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

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

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