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The Benefits of Auctioneering

Pete Springer/OPB

Have you ever wondered how auctioneers learn to speak so quickly? On this show we’ll pull the curtain and reveal the art of auctioneering — specifically as a method of fundraising. Kelly Russell moved to Oregon a few years ago, and not long after her arrival, she discovered she wanted to become a benefit auctioneer. Her career path has taken off almost as quickly as she can do a tongue twister. Russell says she loves her job because she gets to broker transactions between givers and receivers — an art she says, that benefits all.

People have been auctioning their wares since Ancient Roman times when Marcus Aurelius sold family furniture at auctions to pay off debts. An auctioneer’s job is to attract the highest bidder to convert stuff into cash. It’s a vocation that requires special marketing, speech and interpersonal communication skills. The range of auction forums has expanded since the advent of the Internet, but there are still some types of auctions that are well served by a live auctioneer; among them are benefit auctions.

Benefit auctioneers serve the nonprofit sector, which has been hit hard by the recession. Charities are reporting that overall donations remain below pre-recessionary levels; restricting many nonprofits’ abilities to give aid, according to a new survey (pdf). Have you donated money through a charity auction? Have you been inspired (or convinced!) by an auctioneer to give more?

If you donate money, what do you know about the people your gift supports. If you’ve received support from a charity, do you feel connected to the people who gave?

auctioneers giving receiving charity

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