Many nonprofits have a fundraising event that includes a silent auction. And it’s easy to understand why. A silent auction is pretty easy to organize and adds a revenue stream to an event, making it more profitable. Plus, silent auctions are fun for event attendees.
If you have a silent auction in your future, here are 5 tips for making it successful:
1. Get items that people can’t easily get. Offer unique silent auction ideas unique, handmade items or experiences that attendees can’t get anywhere else. Keep in mind what your audience will find interesting. Lunch or dinner with a local celebrity usually makes a good auction item. Or a chance to sit in the broadcast booth at a sporting event might be a hit at your event. Just stay tuned to the interests of your guests.
2. Group items together into packages. Instead of having too many small items, group several items together into a package. Put them in an attractive basket with beautiful wrapping, and you’ll have an eye-catching display item that will bring more money than the individual items alone would bring.
3. Display your items attractively. Make sure your tables look nice. Add a nice tablecloth if you can. The more visually inviting your items are, the more likely people will be to bid.
4. Make sure you have plenty of ink pens and test them all beforehand to make sure they work. This seems kind of silly, but it’s really important. You don’t want event attendees to have trouble bidding because of old pens that have run out of ink!
5. Give attendees plenty of warning before you close the auction. Let them know when they have 15 minutes left, 10 minutes left, and 5 minutes left. This will help increase the excitement and prompt lots of last-minute bidding.
After your event, have a wrap-up meeting with your event committee or volunteers to talk about what went well and what needs improvement for next time.
And don’t forget to thank everyone – item donors, attendees, bidders, and volunteers. Sincere appreciation will help set up your next silent auction for success!