Silent auctions raise money and bring in new donors. They are a great and effective way to promote enthusiasm and support among your network, staff, board members, and donors. Be that as it may, these events take a lot of work to pull off.

We have found that in each successful silent auction there were three key components that must be evident. A non-profit must:

1)     Be organized
A successful, less-stressful auction is only attained by starting organized and staying organized. This is not exclusive to tracking your auction items and being firm with deadlines. There are many vital components to a successful auction that must be organized in advance:

  • recruiting enough staff to be available to answer questions
  • maintaining auction displays regularly
  • process checkouts
  • seeking out sponsors who will write a check in return for marketing considerations or free tickets
  • remembering to not only plan but to promote the events through your networks, board, online presence, and donor base.

2)     Be Mindful of Donors – Always!
Remember to be mindful and considerate of your guests. Make this a fun time for your guests and they will want to attend the event year after year. After all, silent auctions are often times leave the “first impression” for first time donors. These first time guests who have no connection to your organization will often be willing to donate, which can lead to a longer-term connection. However, this longer-term connection needs cultivation. While most non-profits send thank you notes after a donation, most do not cultivate these donors for the long run. It is important to see donors as the most crucial aspect of your organization. Without donors, there would be no organization.

3)     Be Creative
Offering unique auction items creates excitement. The more buzz your silent auction item receives, the more bids it will likely generate. It is important to maintain standard gifts, such as gift cards and food baskets; however, being creative with your auction item selection will not only generate excitement but also give you a larger audience reach.