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jfkPresident John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address given Jan. 20, 1961 is well known.

Most remember one key sentence from that speech more than any other.

“… Ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

We’ve embedded the entire speech later if you care to relive those 14 minutes.

Our topic today regards membership in auctioneer associations. Such can be the National Auctioneers Association or one of over 50 other like associations in the United States and other countries.

Often times, auctioneers join associations for the benefits of membership — what the association can do for them. We would respectfully suggest a better strategy would be to join to benefit the association.

In other words, ask not what your association can do for you, but what you can do for your association.

What can auctioneers do for their associations? Many things:

  1. Join. Associations rely on membership dues as a material part of their budget. The more members, the more the association is able to provide benefits and services.
  2. Attend. Most associations have annual conferences and some have summer events or other special seminars. Attending those events helps the association provide quality venues and speakers, and furnishes the member with great educational offerings and often continuing education credits.
  3. Run for office. Most associations have both board positions and offices such as president, vice-president, secretary and treasurer to fill. Becoming a board member or officer provides that auctioneer a chance to improve their leadership, communication and management skills.
  4. Submit media. Nearly all associations have magazines or periodic publications and are always looking for quality submissions such as articles and/or pictures. Writing about or photographing the auction business can be enlightening and rewarding.
  5. Advertise and sponsor. Associations have various ways auctioneer members can sponsor convention events, dinners, receptions and the like. As well, publications often have space for advertisements. These sponsorships and advertisements help the association as well as publicize the auctioneer.
  6. Teach classes. Almost any auctioneer event is looking for quality speakers and teachers. By offering to teach, this helps members refine their teaching and presentation skills, and open other doors for speaking engagements.
  7. Exhibit. The National Auctioneers Association hosts the premier auctioneer trade show on earth at the NAA Conference and Show each summer. Many state associations host trade shows as well. Exhibiting can advertise member services and products in a venue unlike any other.
  8. Compete. Most associations host various contests and competitions including bid calling championships, marketing contests, etc. By competing, members learn how to improve their skills in those areas, and better serve their clients as a result.
  9. Donate items. Members can donate items to the association’s fun auction or other events. These donations help fund the association and other good causes and are great advertising for the member auctioneer.
  10. Volunteer. Nearly all associations need volunteers. Members can offer to help with convention registration, classroom monitoring, fun auction support, contest judging, and a myriad of other tasks. In return, volunteering gives the member a feeling of self-worth, respect, and good experience managing assignments of this type.

Some younger auctioneers have told me that they engage socially on Facebook and the like and that such Internet-based socialization gives them all they need. I typically reply, “Maybe so, but it’s not about what the social platform gives you, but what you can gain by giving …”


Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. His Facebook page is: www.facebook.com/mbauctioneer. He serves as Adjunct Faculty at Columbus State Community College and is Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.