2019 is starting off with a Bang!

Tonight we start our fundraising season for 2019. It’s my first Monday evening auction we’ll see how it goes, I think we’re going to crush it! Along with our new fundraising clients in 2019 we will be going forward with a couple new partners, stay tuned for our formal announcement later in the month.

I had a Thursday off and went to Las Vegas for the Bonhams motorcycle auction this year. Prices were up on all makes and models of bikes. Interest in vintage motorcycles is strong right now not just here in USA but worldwide. I’ve included a couple of my favorites.

2019 is going to be an exciting year for us and we look forward to meeting you at our next event.

Holy grail of motorcycles the Vincent’s.

Holy grail of motorcycles the Vincent’s.

The King of Cool, Steve McQueen’s Triumph sold for $175,000.

The King of Cool, Steve McQueen’s Triumph sold for $175,000.

End of Summer

Did it feel like the summer just blew by? It did to me! I spent Labor day weekend at the Portland Grand Prix. The Indycars returned back to Portland after their last race here in 2007.

  It was estimated that 40,000 race fans showed up Sunday afternoon for the big race. Having always been a Indycar fan, I opted for spending a little more money and got the pit pass too. I think being in the pits is almost more interesting than the race. You get a chance to watch mechcanics put their final touches on the car before the start of the race. The best part is hearing the cars being warmed up, and they sound awesome too.

My first trip to the race was in 1984, and in those days its was three-day-party! We would ride our motorcycles down from Spokane, and meet up with my friends parents who would drive their motorhome down from eastern Washington. Fun times. Looking forward to next years race.

The good looking guy in the black hat is me! 1984

The good looking guy in the black hat is me! 1984

More Miles

Work and travel never keep me from clocking more miles on my old GPZ. I jump on my bike as often as I can. A spare minute always means another mile.

I have already managed to get a couple of really good rides in this summer. Last month; I made the trip back to my hometown of Spokane to help out my old friend, Jay with his annual car show in neighboring Rosalia. He had invited me back again to be one of the judges for his annual car show. It’s a tough job when there are so many great cars! Besides the old cars, I got to visit and chat with some of my old college friends who also made the trip to Rosalia for the day. 

My old 1983 GPZ ran like a top for the 800-mile round-trip. Even more surprising was how well I held up on the ride! When I rode the exact route last year, the 90-degree heat took it out of me. The much cooler temperature this year made for a much more comfortable ride.

This weekend, I did a couple of my favorite rides. First one had my heading east out of Portland onto Highway 84 towards The Dalles. From there I rode south on the 197 to Tygh Valley, then east onto Highway 216, which took me along the Deschutes River and up Shears Bridge Canyon. It’s a great twisty ride but you have to be careful because not all of the corners have guardrails. If you go off the road, it’s a hell of a long ways down to the bottom of the canyon! I continued on by connecting through Grass Valley onto Highway 97, then hooking onto Highway 84 westbound back to Portland. It’s a great 300-mile ride that I would highly recommend.

The next day, I took a quick spin to Mount Hood with a quick visit to Timberline Lodge. The road around the backside of the mountain takes you through the wineries and fruit tree farms of Hood River. It really was a perfect weekend of riding.

Did I do the speed limit?

Did I do the speed limit?

Sherars Bridge Canyon - a fun and fast series of twists and turns

Sherars Bridge Canyon - a fun and fast series of twists and turns

In the background is Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mount Hood

In the background is Oregon’s tallest mountain, Mount Hood

Taking a selfie break along the Columbia Gorge Highway

Taking a selfie break along the Columbia Gorge Highway


October kicks off the fall fundraising season here at srdorsey auctioneering! Instead of the bevy of beer and bratwurst that defines Oktoberfest, our month is chockerblock full of benefits and galas, special appeals and fundraising auctions.

This year, we are back at the World of Speed Museum. We are working again with Chad Brown and his Soul River Foundation in Portland, then onto San Francisco for the Wild Salmon Center 25th anniversary celebration at the end of the month. We will likely raise over a million dollars at these three auctions alone. Very exciting stuff.

On the car side of things; I worked a collector car auction with my old boss Mitch Silver, over the weekend. We'll be meeting up again in Southern California and Las Vegas. Check back in with us at the end of the month to see how we made out!

Fall Ride

The weather was perfect here in Portland this weekend. The smoke and ash from the nearby Columbia Gorge fires had cleared; so I decided to head out on my bike for a couple of motorcycle events.

Saturday, I headed over to Cycle Heaps annual fall swap meet. I'd been looking for a couple parts for my Honda CBX. Though I didn't find what I was looking for, I did come across this old 1965 Yamaha 80 80 that I liked. I ended up leaving empty-handed

On Sunday, I joined my friend Glen for a ride over to the Lighthouse Inn. We ended up in Linnton to join the Sang Froid Riding Club for its annual fall ride. The Sang Froid Club is a two-stroke motorcycle club, but this year they allowed a few of us four-strokers to join in on the ride too. There was a good mix of bikes. All-in-all, about three dozen bikes showed up. The ride took us on the old Vernonia Highway and along the Nehalem River. I met some great people and had a blast on the ride.


Traveling Man

Last week was my busiest travel so far this year. I covered a lot of miles in a very short amount of time.

It started here in Portland after my weekly Wednesday Crosspoint auction gig. From there, I headed to the airport for my 3pm flight to California; a quick stop in Oakland and by 930pm, I had landed in Ontario. An early get-up Thursday morning to catch my shuttle ride to Riverside got me to the Highline Sale. From there, I caught a ride with my friend Rod for the four-hour drive to Vegas. I happened to be staying at the same hotel where the Mecum Motorcycle Auction was held, so I caught a glimpse of that. As luck would have it; three of the best professional motorcycle racers from the 70's and 80's, Gene Romero, Jay Springsteen, and Don Castroon were all on-hand for a VIP Q&A session. It. Was. Awesome!

I was up early again Friday morning to work the Manheim Nevada auction. My lane started at 9am sharp. I had 150 Kia's to sell. I sold 100% of them. By 1045am, I was jumping back on the airport shuttle to McCarran Airport, where I caught the 1230pm departure back to Portland. My plane touched down at 230pm; from there, I headed home to do a quick repack. My next stop was Rosalia, Washington; where I am a judge for my long-time friend, Jay's annual hot rod bash. So I took off from Portland again and did the six-hour drive up to Spokane, Washington. I made it to my parents' house at 10pm and pretty much, went straight to bed. An early get-up Saturday morning, so I could join my parents for their weekly breakfast meet-up at Denny's. I took the long way around Spokane to Rosalia, driving the old highway which winds through the Palouse. Once in Rosalia, I judged 70 cars to come up with the best in the bunch. It sure was hard to pick a winner. After the show and a quick bit of socializing, I headed back to Spokane to have a visit with my parents and to spend the night. I was up very early Sunday morning for my six-hour drive back to Portland.

What a whirlwind of a week - 4 states in 72 hours!

Bourbon Bonanza

We got into a little bit of bourbon over the holidays. While I'm not a huge spirits guy, I don't mind a good cocktail once in awhile. My co-writer for this piece, Al, enjoys a scotch on the rocks every now and again. So we tried a couple of new bottles and discovered a few gems.

Portland's own Burnside Bourbon paired perfectly with homemade Bananas Foster, continuing along with our steakhouse-themed Christmas dinner. Then we prematurely popped the cork on the Jefferson's Reserve a night before our official New Year's Eve toast. It was an amazing bottle; still lingering on the palette nearly an hour after our last sips.

A summer sipper that we have also enjoyed is Long Table Distillery's Bourbon Barrel Aged Gin. While not whiskey-based; with a hint of caramel and smoke, it's a great alternative for those who prefer clear spirits, but are open to a little more depth and complexity. It's only available at the downtown distillery in Vancouver, Canada. I would say well-worth the trek.

Thanks for a Great Year!

This past weekend, the srdorsey auction team finished up another successful fundraising auction season. In 2016, I'm proud to say that we helped over 20 non-profit societies, public and private schools, and charitable foundations reach their fundraising goals! Overall giving was up this year; but the auctions that took place during the uncertainty of election week, may have suffered a bit of pull-back. Despite 2016's being an election year, each and every one of our returning clients saw an increase in what they had raised from the year before.

I'm very excited to welcome four new clients who will be joining the srdorsey auctioneering team in 2017! I'm really looking forward to 2017's turning into another great fundraising year too. Please also join me in welcoming Dave Colson to our team. You may have already seen him around on the ballroom floor. In the new year, he will be making regular appearances as ringman and lending his hand as auctioneer too.

Our 2017 event calendar is filling up fast! If you're looking to bringing us back again in the coming year or considering holding your very first fundraising auction; the srdorsey auctioneering team would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Thanks everybody, for a great year!

Back at the Track

I've had a busy summer full of trips to visit old friends and to work car auctions. So with a weekend at home, I headed out to the Portland International Raceway to watch the Sportscar Vintage Racing Association Vintage Car Races this past Saturday. It had been a few years since I'd made my way out there and this year did not disappoint. There was a great mix of cars and a couple even had a local connection to Portland.

If you've never been to Portland, the PIR is actually managed by the Portland Parks Department and is located 10 minutes from downtown Portland. It's also connected to the MAX, Portland's public light rail system. With the exception of temporary road courses built for one-off events, it is the closest racetrack located in or to any major city in the USA.

Along with Porsches, Corvettes, stock cars, MGs and other British racing cars; there were lots of open-wheel cars and a couple of vintage Indy cars. The one that I was most interested in was the car that Jim Clark last raced here in the States. The race was at Riverside in the Rex May 300.  It was 1967. Two months later, he would die in an accident in Europe. This particular car was built here in Portland, Oregon by the legendary car-builder, Rolla Vollstedt. Rolla built many of the cars which competed in the Indy 500 races of the '60s.

I also got the chance to meet two of my childhood racing heroes. Both Al Unser Sr. and Al Unser Jr. acted as grand marshals for the weekend's races. I have always been a fan of them both, throughout their storied racing careers. They were gracious enough to let me grab a photo with them. I got their autographs too.

Bikes and Lattes

The combination of perfect weather, no weekend work and a fully functioning vintage motorcycle all added up to make a memorable Saturday afternoon ride around my wonderful city, Portland. I wish I could have more time for weekends like I did this past weekend. My neighbor and fellow biker nut buddy had a great ride to Portland's newest motorcycle inspired coffee shop. Located in historic St. Johns, Two Stroke Moto Cafe is fast becoming the destination ride for PNW riders and coffee drinkers. It was great to join all the other Portland riders, talking motorcycles and enjoying coffee. The guys there make a great vanilla latte.

Yeah, Portland's built up a lot of traffic since I've lived here; but when everything lines up, it's still one of the greatest places to ride a motorcycle.

Fall is Here

I had a great summer this year. Though like most of them, it went by too quickly. I had a chance to do a couple road trips - out to the Oregon Coast, the Gorge and up to Vancouver Canada, my favorite city, second to Portland. I feel really lucky to live here in the Pacific Northwest and I get out as often as I can, to enjoy all that it has to offer.

I had a pretty easy summer in regards to my workload. Without the weekly trips between Portland and Seattle, I was only on a plane every other week. Summer isn't a particularly busy time for fundraisers; though we had a couple of fundraising auctions. So I get to start this fall fundraising season completely refreshed and ready to go.

We're working on a couple of exciting new ventures for the New Year. As soon as we have some 2016 details finalized and dates set, we'll make an announcement. Keep checking back here to be in the know.

Ali, our one-woman Communications team, will also be starting a seasonal e-newsletter to keep srdorsey clients and friends appraised of what's happening. So if you want to stay current on the world of auctions or where we are and what we're doing; drop me a line and we'll make sure we keep in touch with you. Please feel free to include any topic requests or inquiries and we'll do our best to help you out.

Hot hot hot

Everything is hot in NE Portland right now. The pavement, the days as well as the nights, but especially the real estate.

The rate at which properties are being snapped up, the speed at which houses are being torn down and going right back up, and the height at which the prices are sky-rocketing is astonishing. That is what comes with progress and popularity. Portland is having its day in the spotlight. On each and every single block in my neighbourhood; there is a sold sign, a moving truck parked, or a construction crew. Pools and retaining walls, renovations and new construction, multi-family and multi-purpose buildings on the main strip. Everybody's doing it. So much has changed in this last year. I believe it will continue to happen, as the city spreads further out. Young families are settling in. Retirees are immigrating from other parts of the States. New businesses pop up on a very regular basis on Alberta Street. It's exciting times for the neighborhood and I feel lucky to be a part of it.

In particular, I'm watching a house go up on the bluff. The lot has a great view overlooking the city just above the treetops. Even though it's going to be the newest and most modern house on the block, it blends in peculiarly well. I can't wait to see the finished product. It happens to be designed by a Vancouver architect. I'm not talking about Vancouver WA either. We're talking its Canadian counterpart, Vancouver BC.

So while the real estate and weather continue to heat up in Portland, make sure you stay hydrated and don't forget your SPF. Stay cool out there.

A Crazy Week

The week is gearing up to be a crazy one but I wanted to keep in touch. So I dug an old blog out of All Things Real Estate that helps to explain buyer's fees. I hope you'll take a look and get something out of it. See you back here soon. I have to go now; to plan and host a graduation, a big birthday and a wedding anniversary!


Strike the match

Too many organizations look at the paddle raise or special appeal as a separate item of the auction. I prefer to look at the paddle raise as the central part of the evening. Typically, no single auction item will ever sell for as much as you could raise through the appeal. Using your pre-committed dollars as a match creates an exciting and interactive way for donors, patrons and the auctioneer to grow the appeal by as little as 25% from the year before to a whopping 100%.

These kind of increases are entirely possible to obtain. With some good preplanning, this could be a reality at your next auction.  It's what I call the Magic of the Match.  What is more exciting than announcing to your audience that you have a $10,000 gift waiting in the wings? Maybe challenging everyone in the room to try matching it his own donation? I think most would agree that the second scenario is just a little or a lot more exciting. Instead of a simple ask, we have created a bit of excitement by whipping up a little bit of a competitive frenzy. There's nothing wrong in a little bit of friendly competition in a crowd that's working together towards a common goal.

While corporate and personal matches at the higher levels grab most of the headlines, it is the donors in the room who are giving at the $250, $100 and $50 dollar levels who we really want to engage in the matching process. Recently, at a smaller event, we used a $1,000 donation as a match at the $100 level and ended up raising another $3,000. We did the same with a $500 gift which brought in another $1,500 via 30 separate donors at $50 a piece.

Raise more of those bid cards high up in the air at your next auction!











Re-ignite the fire

Have you been watching as the attendance to your annual benefit drops year after year? Are you resorting to comping tickets just to put bums in chairs? Does anyone laugh at your MC's jokes anymore? Is the crowd tired of listening to the live auction drag on and on?

Maybe your event is suffering from BAS, the boring auction syndrome. Typically, the first call to action is to get rid of the MC and the auctioneer you've been using forever and replace them with professionals who have proven results. You will notice the difference immediately on the stage, in your event revenues, and even on your invoice from your auctioneer. As they say, "You get what you pay for." Someone who can turn your event around or grow your fundraising revenues year after year is worth his weight in gold. I've been on both ends of the stick and typically; if you've done your homework, you'll notice improvements in your event right away, whether big or small. Though if the core components of your benefit remain unchanged, so will your results. Auction prizes are typically the same at most fundraising events: art, wine, trips, special dinner and hotel packages or maybe even a one-on-one meeting with a B-list celebrity. While auction prizes make up some of the building blocks of your benefit, they are never going to be the components that bring your special event to that next level.

So how do you make the leap? While not a new concept, it's the people who make the event. Whether it's the tireless dynamos who sit on your fundraising board, or the generous patrons in the audience, or even the best audio-visual techs in town; it all comes down to the people. Brainstorming, event-planning, ticket-selling - every component it takes to put together a successful event, requires the person who best fits the job! Have you ever been successful at putting a square peg into a round hole? Shaking things up on your planning committee and on your stage may be just the changes your event needs. Heck, move the stage and change the venue while you're at it! This may be just what it takes to get your auction rocking again. Ask the members of your board, the loyal guests people who have been coming to your event year in and year out, maybe even some of your event volunteers. A cross-group brainstorming session may reveal the answer or answers you need to reconnect with your audience or to re-energize your planning committee. There is no end to the resources or ideas that can re-ignite your auction's fire. Give one or all of these ideas a try as you begin planning for your next benefit auction.

Beware of the man in the tuxedo

I'm always curious to know more when I hear or read about someone who says he 'specializes as a fundraising auctioneer'.

Why have I not heard his or her name before? Who is this person? Is he or she professionally trained? What kind of auction experience did he or she have before becoming a benefit specialist or expert?

Fundraisers are a collaborative event. A professional auctioneer will make sure that all the behind the scenes work is properly and completely done. This is the first of many important steps that it takes to produce an evening of giving that is both seamless and successful.   

I have been an auctioneer working in the Pacific Northwest for over twenty-five years. I have auctioned off date nights with Hollywood stars. children's art, school teachers' homemade baking, tens of thousands of wholesale and collector cars, as well as California real estate. I have worked with hundreds of other auctioneers. Among the lot of us, we have a few thousand years of experience combined and have easily seen hundreds of billions of dollars change hands. Boy, that makes me sound old!

Like any other profession, it takes years of learning and doing to master one's craft. A proficient auctioneer is not as easy to find as it seems. What you can expect of him or her when you find one is this:

A great auctioneer connects with your audience.
He or she establishes the tone and momentum of the auction.
An auctioneer never misses a guest with his bid card in the air.
He communicates and carries on with everyone with ease and finesse.
After he sells the crowd every single live auction lot, he is still able to draw more money out of your guests during the special appeal!

It's true that we all have to start somewhere. The question is, do you want an auctioneer who's wet behind the ears to use your event as his guinea pig? Before you hire someone; ask for his or her credentials, have a look at his portfolio, watch her in action. Best to see it before you believe it. You know what they say, “If it sounds too good to be true..."