” In my 20+ years organizing events and raising money in the non-profit sector there is no one more reliable, with broad experience, who can read a room and raise the most money in the least amount of time and leave people feeling that they have been to a good show. Bill is my go-to guy for Auctions.”
Director, Special Projects
Bill Heffernan recollects how his his career as a charity auctioneer began. ” It was quite by chance actually “, he recounts. At one of his own charity events in the mid-nineties Heffernan was sent to the stage to auction off the remaining items as ” fast as I could ” because the show was running at least an hour behind time, and the organizers could see people leaving their seats even before the big items were up for bidding. The celebrity guest auctioneers had put on an entertaining show for sure, but the organizers were looking for more money, not more laughs. And time was running out.
” I’d never done a live auction before but I remembered an old song by Jerry Van Dyke called The Auctioneer and I had attended the Yearling Sales Auctions at Woodbine Racetrack back in the 70’s, so I just kind of invented a rat-a-tat-tat rhythmic style of call based on those two examples and recollections and it seems I just stumbled onto something that sounded like an auctioneers call. ”
One year later at the same event a professional auctioneer managed to offend most of the women in attendance with tired, sexist remarks, and once again Heffernan was summoned to the stage, a position he has never relinquished, as he’s been there ever since, almost 20 years.
And that led to many other auctioning gigs for various charitable organizations, community groups, and schools. Some of these are listed below:
The Student School
Homes First Foundation
Robert F. Hall Secondary School
St. Augustine Secondary School
“thestudentschool, a social-justice/activist oriented alternative school raised funds for women’s shelters from 1982 to 2012. From 2002 onwards, the main event was an evening live auction. Instrumental to making this a “must attend” event was the work of volunteer auctioneer Bill Heffernan. Over this period, the event grew from raising $4000 a night to $15000. Billy’s energy, humour and auctioning skills ensured that participants laughed and bid their way through hours of items.”
Mark Fischer, John Morton, thestudentschool, 2012