Consulting / Testimonials

“The Long Beach Symphony Orchestra has an annual special event that had been successful for over 20 years. It includes a live and silent auction and elegant dinner. The leaders of the Orchestra realized that the net income from the event was slowing declining each year. More and more not-for-profit organizations were holding competing events. But the most alarming symptom was that the event was getting stale. We were stuck in the past and did not know how to move forward. We could see that if we couldn’t reinvent this event, we were going to be in serious trouble in a very short time.

The solution was The Gavel Group.  Two years ago, we hired Larry Zucker as a consultant and then after using him in that capacity for a year, we increased our participation with The Gavel Group. They are now assisting us in many different aspects of our special event. Net income is up and the satisfaction of our donors and the energy of the event has also increased.

What Larry and The Gavel Group brought to our event was a new vision and new ideas. The depth of thinking that larry has done on auctions is staggering! We talked to him for hours and hours and the great ideas never stopped coming! But most importantly, Larry was willing to worth within our existing traditions to make our event more effective. I’m sure you have all had the experience of hiring a smooth-talking consultant that has one great speech, but can’t seem to make their ideas relevant to your organization. The Gavel Group is not that kind of consultant. They are great partner and they listen as well as they lecture. If you are starting a new event, or need to reinvigorate an old one. The Gavel Group is the one consulting organization I would recommend without reservation. “


– Long Beach Symphony Orchestra

“What Larry and The Gavel Group brought to our event was a new vision and new ideas. The depth of thinking that Larry has done on auctions is staggering! We talked to him for hours and hours and the great ideas never stopped coming! But most importantly, Larry was willing to work within our existing traditions to make our event more effective.”


– Long Beach Symphony Orchestra

“Our one-day crash course with Larry helped us retool our auction in many productive ways. From “big picture” ideas to the nitty-gritty details of bidding and receipting, Larry offered creative ways to add excitement, influence bidders’ behavior, and ultimately raise more revenue for student scholarships.”


– Kansas University Alumni Association

“Although we have had a very successful auction over the last several years, we wanted to incorporate some new and creative ideas to increase our attendance and overall quality of the event. Larry Zucker’s suggestions clearly helped us in these areas. Our attendance nearly doubled and our auction was a tremendous success! In particular, the silent auction recommendations were quite valuable and made the bidding much more competitive. Furthermore, Larry’s contacts with various airline companies have allowed us to create some very inexpensive trip packages for our auction and also for our boosters.”


– University of Wyoming

“Larry’s ideas and suggestions are derived from years of auction success. He brought a new way of approaching our auction that was sensitive to the unique dynamics of our community. He’ll breath new life into your auction and open your eyes to new and effective ways to make money. His presentation was incisive and energizing. My volunteers are as excited as they ever have been.”


– Utah State

“Not only did Larry bring expertise and fresh ideas, he inspired and motivated the volunteers to make our auction the best yet. We well exceeded our goals and will continue to use and add upon his ideas.”


– Weber State

“Larry’s knowledge, experience, and insight of this business are incredible. If you want to learn how to raise money and have fun, too, see Larry.”


– University of Utah

“We were extremely impressed with Larry’s presentation. The process he uses to conduct outstanding functions at Fullerton can be used by anyone to conduct the same quality function. He shows you what you need to do to have a success event.”


– Southwest Texas State University

“Larry is a wonderful resource for those hoping to produce an event to raise the profile of their institution or to raise dollars.”


– University of Houston

“Larry Zucker instilled a ‘we can do this’ attitude in us. In just a few short hours, he won over an initially skeptical audience, and we are now planning the first of what we hope will be many successful auctions.”


– Middle Tennessee State

Visit #1 “Your visit here helped us to learn how to simplify what looked very complex in a step by step manner. We look forward to applying this knowledge in our first event next spring.” 

Visit #2 “After consulting with Larry Zucker the first time, our auction was so successful that it didn’t seem advantageous to have him back for a second visit. That was a mistake. On Larry’s second visit, he was able to focus specifically on our auction, and literally showed us dozens of ways to improve a successful event. If he’s been to your institution, have him back; if he hasn’t been there, get him there. The question isn’t “can you afford to hire him”; it’s ‘can you afford not to hire him.'”


– University of South Dakota

“Larry Zucker supplied us with some great new techniques and ideas to create a successful new event. Implementing what we’ve learned, we’re confident that the Big 5 Auction will be a profitable endeavor and will be fun and worthwhile for the attendees. We’re excited about utilizing these techniques to make our Auction unlike any other in the Philadelphia area.”


– The Bid Five (La Salle, Penn, St. Joseph, Temple, Villanova)

“Our committee and board thought your visit was well worth the dollars spent. We are very excited about implementing many of the ideas you suggested. You enlightened us to the upside potential as to the opportunities that are available to raise additional dollars for our foundation. We are excited about continuing to work with you and the resources you allow us to tap.”


– University of East Carolina

“I was ready to chuck our annual auction because it did not seem we were making enough to justify the time and effort. After Larry came I was completely re-energized. I think we can double what we did last year using Larry’s techniques!”


– New Mexico State

Visit #1: “Prior to Larry’s visit, we felt that we were the non-profit auction experts. We are thrilled to say that Larry Zucker’s one-day consultation delivered power-house ideas that will eventually increase our auction’s net revenue in 2001. If there is one thing I can say about auctions NOW, it is this: don’t waste your time begging your community for measly donations like car washes and facials. Travel packages are the way to go. If you have to purchase some items, do it! Larry Zucker calls these “investments.” Non profit organizations don’t talk like this? Once you learn to trust Larry’s ideas, your job will become hassle free.” 

Visit #2 “If you do auctions and galas, then you MUST talk with Larry Zucker. His concrete, innovative and creative ideas will add dollars to your bottom line. He is clearly the expert when it comes to auctions and the wealth of knowledge in his “Auctions A-Z” is unbelievably comprehensive! His services are a good investment toward producing the best and most successful events. We look forward to adding his ideas to our events this fall.”


– University of Nevada-Reno

“Larry Zucker’s presentation was complete in terms of verbal content and physical examples. We implemented some of his suggestions and probably will use others in the future. Those we implemented worked very well. Overall, we’re very pleased with Larry’s performance and believe having him here will show long-term benefits to our organization.”


– University of Montana

“We continue to put into place suggestions made by Larry and his group. We haven’t installed all of the suggestions at once, but as we do make changes to our current auction we continue to see better results. Larry’s experience in the world of auctions has truly helped our situation. We got Larry involved during our 12th year of our auction and he has fine tuned an already successful event”


– Southwest Missouri State

“Larry Zucker’s vision was just what we were seeking! Our fundraisers needed recharging, and Larry has a proven track record in that area. His ideas are unique and valuable, and he took us through the planning process from A to Z so we can proceed with confidence and host a successful auction.”


– Missouri Western

“We were skeptical that an auction could be beneficial to our fund raising needs. After two days with Larry our staff saw the light. Larry’s planning sessions were very insightful and made us zero in on manageable goals for Central’s fund raising future. Larry showed us that an auction can work for a Division II program.”


– Central Missouri State University

“In the time it took Larry and I to drive from the airport to my office he had already offered ideas which were more than worth the cost of his seminar. If you want to hold an auction you have to speak with Larry first.”


– Louisiana State University “LSU”

“The consultation with Larry was well worth the money spent. We had no idea where to begin to conduct such an event and Larry got us on the right track. We now have a good plan in place and look forward to conducting our first auction.”


– Southern Illinois, Edwardsville

“Larry brought a wealth of knowledge and guidance. Larry set-up an much needed guideline for us to work with. After our two days with Larry, our organization understands what it takes to pull off a major fund-raising event. I would recommend Larry Zucker to any organization!”


– Northern Illinois

“I needed an events professional [working in a similar academic and demographic area] to brainstorm ideas with, and Larry was perfect for the job. He didn’t just preach ideology to us, rather he provided my department staff, volunteers, and clients in attendance with concrete, plausible ideas and strategies for maximizing our events. We are implementing several of his ideas for a major fundraising event and expect these ideas to result in a significant increase in our net revenue. He is relaxed, inviting, inquisitive, thorough, and extremely business savvy.”


– De Paul University

“Larry’s presentation condensed ten years of knowledge and experience into a one-day consultation session.”


– Indiana University of Pennsylvania

“So, you think you know about auctions? Hire Larry Zucker and you’ll find out how much you don’t know!! He IS a PRO!”


– Indiana State

“Larry had some great ideas and brought some necessary expertise and guidance needed to take our auction to the next level. We hope to implement many of his ideas and grow our auction for many years to come.”


– Indiana/Purdue (IUPUI)

“The Orange & Black Ball was a big success. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the upgrades to our annual dinner, especially the introduction of silent and live auction items. We had a total of 111 silent items and 10 live items and we raised just over $50,000 – which was twice the amount that I expected for this first-time event. Thanks again for your help in getting our upgraded event off the ground. We are so delighted that our annual dinner has now become a fundraising dinner instead of just a donor recognition event which also highlights our school’s athletic accomplishments.”


– (UOP) University of the Pacific

“Larry Zucker does an excellent job of preparing universities to raise money through a dinner auction. He is clearly a national expert in this area.”


– University of San Francisco

Visit #1: “Larry’s advice was invaluable to our overall success. We far exceeded all financial goals by grossing $115,000 in our first year. Without his expertise we would have overlooked many key elements that contributed significantly to this event.” 

Visit #2: “You will earn four times the amount of Larry’s consulting fee in the first minute of your auction if you use his strategies. He is the guru of BIG TIME auctions. The excitement of our auction is based on the items we have up for bid. The more first-class, large travel items we can offer, the more impressed our guests will be. Having Larry’s items in our auction immediately brings a definite respect to our event. Larry Zucker is loved by the visionary and hated by the insecure.”


– University of California, Davis

“Excellent information and organizational technique. The bottom line is to manage the event from the point of view of the consumer and create a win-win relationship for the organization and attendees simultaneously.”


– St. Mary Regional Medical Center

“Larry Zucker shatters the myths surrounding fundraising events. He presents creative, value-driven and proven techniques along with entertaining anecdotes that illustrate the do’s and don’ts of events. I would highly recommend his eye-opening training sessions for staff and volunteers interested in taking their events to higher levels of success.”


– Santa Ana Boys & Girls Club

Visit #1: “Larry brings both a wealth of experience to evaluate your current events and a tool kit of good ideas to upgrade them. Larry’s enthusiasm for his field, his wide network of contacts and demonstrated success at Fullerton re-invigorated my staff.” 

Visit #2: “Larry Zucker brings unique concepts to the table. Implementing Zucker’s concepts will invigorate any auction. Well worth the expense.”


– San Jose State University

“Thank you for the time that you spent with us. We had a follow-up meeting and everyone was very complimentary of you and the information that you had to offer. We are now in the process of evaluating our current event and determining ways of implementing many of your suggestions. The day that we spent with you has rejuvenated us and I am confident that our event this year will be better than ever.”


– Sacramento State

“If you are contemplating the inception of a major event for your athletic program or if you currently operate a special event-the consulting services of Larry Zucker will enable an organization the ability to operate an efficient, organized and highly affective event. Spending a full day with Larry was very enlightening and informational. I would recommend to any organization the services of Larry Zucker.”


– Humboldt State

“We learned more in one day than we could have learned in ten years of putting on auctions. Fresno State is excited to implement the new strategies outlined by Larry A. Zucker. Larry established the standard for auctions and special fundraising events. This information will bring our BIG Bid Auction to a new level.”


– Fresno State

“We were looking for a way to take our annual Festival of Trees Gala and Auction event to the next level of profitability. We contracted with fundraising consultant Larry Zucker who helped us implement a fresh approach to the auction side of our event, which enabled us to realize a thirty-four percent increase for a net profit of $67,000.”


– Emanuel Medical Center (Turlock)

“Larry’s workshop really pointed out the enormous ‘friend and fund raising’ benefits to be gained from special events that are well planned and masterfully executed.”


– City College of San Francisco

“Our auction was stuck on the same net dollar amount for the past six years. During that time, we thought we had done everything possible to upgrade the event. This year we decided to look for outside help in order to improve the auction, as well as the bottom line. Larry Zucker evaluated what we were doing and gave us fresh new ideas. Most important: was how to involve the entire University in the auction, and how to solicit the right kinds of auction items for our market.”


– Chico State

“Larry Zucker, is one of a kind. Using a no nonsense, thoughtful business type approach to building a successful fund raising auction, he more than delivers when it comes to getting to the core of what has made his auction events so very successful. Larry spent a day with our organizing committee and shares completely the specifics of what to do and how to do it. His presentations are not theory, but based upon what has been event tested. His passion for support of nonprofit events hits home when he captures the essence of presenting the auction participants with tremendous value and let’s the value do the selling for the auction. Larry Zucker sets the challenge high and his experience says it can be done. I recommend his services highly and we are anticipating great things as an outcome of his one day with us.”


– California State University, Monterey Bay

“For the past 6 years our Auction had been averaging about $15,000 until we had the pleasure of working with Larry Zucker. His strategies and ideas of raising big dollars were very helpful in doubling our auction this past year to over $30,000 in its first year after meeting with him. He gave us ideas for a Live Auction which actually grossed more than 1/2 of the total auction this year. We found his suggestions to reaching out to the people whom we deal with on a day to day basis very helpful & successful. If you plan on having an Auction this is the person you need to speak with first. The California State Fair was extremely pleased with his visit & plan to continue a relationship with him.”


– California State Fair – Sacramento

“We just completed our consultative weekend with Larry Zucker. After having spent 2 intensive days with Larry reviewing his processes and experience I have no doubt that our event will far exceed our previous plans. The weekend far exceeded my expectations and the items discussed will impact not only our next auction but every year in the future. His ideas are innovative, fun and make for a much smoother event. I can not wait to tell you how well we do.”


– University of Maryland

“Larry promised a full day of information, tips and suggestions to make our Wine Auction better. He more than made good on that promise, I couldn’t stop writing down good ideas. Our event will be more successful at raising funds for our Boys and Girls Clubs.”


– Boys & Girls Club of Garden Grove

“Larry Zucker brings unique concepts to the table. Implementing Zucker’s concepts will invigorate any auction. Well worth the expense.”


– Cal Poly San Luis Obispo