Testimonial: Seth Weiner, BAS

I was awarded the prestigious Foundation’s CAI scholarship for 2020, and then COVID-19 postponed it. Fortunately, the scholarship was carried over to 2021, where CAI went virtual. I have to admit, at first, I was hesitant to participate in the virtual not knowing how the class would connect if not in-person? In the end, this wasn’t an issue as there is something in the CAI Kool Aid! I am so glad that I decided to attend and am looking forward to completing the CAI program and growing in this industry with my CAI Family.

The scholarship was very important to me for 2020 as I was in the middle of changing my career from the music industry to full time benefit auctioneering with no budget for continuing education. Then came COVID-19 and, like most others in our industry, I had lost all of my income. It goes without saying that without the scholarship assistance there would be no way I would have been able to attend CAI 2021.

The education CAI provided was top notch with super knowledgeable and incredible instructors. Even though CAI this year ended up being a hybrid with some virtual and others in-person, a solid bond was made within the class. I can’t wait to see how we deepen our connection over the next two years. I am excited to share that I’m already experiencing positive results from CAI from how I present my proposals, to client referrals, and a general excitement about my career. Thank you, National Auctioneers Foundation, from the bottom of my heart, for supporting auctioneers such as myself with our journeys.

Testimonial: Jim Alban

Good Day, NAA! I’m Jim Alban, principal/owner of Jim Alban• Auctioneer Benefit­ Charity Galas & Events. I reside in Monroe, Ml (near Detroit, Ml) and have assisted non-profit organizations as well as schools and special fundraising causes for over 30 years in Central, Southeast & Southwest USA and Canada.

I’m a former Director of Development (Salvation Army) and Executive Director of a YMCA facility. In addition I’ve chaired and committed on four successful Capital Campaigns for the YMCA, Salvation Army and the former Mercy-Memorial Hospital in Monroe, Ml. 

Like several other noted benefit-charity auctioneers I’ve met over the years, I started out helping non-profits with fundraising via live auctions pro-bona. When my success with these continued, so did my proven reputation. I soon became a professional and joined the Michigan & National Auctioneers Associations and broadened my career path with an increased network of the most wonderful and helpful fellow auctioneers. I’m an alumnus of Jenelle Taylors “BOOTCAMP for Benefit Auctioneers” and a contributing author of her book, “Boost Your Benefit Auction.” I’ve also attended two NAA Benefit Auction Summits.

I knew the next logical step with moving my career forward was to attain the NAA Benefit Auction Specialist designation. The BAS course is typically offered at the NAA Annual Convention and the NAA Designation Academy every December in Las Vegas, NV. I realize we all have challenging schedules, and in my case, I wasn’t able to attend any of these offerings in the past.

Things changed in a multitude of ways in 2020, and the opportunity for attending the BAS class in December became possible as it was virtual via Zoom. My schedule was wide open, which also meant that my business bank account was wide open. As with many fellow auctioneers, over 85 percent of my business was gone due to Covid-19 guidelines. My option was to apply for the National Auctioneers Foundation Scholarship, of which I am so grateful to have been awarded. I deeply appreciate and value being awarded the NAA Foundation Scholarship for the BAS designation at the NAA Designation Academy in December of 2020. Thank You! 

This could be where my sharing ends, but not so. There is much more to scholarships other than the funding they so generously supply. Being awarded this scholarship showed me I’m supported, and it changed the way I connect with the NAA. Writing this article is a most direct example of being a NAA Foundation Scholarship awardee. I plan on communicating with the NAA regarding updates of how my career is moving forward with the help of the BAS scholarship.

Building connections with other awardees in various means is also an opportunity made possible. The recommenders, supporters and character references of my scholarship application realize even further my commitment to enhancing my benefit-charity auctioneer career. If you win a scholarship, your focus and professional purpose will change, such as increasing your professional commitment in a variety of ways. Your sense of responsibility for being awarded this scholarship creates a mindset of obligation & duty as you continue with your career. Think of it as an investment in your future.  In conclusion, you may go on to be more philanthropic yourself. I recently contributed to the NAA Foundation and plan on making that an annual donation, I encourage your consideration in doing the same. To you & yours, keep safe and stay healthy. There is light at the end of the (Covid) tunnel and it’s not a train.

Sid Miedema, CAI

The NAA has been essential for the success of many auctioneers. I know it has helped me professionally in many ways. It also has provided me with many lifetime friendships that have enriched my life. Since the Foundation supports many endeavors of the NAA, I count it a privilege to give to the Foundation every year. Here are a few of the endeavors the Foundation supports:

  • Scholarships given to those who are seeking to improve their auction professionalism or are just beginning in the auction industry
  • Educational seminars are held for those of us who are seeking to improve our auction professionalism and better serve our customers and clients
  • Preserving and helping us remember our auction history

As an auction professional, I believe supporting the Foundation is also one of the best business decisions I can make. The Foundation has helped the auction industry grow to be more accepted. Without the Foundation’s support and promotion of the auction industry, there would not have been as many opportunities as we have enjoyed over the past years.

For those of us who appreciate supporting worthwhile causes, the Foundation provides an excellent opportunity to do this. Giving to help an industry that has greatly helped us is enjoyable. Giving to help those just starting out or those seeking to improve is satisfying. Please join me in supporting the Foundation and the auction industry by giving to the National Auctioneers Foundation.

Foundation Funds NAA 2020 Education Program Amid Pandemic

In March of 2020, as it became apparent that the COVID-19 Virus was becoming a disruptive force in the world and was declared a pandemic; NAA leadership took immediate steps to reevaluate our budget and make adjustments to how we conducted the business of the National Auctioneers Association. As part of that process, the Board and staff investigated numerous ways to trim our budget, remain fiscally solvent and continue to provide the valuable services our members expect.

After careful review and numerous suggested cuts in all segments of the budget, coupled with conservative projections of how revenues would be affected, we still faced a significant deficit. The Executive Committee reviewed and discussed the suggested changes and developed a strategy for moving forward. We decided to request that the Foundation underwrite the entire education budget for 2020. 

As the NAA Executive Committee liaison to Foundation, I was charged with making that request. As should be the case, Trustees inquired as to the necessity of the funds and asked for assurances that the NAA board was making all reasonable and possible cuts. I conveyed that the NAA board understood that this was not a request that we could make on an ongoing basis.

With strong support of the Foundation Board of Trustees, the Foundation granted the request to underwrite NAA education programs for 2020. This infusion of cash allowed NAA leadership the flexibility it needed to move forward with essential programs and services, without sustaining major losses.

The Board of Trustees made an outstanding commitment to the advancement of the auction profession. All its members can take pride in knowing that they assisted in the preservation of the voice of the auction profession. Even without considering the support routinely provided by the Foundation, this one act, from my perspective, makes it a worthy cause to receive my support for many years to come.

—Tim Mast, CAI, AARE, past NAA president

Foundation Supports Virtual NAA Designation Courses like BAS

“The show must go on” for the Benefit Auction Specialist designation class of 2020. For the first time ever, the class was offered virtually on Zoom due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Thanks to the generosity of the Foundation for underwriting this class, and to the creative work of the NAA staff, this popular show did, indeed, go on, with Lance Walker CAI, BAS, CES, and myself, Scott Robertson CAI, BAS, as instructors.

Because of the virtual format, we incorporated additional resources with guest presenters from all over the nation. NAA President Terri Walker, CAI, BAS, CES,opened our session.Benefit Auctioneer and Foundation President Christie King, CAI, AMM, BAS, discussed the importance of the work of the Foundation. CEO Hannes Combest, FASAE, CAE, maintained a watchful eye on the class throughout the course. She also spoke about the NAA, the importance of investing in designation classes, and the benefits of being an NAA member. Trisha Brauer, CAI, BAS, frequent BAS instructor, taught an inspiring unit on business development.

New for this year’s course was the addition of a 4-hour unit on Virtual Fundraising Galas. In addition to the virtual classroom work, the course included a panel discussion on virtual fundraising galas by pioneering industry experts, Misty Marquam, BAS, Freddie Silveria, BAS, and Cathy MacPherson.

According to attendee Tarryn Jordaan: “The module about the Virtual Fundraising Events was crucial and of immense value to us in this time of COVID.”

Much to our delight, students were motivated, asked great questions, and greatly increased their knowledge, remaining engaged and interested with 8 hours of instruction each day. Virtual education works, and it worked well at BAS 2020.

Libby Pollack said, “Due to my schedule, I could never attend the Designation Academy in person, this virtual experience was perfect for me”.

NAA Director of Education Kristina Franz said, “We look forward to when in-person education can be done again, but are so thankful that virtual education is a viable and valuable option to learn and interact with fellow students and instructors!”

Jason Troutman, a student in the class, mentioned, “Not only did we learn together as a class, we really enjoyed ourselves.” Of the students responding to the after class survey, 100 percent agreed the class was helpful and important to them as an auction professional.

Once the class was complete, Lance Walker stated, “I was skeptical at first regarding the BAS designation being taught virtually, but it turned out great. I guess you can teach old dogs, like Scott and me, new tricks.”

-Scott Robertson, CAI, BAS