At the recent A-list celebrity party at The Podium Lounge, a live auction of authenticated F1™ Memorabilia took place with the following items, such as Fernando Alonso signed race shoe framed with a custom matboard, Michael Schumacher hand signed full size Ferrari Race Suit and artwork by artist Aamin Flossdorf. Eliterate.Asia caught up with Mr Richard Ernster, Director and Co-Founder of the Helping Hand Group.
How was the initial years for Helping Hands like ?
Extremely interesting! We had a chain of Memorabilia stores in Sydney, and using the Memorabilia for Fundraising purposes happened a little bit like Osmosis, with the idea germinating from a supplier of ours in LA, and then gathering momentum as the number of events we assisted at blossomed.
Basically we created the “Silent Auction” industry, as most Charities only did Live Auctions and Raffles, back in 1997. Our offices started in Sydney (1997), then Melbourne (1999), Perth (2002), Brisbane (2004), Hong Kong (2006) and Singapore (2007).
Do you have any personal experience that made Helping Hands so unique from other charitable organizations ?
Helping Hand Group are innovators. We do not simply wait for small competitors to come up with ideas, trial them, and then implement them at our events. Simply put, we create. From our belief that we provide all our services at absolutely NO-cost to charities and clients (whether the event is in Ulaanbaatar to United Arab Emirates), through to our creation of Ballot Bidding ® (which allows guests to bid their maximum, as a one-time bid, and save them from spending the entire event checking on their bids in the Silent Auction).
How do you tailor according to different fund raising proile ?
We have a set of matrixes to go off, but basically, guest numbers plays a significant part of the equation, example under 100 guests and over 100 guests is the first part of the puzzle. Also whether the event is a sit-down Dinner/Lunch, or a stand party event (like Podium Lounge).
We work with each client to tailor our approach to best suit their needs.
How do you get contacts for the auction pieces ?
This would be like giving away the secret-spices for KFC! It is built over a decade or more, of trust, reliable supply, and unquestionable sources as authenticity to us is paramount!
Other than Australia, do you take part in auctions in other parts of Asia ? Are they the same or different ?
We service Auctions in every part of Asia! From our Singapore and Hong Kong headquarters, we offer our unique items and services to China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, The Philippines, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Mongolia, Macau, basically wherever there is need to raise money.
The events in Asia do tend to be similar, with hand-signed Memorabilia being the big hit. In Australia, Holidays and money can’t-buy Experiences (such as the item mentioned below) tend to sell better than Memorabilia.
Can you describe who mooted the idea for ‘Voyage of a Lifetime Experience ?’
We are in a unique position in that our clients have items Donated to them from their Sponsors. Hence we have seen over time that Cruises sell well at events. However, in true Helping Hand Group style, we did not simply want to copy, we wanted to create. Hence adding the entirely unique ‘Meet the Captain experience’, to the offer of a Penthouse Suite on the World’s most luxurious and famous Ocean line, Cunard, made an auction item that is not available anywhere else on the planet!
We worked closely with Cunard in Sydney and Southampton to ensure the product was not offered anywhere else.
What keeps you going ?
Ensuring that each year, more events are serviced, therefore bigger donations are raised than the year before. For example, where we met at the Podium Lounge, the donation in 2014 was 50% BIGGER than in 2013. Considering this was our 6th year of assisting this event, to achieve 150% of the 5th year total is very inspiring, and I feel, a real feather in the cap of Helping Hand Group.
The Helping Hand Group has helped to raise money for leading charities by providing Holidays, Experience, Jewellery, Memorabilia and Artworks for fundraising through Live Auctions, Silent Auctions, Ballot Bidding and Electronic Ballot Bidding.