Improving our Auction

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Improving our Auction

Post  bonsaisr on Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:36 pm

The club auction is generally the major fundraising affair. Ours is always late afternoon in June, after the annual picnic. The last one was not very successful. What have others tried that worked?
Iris

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  JimLewis on Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:45 pm

I'll state the obvious right off the bat: You have to have good stuff to auction!

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:52 pm

We do a split with the person who brought the item in. This gives the donor something and might improve the quality of the donations.

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Kev Bailey on Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:03 pm

An enthusiastic and humorous auctioneer can help, but sadly these things can often suffer from the donations not living up to the hopes and expectations of the buyers/attendees and also the short hands, long pockets syndrome. As an example, Tony did an absolutely marvellous job at the Burrs auction and a lot of money was raised for Will's cause, yet some items went unsold as reserves weren't met. But this was one of the better auctions that I've attended. Many have turned into dire, embarrassing affairs with little being sold and boredom setting in. Careful screening of the lots to be sold and some advice on reserves may be necessary. Quality over quantity should help.

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  marcus watts on Wed Feb 29, 2012 9:03 pm

Billy M. Rhodes wrote:We do a split with the person who brought the item in. This gives the donor something and might improve the quality of the donations.

thats a good idea, we have not had an auction before but i bet it is quite hard to get much money for things that people are happy to give away.

we use a raffle format quite a bit though- especially when there are tree collections to distribute, and the ticket price is adjusted to ensure a reasonable income from the lots.

hi Kev, very good points there - i do think quite a lot of people often have very over inflated veiws of the value of material, its all to easy to see the prices of decent (often imported) material that has had 20 + years of work on the branches and foliage and think that similar value applies to material (often native or garden center) that is far less refined. The realistic price is the one that gets a sale afterall and it's the greedy or unrealistic guy that takes his trees home unsold. Especially when a charity or club is the benefactor - the point is to raise actual cash to help out afterall.

cheers Marcus




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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Tony on Wed Feb 29, 2012 10:24 pm

Having an audience that knows the true value of what is being auctioned helps. At Burrs there were some very good items that went way too cheaply... and other that made a reasonable price... I could have spent a lot more my Carolyn was on my case Embarassed

10% of the cash raised was given to Will and in some cases 100% of the cash on many lots (but this was down to each individual)... Will got over £350 /$550 for his cause

Also having a good crowd helps.


hope this has been helpful Cool

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:28 pm

Our club has a raffle table at every meeting. Some junk, some good stuff. I have taken in ten year old Shimpaku. I took in about a dozen Fukien tea at one meeting. Right now I am waiting to see how they handled repotting to take in some seed grown Acer rubrum that are at least 10 years old. Since I retired I realized that I don't have as much time to work on bonsai projects as I thought I would.

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Wed Feb 29, 2012 11:30 pm

Oh, we also usually raffle the demo tree(s), these were usually purchased from a bonsai nursery for $50 or more. These tickets are usually $5 each, but sometimes the result is worth $100's.

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  PaulH on Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:22 am

Our club auction is usually a successful fund - raiser, although the last couple of years have suffered with the economy and expensive trees (over about $300) haven't been selling. We take a 20% commission on all sales. This year we will begin accepting credit/debit cards as payment for the first time using the iPhone app and expect that to help with the higher end trees.

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Thu Mar 01, 2012 1:24 am

Credit cards, good idea

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Bob Pressler on Fri Mar 02, 2012 1:35 am

All of the above are good ideas but the number one thing is good quality goods to auction off.

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  rock on Fri Mar 02, 2012 5:43 pm

Right Bob,

Our auctions at our club have been off as well. I contacted a local professional auctioneer, and he had tons of ideas and said he could bring in more than he would cost, and make it funner and memorable.

We always struggle to find someone to be auctioneer anyway, so this may be the answer. Now to convince the "Oh we've always done it this way" members.

flower

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Club Auctions

Post  Andy Hardman on Fri Mar 02, 2012 11:48 pm

Hi all,
in all clubs or societies there seems to be a nucleus of members that are actually into bonsai and a much larger proportion that just turn up for the event. Material for auction can be very good but there is only a small amount of people that would consider bidding for it and hence the bidding process does not realise the value of the lots on offer. From a buyers point of view I would strongly advise people to buy from a club auction but from a sellers point of view the audience is generally not large enough or interested enough to generate the true or fair selling price once any commission has been deducted. For the non professionals there are no bigger markets so you cannot reasonably expect a higher price. The benefits are that material can become available at an affordable price but you must also be prepared to sell material at a price somewhat less than your own valuation. It is a great way for club members to attain stock that might otherwise not be available to them but I don't think it is a guaranteed way of raising funds. For the majority this is about enjoyment and passion, not so much about making money.
Regards,
Andy.

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Billy M. Rhodes on Sat Mar 03, 2012 1:06 am

I think Andy has a point. More a social occasion than a for profit activity. From my POV as a seller, I will get more than putting it on the raffle table and I can dispose of excess material to someone who hopefully cares.

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Andy Hardman on Sat Mar 03, 2012 11:37 pm

Hi Billy,
to sell excess material to someone that actually cares is a pleasure in its' own way. To see the same material in a few years time with its proud owner is enough . It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice.
Regards,

Andy.

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Mitch Thomas on Sun Mar 04, 2012 5:51 am

Hello Iris
It maybe to late for this year but this is how club handles our fund raiser. Each year we bring in a master to do a lecture/demo. After we contact a master we cater to the material they prefer and we can afford at the time. The lecture is usually done on a Friday night. The tree produced is to sold at the auction in august of same year. On Saturday we have the workshop with the master. The cost for the workshop pays for the master and the trees for each attendee. When we purchase the trees we need we usually will buy them from the master or we get them from a bonsai wholesaler. Not that I dropping names but Brussells has been very good to us. Buying 20 or more nice prebonsai puts you at a very good buying position.

We also have many donations from all of our members and our auctioneer is very good.

Hope this may give you some ideas.

Mitch

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Re: Improving our Auction

Post  Jay Sinclair on Sun Mar 04, 2012 4:05 pm

In Ann Arbor we instituted a silent auction for the less pricey items. Our auctioneer was spending too much time trying to get bids on starter material, etc., with the result that the auction went on too long. People would leave, and good stuff offered late in the auction would sell way too cheap. I've got a nice black pine that I bought for less than the value of the pot because of this.

Now there is a minimum bid of $15 for items in the live auction, but sellers can set a higher reserve. Everything else goes in the silent auction. This has streamlined the auction, and resulted in fairer prices for the good trees.

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