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

GT Charity Header



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







The Fund Raising Live Auction: A Maturation Process

Isn’t it interesting how many parallels one can find in the random and big events of life?  Perhaps one of the biggest defining moments is the birth of a child.  The excitement of a newborn is intermingled with the fear of how to raise it, fund it and nurture it.  How an infant is cared for is different than a toddler and certainly radically different than a teen.  Smart parents seek the advice and counsel of those who have parented highly successful children.  The rewards of a well thought out parenting style shines in the lives of a child maturing to adulthood.

Raising a child

A parallel to parenting can be seen in non-profit fund raising events.  The majority of the time, a new event is exciting but intermingled with the fear of how to make it happen, how to fund it and nurture it to maturity.  Many times, the people planning the event have little experience in fund raising events and lots of experience in weddings and parties; giving more attention to décor and food than the main event, the live auction.  Smart fund raising event planners seek the counsel of those who have created and planned highly successful events before without going through the pain of learning things the hard way! That approach costs organizations money, and time.  At Granger-Thagard, we have successfully led over 500 non-profit auctions and can help you take yours from infancy to maturation by being lockstep with you in the planning and execution of your event—from infancy to maturation in quick order.

Common issues that face new, and stalemated events:

  • Bossy committee members that just want to do things the way they always have—like the definition of insanity we all know, Doing things the same way over and over expecting different results.
  • Paying more attention to the music, food and décor than to the main reason for the event—The Live Auction.
  • Using non-professionals for the auction—i.e. radio, tv, and other local celebrities vs. a professional fund raising team. Do you want an amateur pilot flying your plane?
  • Spending mountains of time seeking items for live and silent auction when the proven formula for success is–Less is More!
  • How to balance silent/live auction and pledging?
  • No succession plan in place—future planners will inherit what you did and the event suffers and stalemates…Easy formula to avoid this tragedy.
  • Not seeking the advice of experts and/or falling back into the same old rut because you didn’t listen or heed the advice.


Bad Decorations

Let’s get together today and start the process of a great fund raiser!  We can teach you in a short time how to avoid these traps and others– what would take you years of mistakes to learn. 

Contact Granger Thagard Auctioneers Today! (205) 326-0833

Decision Time: Hire a Professional Auctioneer or utilize a Volunteer Auctioneer?


When planning a non-profit event, seems questions, decisions and things to do come at you from every angle and pile up quickly.  Trying to do a lot with a finite budget can be a challenge and the temptation is to take shortcuts.  With meals, chose the lesser priced entrée; with the décor, less elaborate; and with auctioneer, sometimes a volunteer is chosen—Sometimes free isn’t free when choosing your auctioneer.

The focal point of a fund-raiser is the live auction; not the menu and not the décor.  It’s the live auction.  Hiring a non-professional can cost you in proceeds and puts your organization at risk.

Did you know?

  • To conduct an auction, an auctioneer must be licensed by the state—it is the law.
    • This includes commercial and non-profit auctions.
    • Licensed auctioneers must complete annual certification and are regulated by the state auction board.
    • Unless your volunteer is a licensed auctioneer, you and your organization are not following the law.
    • Auctioneers must pass a license test administered by the State of Alabama.
  • Professionalism
    • A licensed auctioneer carefully complies with professional standards of conduct.
    • Knows what to say, what not to say and how to say it when selling items at Auction.
    • Brings an experienced team of spotters to assist at the auction.
  • Reduced Risk
    • Licensed auctioneers are bonded:
      • This covers you and the organization.
      • Compliance issues, etc.
    • If a dispute over the price or timing of bid comes into questions—a licensed auctioneer. is certified to settle the dispute on the spot—if you chose an unlicensed individual and a dispute arises—what will you do?
  • Experience
    • Licensed auctioneers have experience in every facet of the auction process.
    • At Granger-Thagard, we conduct over twenty non-profit auctions a year and even more real estate auctions!
    • The complete staff of Granger-Thagard are licensed auctioneers.

If you are a passenger in a plane, who do you want flying it?  An experienced, licensed pilot or an unlicensed volunteer with no flying experience.  If you are depending on the proceeds of a live auction at your next fund-raiser, do you want a licensed professional auctioneer or an unlicensed, inexperienced volunteer at the helm?  You decide…





Party “Fowl”

Everyone has the crazy relative that seems to predictably commit a party foul at every gathering…whether it be the proverbial lamp shade on the head or saying exactly the wrong thing at exactly the wrong time. In the world of fund raising, there are party fouls that can upset the event just like the crazy […]

How to ruin your event in the final 48 hours!

You’ve worked so hard for the last 4-6 months and now, in the final moments, you start to panic.  It’s more common than you think, and you’re not alone.  They key is…don’t do anything to ruin your event in the final 48 hours!

Last month, I went to Salt Lake City, Utah to run in a half marathon. I prepared with a full sixteen week training plan and a goal of running under 1 hour and 40 minutes.  I will tell you, the last mile was painful, but I finished in 1:39:38 or a 7:37 mile pace for 13.1 miles.  Goal accomplished!  I always find parallels between my personal life and work.  They’re seemingly a constant presence.  This was no different.  Think about it…most events prepare for about four months (a sixteen week training plan) and just before the big event, many events, like many runners, ruin all of their hard work in the final 48 hours.  My running coach has a saying about the final two days before a big race, “At this point, you can’t do a whole lot to help your cause, but you can do a whole lot to ruin it”.  There is some truth to that in the world of fundraising too!

Great trip to Morocco at EcoFest earlier this month! Amazing!

Great trip to Morocco at EcoFest earlier this month! Amazing!

Scenario #1: In 48 hours, you ruin your silent auction.  Here’s how:

You have worked extremely hard procuring silent auction items for the previous four months. Then, in the final days you print up bid sheets with minimum bids and valuations, you decide to “save” $1,000 and not get a professional sound system, you print the item descriptions in a 12 pt font so nobody can read it, you turn down the lights to “set the mood” and nobody can see your descriptions (the 12 pt font just got more difficult to read) and last, the most common silent auction blunder the last 48 hours…you continued to add items and add items and add items, putting you well over the suggested number and you now have a garage sale instead of an auction.  All of that work from your staff and volunteers did not reach full potential.

One of our new clients, On River Time, knocked it out of the park with this trip to NYC!

One of our new clients, On River Time, knocked it out of the park with this trip to NYC!

Scenario #2: In 30 minutes, you cripple your live auction by ignoring the program and program protocol.  Here’s how:

You have your “Night of” timeline and program all buttoned up and you’re ready to go! But then the program starts and things start to go unscripted.  First, your speakers forget that they are not at a Kiwanis club lunch meeting and think that every spare minute of dinner service needs to be filled with constant talking and storytelling.  Your 4-5 minute scripted speech turns into a thank you party that lasts 25 minutes, essentially interrupting your guest’s nice dinner and time to chat.  Now we know why the Academy Awards have the music that comes on (cue Jeopardy music, now!).  Next, even though they were instructed otherwise, your table service crew forgets that tonight is not about the food and table service.  It’s about raising money.  They continue to walk around pouring water and tea during the live auction.  Last…You guessed it!  It’s all about that bass, ‘bout that bass!  A poor sound system means that no matter how good your items are, or how hard you have worked, if your guests can’t hear the live auction, they can’t bid.  Think about it this way…you have three profit centers the night of:  Silent Auction, Live Auction and Pledge.  Your sound system will cost approximately $1,000.  That’s $333 for each of the three profit centers.  In simple terms, that’s one or two silent auction items worth, one bid increment in the live auction or one lower end pledge.

We can’t predict how every auction will turn out, just like I can’t predict what my time will be in a race, because there are so many “x” factors we can’t control. BUT, we CAN prepare to be successful!  And, we CAN avoid ruining our potential in the final 48 hours!  Think of Granger Thagard as your personal event coach.  Think of us as your insurance policy.    Though each and every event this fall we have been associated with has broken an all time event record (no kidding, it’s been an amazing run), I can recall at least three that avoided monumental disasters because they had a professional steering the ship (something you don’t get when the weatherman does your auction). All you have to do is listen.  If your event did not break a record this fall, you may want to ask yourself why you’re still hosting amateur hour at your auction.  Spring is filling up and 7 events have already rebooked for next fall 2015…yes, it’s time!

Happy Bidding, Joey