BAS designation – Benefit Auctioneer Specialist

This entry is part 4 of 6 in the series NAA designations

Arguably the most varied section of the auction industry with regards to training and professionalism is that of benefit auctions. There are many professionals who have been auctioneers for many years who specialize in charity and fundraising evens. Yet there are still many organizations who still hire DJs and hobbyist bid callers to perform their auctions. These uninformed organizations thus miss out on many of the more advanced money-making components and techniques brought to the table by professional benefit auctioneers.

What sets the professionals apart from the hobbyists? For what credential in an auctioneer’s resume can an organization look to assure them that the auctioneer can handle their event with education-induced professionalism?

The National Auctioneers Association offers the Benefit Auctioneer Specialist (BAS) designation course. It’s a three-day course that teaches the components, techniques and possible pitfalls of charity events from large-scale galas to smaller fundraisers. Here’s the description from the NAA website.

Benefit auctions are one of the fasting growing segments of the auction business.

This course is designed to teach the planning techniques that create successful benefit auctions. Learn to specialize your marketing skills and create a business strategy to build your clientèle and profits.

In addition to classroom instruction, students will usually attend a benefit auction to observe the process from start to finish.

Benefit Auctioneer Specialist BAS logo

Benefit Auctioneer Specialist, BAS

Course topics include:

  • Fundraising components of benefit auctions
  • Item acquisition
  • Audience development
  • Additional revenue items
  • Contractual agreements
  • Solicitation of benefit auction clients
  • Public relations and self-promotion

Before receiving the designation, an auctioneer must submit a benefit auction summary report. As with all NAA designation courses, there is the yearly designation fee and continuing education requirement.

We caught up with Dee McKee, BAS, and asked her about her experience with the course.

The BAS designation can be earned by individuals who are not trained in bid calling, but who work in concert with professional auctioneers. Having a BAS designation brings an auction professional with both technical and legal expertise to benefit fundraising events. The use of contract is emphasized as it focuses and assigns responsibilities on details such as sound system, ringing, settlement amounts, and access to addresses. This along with BAS knowledge in how to generate the maximum dollars through timing and introduction of diverse marketing, bidding and staging methods can make significant differences in the dollar results of any benefit event.

If you’re an auctioneer looking to expand into the charity and benefit sectors, taking the BAS course is a must. If you’re an organization looking to increase your bottom line from your fundraising, look for an auctioneer with the BAS designation.

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Aaron Traffas, CAI, ATS, CES | |

Aaron Traffas, CAI, AMM, CES, is an auctioneer from Sharon, Kansas. For the last 22 years he's worked for Purple Wave. Aaron served as president of the Kansas Auctioneers Association in 2017 and on the National Auctioneers Association Education Institute Board of Trustees from 2009 through 2013. He is a past instructor at CAI and co-wrote the original ATS and AMM designation courses from NAA. An active contract bid caller, he has advanced to the finals in multiple state auctioneer contests. During the summer, Aaron operates a farm in south central Kansas. Aaron is an active singer and songwriter and the Aaron Traffas Band's latest music can be found at as well as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon.