Tips on How to Price your Charity Auction Items

Pricing your silent auction items can be a tough job and it’s often difficult to know where to begin.  Charity Fundraising has prepared some tips and advice for creating starting bids for your charity auction items.

Before you begin, let’s review some strategies and tips to help you price your items.

The Crowd:  Consider your audience and your large donors.  Many charities will reach out to their large donors prior to the event and provide them with a sampling of the items that will be available.  These donors will show their interest or disinterest and provide insight about how much they might pay for such an item.  This strategy should be helpful in targeting your minimum bid. Consider pricing your items according to a “buyers” or a “sellers” market.  If you have more items to sell than guests in the room, this is a buyer’s market.  Because there is a selection and your guests have choices, price the items slightly lower than if you were working in a seller’s market.

The Auction Item:  If your item is on consignment basis, this means that there are no upfront costs to your organization until the item sells, you may want to lock in your profit by starting the bids at 10% to 20% above the consignment rate.  This usually causes increased multiple bids on an item. It is helpful to select a round number.  Silent auction items that are valued at less than $100 should end in a 5 and items valued greater than $100 should end in a zero.  If an item is valued as “priceless”, however it is important to select an opening bid that is low enough to encourage bidding but not so high that guests are not able to bid on the item.

Along with structuring the opening bids, remember to think about minimum raises for your items.  Like opening bids, minimum raises should be round numbers.  A well thought out bid plan can help your event run efficiently and not linger on while bids increase for hours.

The Event:  A good rule of thumb is to note that live auctions typically yield 75% of the items actual value.  Silent auctions typically yield 50% of the items actual value.  So when you are structuring the type of event you want to host, these are important statistics to keep in mind.

If you would like assistance from Charity Fundraising when planning your next live or silent auction, we’d love to help.  For more assistance in planning your upcoming charity auction, contact Charity Fundraising today.