About Karen

Unparalelled Experience

Over three decades of unparalleled mastery conducting benefit auctions and offering strategic fundraising consultancy services with unmatched expertise.

Unparalelled Experience

Over three decades of unparalleled mastery conducting benefit auctions and offering strategic fundraising consultancy services with unmatched expertise.

Orchestrated 3,000 benefit auctions, raising just under $1 Billion from the stage for nonprofit organizations globally, demonstrating unparalleled dedication and impact.

Orchestrated 3,000 benefit auctions, raising just under $1 Billion from the stage for nonprofit organizations globally, demonstrating unparalleled dedication and impact.

Guiding nonprofits to achieve their fundraising goals with innovative strategies and forward-thinking approaches, Karen Sorbo's visionary leadership sets her apart in the industry.

Guiding nonprofits to achieve their fundraising goals with innovative strategies and forward-thinking approaches, Karen Sorbo's visionary leadership sets her apart in the industry.

Demonstrated success in cultivating strong donor relationships and exceeding financial goals, earning recognition as a trusted leader in the philanthropic community.

Demonstrated success in cultivating strong donor relationships and exceeding financial goals, earning recognition as a trusted leader in the philanthropic community.

With three decades in the world of benefit auctioneering and philanthropy, my passion for using my voice as an instrument of change has only grown stronger. Each event is an opportunity to make a difference, to amplify the voices of those in need, and to rally support for causes close to my heart. I am honored to have played a part in so many impactful initiatives, and I look forward to continuing this journey of advocacy and empowerment.

Karen Sorbo

Karen Sorbo Benefit Auctioneer and Fundraising Consultant

Industry Pioneer

Karen Sorbo is a pioneering Benefit Auctioneer and Fundraising Consultant with over 30 years of experience. Renowned for her transformative approach to fundraising events and her unparalleled ability to exceed client expectations, Karen stands as the sole benefit auctioneer to have achieved such a monumental milestone.

Karen Sorbo Benefit Auctioneer and Fundraising Consultant
Karen Sorbo Benefit Auctioneer and Fundraising Consultant and John Schneider - Charitainment Auction Fundraising

3,000 Auctions

With a track record of raising just shy of $1 billion from the stage and orchestrating almost 3,000 benefit auctions, Karen Sorbo specializes in ‘Charitainment,’ a term she coined to describe her unique blend of entertainment and fundraising. Her visionary approach has established her as an industry trailblazer and leader in fundraising innovation.

Dynamic Personality

Karen Sorbo’s achievements speak volumes about her leadership and success in the field of benefit auctioneering and fundraising consultancy.

Notable milestones include serving as the President of the Karen Sorbo Foundation, driving initiatives to address critical global issues, and receiving recognition from prestigious organizations and publications.

We are still in shock and awe…we could not be more pleased, and we attribute this incredible success in large part to you. Thank you for your passion and commitment to the cause…You are a dynamic spirit!

~ Step Up Program | Augsburg College, Minneapolis, MN

We are so blessed to have you at our events. Your energy, ideas, caring and enthusiastic spirit, and your whole beautiful person just bring so much to an event. Thank you again for all you did to make the gala an ‘over the top’ huge success. We far exceeded our financial goals. You helped us raise over $650,000.

~ Treehouse for Youth

Our friend, the lovely Karen Sorbo…you are amazing!!! I know you hear that all the time. Whenever we see you at different events, it is evident how taken people are by you. You are a great asset to so many wonderful organizations.

~ Summit Academy OCI, Minneapolis, MN

You’re just extraordinary! We deeply appreciate your compassion and generosity in helping us raise funds. You showed us your enthusiasm and positive outlook when we were not sure about our ability. Your talent is phenomenal!

~ The Chamber Music Society of Minnesota

Charity Auction Paddles - Karen Sorbo Benefit Auctioneer and Fundraising Consultant

A Timeline of Impact

1991

Awarded Mrs. Minnesota International Title

1993

Graduated from Missouri Auction School and Worldwide College of Auctioneering.

1994

Established Karen Sorbo & Associates, assembling a dedicated auction team.

1996

Achieved a significant milestone by conducting over 100 benefit auctions annually.

2002

Named NAA Counselor of the Year

2009

Was a judge at the NAA National Auctioneer Association Annual ICC Championship and transitioned to Professional Benefit Auctioneer status.

2010

Initiated the Auction Associates mentoring program, providing invaluable training and support to aspiring female auctioneers.

2013

Established the Karen Sorbo Foundation, produced the acclaimed documentary film 'Invisible Ones', authored the best-selling book 'Your Inner Butterfly', and transformed orphanages in Port Elizabeth and Cape Town, South Africa.

2014

Constructed a bunkhouse to provide shelter for orphaned children in Kenya, Africa.

2015

Continued to support orphanages through proceeds from book sales.

2016

Honored with the Paul Harris Fellow Award in recognition of service to the Rotary Foundation, their highest honor. Expanded the mentoring program for auction associates, providing comprehensive training and support for aspiring auctioneers regardless of age or gender.

2017

Launched an online fundraising platform to reach a wider audience and support additional charitable causes.

2020

After raising $13 million from stage in a single event to support nonprofits, quickly adapted to new challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic by pioneering virtual fundraising events.

2021

Received industry recognition for outstanding contributions to fundraising and philanthropy.

2022

Expanded international outreach efforts, forging partnerships with organizations in new regions to address global challenges.

2023

Celebrated three decades of unwavering dedication to benefit auctioneering and philanthropy, while eagerly anticipating future initiatives.

Distinguished Awards

Women You Need To Know | Women Speakers Association

Women of Influence Speaker Series | Minnesota Monthly Magazine

Woman of Note | Children’s Hospital Association

Top Five Benefit Auctioneers | NAA

International Who’s Who of Entrepreneurs | International Who’s Who of Entrepreneurs

Mrs. Minnesota International 1991 | Mrs. International® Pageant

Education

Dale Carnegie Training, Professional Speaker, 1990

Missouri Auction School Certified, Licensed Auctioneer, 1993

World Wide College of Auctioneering Certified, Licensed Auctioneer 1993

Professional Experience

1993 to present – Professional Fundraising Auctioneer

1991 to present – Freelance Motivational Speaker

2018 to present – Ordained Minister

1991 to present – Certified Life Coach

2023 to present – Resilience Coach

Karen Sorbo Benefit Auctioneer and Fundraising Consultant

Meet Our Associates

Karen Sorbo is at the forefront, leveraging decades of experience as a premier auctioneer and fundraiser. Alongside a trusted network, she ensures remarkable outcomes and global impact from every stage.

karen sorbo associate auctioneer Sarah Jean Knox

Sarah Jean Knox

Sarah Jean Knox brings a decade of experience as a Minnesota professional benefit and fundraising auctioneer. Her blend of lighthearted humor and genuine care creates an engaging atmosphere, encouraging guests to eagerly participate in bidding.

karen sorbo associate auctioneer Hannah Kramer

Hannah Kramer

Hannah Kramer, a 2011 graduate of the World Wide College of Auctioneering, combines her passion for contemporary dance with her dedication to fundraising. With warmth and sophistication, she captivates audiences, inspiring giving and contributing to the well-being of diverse communities.

karen sorbo associate auctioneer Emily Engberg

Emily Engberg

Emily Engberg, a vibrant TV personality, leverages her humor and people skills to captivate audiences and drive fundraising success. Recognized for her community service since 2000, Emily's engaging presence and genuine connection with people make her a sought-after auctioneer.

karen sorbo associate auctioneer Tony Wisely

Tony Wisely

Tony Wisely, a seasoned auctioneer with over 20 years of experience, empowers organizations to achieve their fundraising goals. His professional expertise, honed at the Missouri Auction School, coupled with his champion-level skills, has helped raise millions for over 175 organizations.

karen sorbo associate auctioneer Patty Brunn

Patty Brunn

Patty Brunn, a certified benefit and fundraising auctioneer, masterfully balances audience engagement with highlighting generosity. With a dynamic personality and authentic compassion, Patty effectively communicates an organization's mission, inspiring generous support in a down-to-earth, engaging manner.

karen sorbo associate auctioneer Theresa Farrell

Theresa Farrell

Theresa Farrell is a Benefit Auctioneer, Development Consultant and retired ballerina with almost two decades of fundraising expertise. She is the co-founder and executive director emeritus of American Contemporary Ballet. Additionally, Theresa serves as a Development Specialist for The Wende Museum and sits on the fundraising committee for Girls Inc Los Angeles.

P.O. Box 3644, Minneapolis, MN 55403
Karen@KarenSorbo.com  |  612-868-4929

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