at Saturday night galas with bigger smiles. They even spent as much money and in some cases more.  One couple told me as they were going out the door, “Look at this, we’re done!  It’s only 9:00 p.m. – we had a blast and WE STILL HAVE OUR WEEKEND”!


Give us a call and let’s get you in the “IT” crowd!

Yvonne Pope, Director of Nonprofit Events – (205-936-1403)







Birmingham’s “Bob Barker” By Robert Hinds

Birmingham’s “Bob Barker” 
By Robert Hinds

Birmingham, Alabama has a Bob Barker.


He is not as tall as the one most folks know, or as thin, for that matter. He has the same hair color as the T.V. icon, yet is younger. Both begin their show by saying ” what is your bid?” And both are very good at what they do. The one in Birmingham does not have a bevy of beauties like the one on the Price is Right, but he does have a staff of bid assistants that put on a good show for charity fundraisers.

B’ham’s Bob is Jack Granger of Granger, Thagard Auctioneers.  

Going once, going twice

This past fall, I attended two charity fundraisers, one for Children’s Hospital and the other for the Birmingham Museum. My significant other had purchased the tickets and convinced me that a good time was to be had. I was not so sure. It was cold and besides football was on TV.

The food was good at both events though I couldn’t tell you what I ate. However, I do remember watching some great entertainment as highly charged bidders tried to prove they could outbid the other. I was experiencing a professionally conducted charity auction fundraiser. B’ham Bob was in charge and he was “the barker”.

Last week I called Jack to ask him a few questions as I prepared this article. When asked about putting on the auction show, he quickly told me that he has the best seat in the house because he is watching the bidders and that’s where the action really takes place.

“For the last eighteen years, we have helped quite a few charities raise some significant funds. The past five years we have created seminars and “boot camps” for the staffs of the charities to help them learn more about auction psychology and therefore make more money at their events. Some groups catch on faster than others and follow our lead on helping orchestrate the silent and live auctions. Those groups that will accept that leadership seem to move their event to the next level”, Granger stated.

“Our auction company sells millions of dollars of real estate and significant assets each year. We are trained at selling in a very short time frame and maximizing buyer’s egos, testosterone/estrogen, and competitive juices. Many well-intentioned charities still look at the auction part of the night as a place for a good-natured volunteer to stand up and attempt to run the auction. It amazes me that the food at these events is prepared by a pro and the event is held in a professionally run ballroom, but the true business of the night, the fund raising auction can be left to “hit or miss”.

“I suppose it’s a good thing that our staff makes it look easy,” he continued.

Charity function attendees in this area get an education on the difference between a well run silent auction and an entertaining live auction. Auctions are the staple of raising much needed money.

“We got Tiger Woods laughing so hard at his auction here in Birmingham a few years back, that his dad invited us to Vegas for his big event at Mandalay Bay. His dad told us that our floor show would play well for the auction at Tiger’s event.”

“We do charge an honorarium for our service, but it is minimal. Often the budget for the floral arrangements is many times the cost of our service and floral arrangements, as nice as they may look, do not make money for the event. The auctioneer is the only part of the evening that more than pays for itself.”

“Amateur efforts at conducting the auctions may actually cost the charities. The missed opportunities to maximize through professional recruitment of bids, can diminish the months hard work by the charities’ staff. The real success comes from the boot camps that erase myths on how auctions are conducted and a chance to break the bad habits that get repeated in an annual event. Most groups do an event once a year and can be subject to “reinvent the wheel” every year. This past year we did twenty-four events and have averaged 12 to 20 events for many years. It gets easy to diagnose the problems after a while.”

“Our staff knows that helping at these events is giving back to the community. It is a good proposition for the non-profits to have our service and the public relations is good for our firm.”


As we hung up from the call, Jack told me he would be watching for me at the next auction. He said, “You put your hand up (to bid), I’ll tell you when to put it down. Bring the checkbook.”

When told that his article was about Bob Barker, Jack said that his high school yearbook had him as “Most Likely” to be a game show host and that he had gotten an autographed picture of Bob Barker years ago.

Bob Barker, your replacement is in Birmingham. I think Jack will bid for your job and I am pretty sure he will trade his staff for yours.

For your next fundraiser visit our website: Granger Thagard Charity Auctions

Or give Jack a call (205) 326-0833

How to put the “VIP” into your next Fundraiser


Your fundraiser is almost here…you’ve spent months planning what you expect to be your most fun and successful event to date!

You’ve got a great theme, a crackerjack committee, a stunning venue, THE BEST AUCTIONEER COMPANY, GRANGER, THAGARD & ASSOCIATES AND killer live auction items. You’re hoping to raise a lot of money for your cause. And you are hoping, hoping, that your major prospects will say “yes” to the invitation and will come.

How do you get the “right people” to walk in the door? You really want them to come for many reasons:

  • You want to cultivate their interest, lasting affiliation and participation with your cause.
  • You want to build closer relationships with them.
  • You want them to see your organization at its best.

Roll out the Red Carpet!  

VIP Red Carpet

Here are 5 strategies you can use to be sure your VIPs actually walk in the door.

  1. Put some of your VIPs on the committee. If they are on the committee, then they will already be invested in the party and its success. Even better, they’ll bring their friends.
  2. Honor one of the VIPs at the event.They will certainly come then and they’ll bring their friends and family.
  3. Put your VIPs names on the invitation as “honorary hosts.”They will feel a stronger tie to the event and will have a vested interest in its success.  If your VIPs are major donors, ask them if you can list their names as major donors in a special spot on the invitation.

I did this many times during my tenure as a director for a nonprofit.  It worked.  I called all our donors at the $2,000 and up level and asked them if I could list their names on the invitation as part of the “Host Committee”. They were flattered to be recognized and it gave the nonprofit a wonderful cultivation and retention opportunity.

  1. Hold a private reception for your VIPs before the main event begins. This will really get them there.

Here’s my favorite strategy of all:

  1. CALL THEM, GO PICK THEM UP and bring them to the party!Some of your VIPs may not want to go out alone at night. They may not have an escort and not want to go alone. They may be socially shy and unsure of who they will talk to or sit with. So, here’s what you do:

Call them ahead of time and tell them you have a special table for them. Tell them you want to introduce them to some influential, interesting, nice people.

And then go pick them up in a party van or limo. It really, really works! And it’s an excellent cultivation and retention opportunity. You can show them extra attention and let them know they are important.

Granger, Thagard & Associates puts the FUN IN FUNDRAISING!

2019 is booking fast – give me a call today!

Yvonne Pope, Director of Nonprofit Events

Visit our Website for more info: Granger Thagard Benefit Auctions

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Let’s Take a Look at the New Tax Bill



Proof that engaging individual donors through fundraising events with the expertise of a professional auctioneer works.

More than 7 in 10 dollars given to charity last year came from individuals and households.  Granger, Thagard knows these individuals personally!

However, while reaching out to individuals continues to be a priority, passage of the new tax reform legislation is snarling up previous predictions for 2018.  Here’s what we mean.

As reported by The Washington Post, above-average growth in personal income and net worth would normally lead to increases in charitable giving, but the new tax bill doubles the standard deduction for households.  This means the standard deduction for married couples, for example $12,700, will roughly double to $24,000.  It only makes sense for families that can give above this high threshold to itemize.  And historically, itemizers are almost twice as likely to donate to charity, and comprise more than 8 percent of total giving.

What it means:  Experts are predicting downturns in charitable giving to the tune of $13 billion this year.  This is something nonprofits need to be aware of sooner rather than later.

Hold on:  While the incentive to give is being lowered for middle class families, the new tax bill also means more money is staying in the pockets of the average family.  As the economy improves and GDP rises, this likely means people will set aside more money for travel.  At Granger, Thagard, we aspire to be a resource for many once in a lifetime experiences and vacation destinations.  This means your donors attend your event to pick and choose their next travel adventure.


Why not tap into growing donor travel budgets by offering exciting, bucket-list travel packages in your next charity auction by hiring the auctioneers of Granger, Thagard & Associates, Inc.?

Stay tuned for an upcoming Educational Moment at The Club soon.

Yvonne Pope, Director of Nonprofit Events

Yvonne Pope (1)

Achieving BIG

Gold Coins

It’s approaching High Season (late winter/spring) for many of the major gala events in the Birmingham Fundraising World and everyone is after the BIG money

  • BIG corporate money
  • BIG auction items
  • BIG auction bidders
  • BIG attendance

Let’s go over a few key elements in achieving BIG!

To achieve BIG results you need to begin the planning process with the Big trusted professional team of Granger, Thagard & Associates Auctioneers.

From the moment you perceive the need to raise the much needed funds for your nonprofit, you need the guidance that we provide.  Over the past 30 years, Jack Granger has performed 30 plus live auctions each year for nonprofits here in the Birmingham area.  He for sure knows most of your attendees and they know when they see his name in your media and print coverage that it is going to be a first-class professional event that will not only entertain them and keep them engaged, but bring about the BIG money that they want to see raised for the charity they are there to support.

Jack is not only Mr. Showbusiness, promising a fun and exhilarating live auction, but he generously gives of his time and energy to embrace your fundraiser and enhance it, giving you all of his expertise and the best guidance through well-proven and time-tested formulas for a successful outcome.

Jack understands the flow of not only your event, but while performing the live auction, he reads the crowd, making split second decisions on his feet.  He uniquely gets into the minds of your patrons and reads their desire for not only the item up for bid, but their desire to be a HERO for the nonprofit and capitalizes on it in a quick-witted floor show.

Our team of bid assistants work in harmony with your crowd, encouraging their participation and making sure they are having fun engaging totally with the bidding process.

Our team also has the unique addition of a seasoned pro, Yvonne Pope, who has been an executive director of a nonprofit and been in the joy of fundraising for 25 years.  She understands and knows exactly who and what you are competing with. 

Yvonne is available to you all through the planning and execution of your fundraiser to discuss every detail so that the night of your fundraiser no money is left on the table.


You don’t skimp on the venue!  You don’t skimp on the caterer!  You don’t skimp on the band!  Why would you skimp on the ONE CHANCE YOU HAVE TO RAISE MONEY AT YOUR EVENT – YOUR LIVE AUCTION?

Radio personalities, friends of the organization, out of town auctioneers parachuted in for the night are not going to raise the BIG money in the room.  Do not leave money on the table!

Don’t underestimate the value of the investment in the professional auction team.  The cost versus investment is worth the difference Granger, Thagard & Associates Auctioneers brings to your fundraiser versus the “Free” radio/TV host or friend of a friend who enjoys standing in front of a crowd and playing auctioneer. 

Yvonne Pope
Director, Nonprofit Events


Phone:  205-936-1403

Visit our website: GT Nonprofit Auctions

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The Most Important Element of a Successful Nonprofit Event

You are planning a fundraising event for your nonprofit organization and you want it to be the best one ever!

You pick the best venue possible.  An elegant room that is perfect for your event.

The Club

The caterer you have chosen is top of the line and will provide the finest foods to your patrons.


The band you selected is considered the most entertaining in the area and will delight all who attend creating a wonderful atmosphere.

The highlight of the evening is the live auction from which you will raise as much money as possible for your charitable organization.  To conduct the auction – you choose to use a volunteer who has a great heart, but no idea of how to conduct an auction.

You have spent as much money as your budget will allow on the venue, the food and drink, and the entertainment.  Yet, the one aspect of your fundraiser that is designed to elicit the money to finance your charitable cause — you choose to use an amateur rather than a professional.

In conducting auctions at charitable events for over 30 years, the auction team of Granger, Thagard & Associates, Inc. has learned there is one axiom that is almost universally accepted in the world of charitable benefit events – THE MOST SUCCESSFUL FUNDRAISING EVENTS HIRE A PROFESSIONAL NONPROFIT AUCTIONEER! 


Jack Granger in full flight!

The most common reason nonprofits avoid hiring a professional nonprofit auctioneer is the expense. This rationale is shortsighted.  Professional auctioneers offer more than just gravitas when it comes to running a successful fundraiser.

When planning your event, you did not skimp on the venue, the caterer, or entertainment!  With that philosophy in place, why would you skimp on the ONE CHANCE YOU HAVE TO RAISE MONEY AT YOUR EVENT – YOUR LIVE AUCTION?  Radio personalities, friends of your organization, or out-of-town auctioneers with no connection to your community are not best suited to obtaining the highest bids from the “big money” in the room, which ultimately the goal of your event.

Jack Granger and the Granger, Thagard team know all aspects of nonprofit events, having done hundreds of such events over the past 30 years.

Roar pic

We offer a boot camp to your committee chairmen, check lists and have several meetings throughout the planning stages to get us to the big night when Jack Granger steps into the arena and entertains and encourages fun competitive bidding – he brings the fire to the event!

When you book your venue, your next step should be to book your professional auctioneer.  Jack and the Granger, Thagard team are licensed by the State of Alabama Board of Auctioneers and know the laws that govern a legal auction.  Moreover, the GTA team knows how to work the crowd in a manner to raise as much money for your organization as possible.

A Professional Auctioneer will simply raise more money.   Auctioneers have built their career on being able to work a crowd and coax every last dollar out of those who want to spend.  They know when to be funny and when to be sentimental.  When to soft sell and when to be bullish.

This isn’t limited to live auctions, either.  Professional auctioneers know how and when to direct people to the silent auction tables, and how to involve the audience in a quick mini-game between agenda items to raise a few extra hundred dollars.  They will be dedicated to maximizing your fundraising efforts not only because they do this for a living, but because they also want you to be successful.

If you have a fundraising event on the horizon that includes a live auction, improve your chances for success by hiring a professional nonprofit auctioneer to run the event and consult with you in the planning process.

Please visit our website for actual footage of a live auction and many beneficial ideas for your next event.

Yvonne Pope
Director, Nonprofit Events

How is a Fund Raising Event like Nurturing a Garden?

You’ve prepared and tilled the soil; selected and planted just the right seed; carefully watered and fertilized; weeded the bad distractions, and harvested at the just right time …Finally, it’s time to enjoy the bounty! 

As the non-profit fund raising chair or committee member for your organization, let’s say “you’re  the Gardener*”, do you execute the perfect steps for your harvest…. Or are you hoping to just get lucky in reaching your fund raising goals?

The secret of the great garden or the successful fundraiser is the word …engagement. 

An engaged gardener* leads to an engaged committee which leads to an engaged audience which leads to a harvest.

It is impossible to replace the dynamics of a rousing auction created by supportive attendees, with any other format. Many have thought of new ways to raise money …but it all leads back to auctions.

Granger Thagard introduced the auction concept of raising funds for nonprofits back in 1987. 

The Granger Thagard Auction team will guide you each step of the way to a successful auction experience. From an initial meeting with auction director Brent McCulloch, your staff will be guided for the months, the weeks…the days…and ultimately the hours before your event …so your harvest will be a bounty!

We look forward to working with you to reach exponential success!


Brent McCulloch
Director, Non-Profit Events