Local TV Personality Tom Crawford & Art Lover Dorothy Kronemer Specialize In Non-Profit Benefit Auctions
Jeff Walker, Entertainment Writer
While a handful of fundraising organizers will use an auctioneer to help raise funds for charitable events, often by not choosing to use a licensed auctioneer they end up losing out on a ton of money they could have otherwise earned for the charity. Just because your brother in-law is personable, or Mike in accounting is the life of the party, doesn't necessarily qualify them to emcee and or oversee a live auction fundraiser.
If your organization or non-profit is serious about hosting an event, and a live auction featuring quality items are up for bid, than it's best to contract with professional auctioneers that not only have the best interest of the organization in mind, but by utilizing their skills will help promote the organization as well as do all they can to earn your event top dollar from the podium.
15 years ago former ABC News 4 weatherman Tom Crawford, now co-host of the channel's very popular 'Lowcountry Live' decided to become a licensed auctioneer. Due to his local celebrity Crawford was often asked to emcee an event and assist in describing items up for auction. However, he soon realized as much as he was embellishing items, the auctioneer (often someone not qualified) didn't have the same enthusiasm. That disconnect soon spurred him to enroll in the Southeastern School of Auctioneering in upstate South Carolina.
In less than a years time Crawford became a licensed auctioneer and further certified as a BAS aka Benefit Auction Specialist. Soon the combination of his clean cut TV image, congeniality, and new found dedication to the auctioneering craft had companies and organizations calling to utilize his services. Although Crawford is qualified to oversee a variety of auctions he's dedicated his second calling to helping 501 (c)3's, non-profit organizations groups with a dedicated mission, much like Lowcountry Food Bank's quest to combat food insecurity.
As Crawford explains, "I saw a need where I could best utilize my talents." Although he charges a fee for his services, he almost always returns a portion back to the non-profit. "I'll cut a check, maybe for as much as a $1000. It's all based on how much the benefit auction raised. But giving back is part of the reason I love what I do as an auctioneer."
It was that same calling that attracted Dorothy Kronemer, an IBM corporate business executive to take the auctioneering plunge. After spending 35 years travelling the globe, visiting 55 countries, and living in exotic locations like Hong Kong, Vienna, South Africa, and Paris Kronemer decided to call Daniel Island her permanent home. Her more than three decade career provided Kronemer to fulfill her passion for art, design, and history.
Having had a former Mount Pleasant residence, Kronemer admits settling down in the low country of South Carolina was an easy decision. "History, beauty, charm, and art, Charleston has it all." Even though she knew no one in Charleston at the time, she packed up her home in Paris and made the move. As fate or divine intervention would have it, Kronemer met Crawford casually at several low country auction benefits. The occasional hello soon lead to the couple dating, with her expressing she too would like to be an auctioneer.
Kronemer pursued her new found interest with the same dedication she gained from the corporate world, and a little more than a year later she became licensed, becoming one of a select few to ace (score 100) on the auctioneer's exam. "Whether negotiating a business deal or beginning a new career, I like to be fully prepared." Kudos to her!
Now four years later Crawford and Kronemer not only have a personal relationship but a business relationship as well. Although the two partner under the same auctioneering umbrella, they have separate entities. For many years Crawford has been operating under the name Ultimate Benefit Auctions with Kronemer deciding to call her operation appropriately Art of the Auction, using her life long appreciation of art to aid benefit auctions.
While the two sometimes work independently, Crawford discovered they work best as a team. "Dorothy is incredibly knowledgeable. She's passionate about helping everyone she partners with achieving the ultimate goals."
Crawford adds there is more to auctioning than just showing up at an event. "Dorothy and I don't take on every organization that calls us without doing our homework. She's really good at that. Not everyone who calls us is a perfect fit for Dorothy or me." Dorothy adds, "If it's someone new or the event is new we'll do some background work. You have to know the people and the organization you're helping if you want to provide them the best overall experience."
Together they've helped raise funds for more than 40 low country organizations such as the Leukemia Foundation, Southeastern Wildlife, SPCA, American Heart Association. March of Dimes, Footlight Players, and Hollings Cancer Center as well as numerous schools and civic organizations.
According to Kronemer, witnessing the fruits of their labor is what keeps her going. "I spent my entire life bringing businesses together. It was profitable for me and it allowed me to see the world, especially spending my downtime in museums. Now I get to help non-profits raise much needed funds to help our local community. I love being a small part of that."
Crawford couldn't agree more. "It's not the sole reason I became an auctioneer, but working specifically with non-profits is its own reward. We get to make a positive difference where we work and where we live."
While Kronemer focuses her attention on the numerous non-profits that call on her and Crawford year after year, she still offers her expertise to local artists. "Having travelled the world and gaining an appreciation for art, I understand how difficult it is for artists to sell their paintings. I'll work with local artists and galleries to help them understand that an art auction might be the best way to bring potential buyers to them."
As Crawford's website indicates, 'you'll get expert consultation prior to your event and red carpet service the day of' including Tom and Dorothy working the room to ensure no detail is overlooked. Over the past several years Crawford has helped raise $15 million per year for non-profits in the southeast.
Kronemer's site expresses the overall sentiment she and Crawford hope to portray to potential clients. No two events are alike and helping to support your event, as your licensed auctioneer, will take into consideration all your goals, theme, objectives and success factors. Combined Crawford and Kronemer are vision oriented.