How Non-Profits Benefit from Appraisal Consultations


Tips & Tricks | PUBLISHED 06.07.19 | Jennifer Ventresca
BRG helps charity make more money

Charity Vase...

During the late summer months, volunteers for a homeless shelter in Fairfield,CT prepare for their largest annual fundraiser — a three-day tag sale featuring items that are donated to the organization throughout the year. Tables covered with everything from artwork to coffee mugs and floor space dedicated to furniture and larger items fill the tag sale space. The volunteers methodically tag each item with a price before moving on to the next piece.

One of the volunteers has a hunch that there must be some “treasures” in the great mass of stuff they are processing, but without the experience and expertise in determining proper values, everything is a guess. With a little research, the volunteer discovers Black Rock Galleries (BRG), a full-service estate liquidation company that provides appraisal services. The volunteer finds that BRG is very receptive to helping the charity properly valuate and price the items earmarked for the sale.

The volunteer invites BRG to meet with the rest of the team along with the executive director of the shelter and BRG immediately gets to work. While helping the volunteers appropraitly price their wares, the BRG appraisal team quickly spots a vase mixed in with a seemingly limitless assortment of generic porcelain and glass. The vase, originally priced by the volunteers for fifteen dollars, sparks further conversation when BRG explains that it is truly undervalued.

Assumed to be just another pretty, decorative vase by the organization’s volunteers, the BRG team notices its Famille Rose bottle-form shape with exquisite hand-enameling of butterflies and floral sprig decorations over a white ground. The 15 inch tall vase bears blue calligraphic script markings under-glaze on the base. Although six-character markings on the base translate to “Emperor Guangxu,” the vase shows none of the typical signs of aging and use that are typical with pieces of that period.

At the shelter’s request, BRG consigns and sells the vase in an online auction. Because of the pristine nature of the vase, BRG lists it as, “possibly of the period, but unconfirmed.” At the close of the auction, that same vase (originally priced for $15 by the shelter) sells for over $4,300 — a 20,000 percent increase in revenue for the homeless shelter. That’s one spectacular jump!

Don’t be Left Out Gold...

Throughout the year, one local charity receives an inordinate amount of donations, which the organization sells in order to fund their mission. One of the charity’s board members has a conversation with BRG after the board member uses BRG’s services for a personal estate downsizing.

During the conversation, BRG suggests to the board member that they might be able to help the organization achieve higher sales prices. The board member reaches out to the key stakeholders within the organization, mentioning BRG’s services and capabilities. After a few discussions between the charity’s key players exploring the possibility of BRG partnering with the organization, BRG gets the “green light” to help them sell their merchandise for the best prices possible.

Within a few weeks, BRG identifies undervalued merchandise (mostly in gold and silver jewelry pieces amongst mounds of costume jewelry) and helps the organization bring in over $12,000 worth of additional proceeds — all because of their expertise. That’s $12,000 in just a few weeks!


Learn how BRG can help your fundraising goals, call 203-335-0000 or email us.

Keywords: Non-profit, not for profit, charity, foundation, hospital, homeless shelter, society, association, charitable, organization, tag sale, white elephant sale, church, synagogue, rummage sale, fundraiser, auction, silent auction, live auction, online auction