A live charity auction’s bare essentials are two-fold: its charity auction items and its guests.

When push comes to shove, the venue, decorations, and dinner/cocktail menu are secondary to the primary concern of the auction.

Details are merely the icing on the cake! And what is the point of icing with no cake?

So let’s dive in to the 3 common problems of live auction events:

1) Auction Item Overload

Problem: What is the proper number of auction items?

5, 10, 15, 20, or more?

Finding the ideal number of items for your live auction seems easy enough. Most nonprofit organizations spend close to a year planning a live auction event. In which time, attaining exciting auction items is a primary goal.

But here’s the catch…

What takes months to plan takes only a few hours to execute.

It is for this reasons imperative that a live auction does not overload its auction items.

Listening to an auctioneer chant “1000, 1150, 1200, 1250, 1300, 1350, 1400, holding at 1,400…” will only hold the attention spans of guests for a limited amount of time. It won’t be long before disinterest will grow and chatter will begin.

We recommend no more than 8-12 live auction items.

Drawing out the live auction portion of the event for hours on end will do nothing for your organization aside from trivializing your exciting auction items. The amount of money you make at a live auction can significantly drop off the more auction items you pile into the event.

What’s the solution?


Try a Super Silent Auction.

Super silent auctions are comprised of exciting and valuable auction items that would be suitable for a live auction. However, these silent auctions can save your guests from sitting through a seemingly endless event. Respect your guest’s time. Respect the donated items too! If properly placed with special lighting, auction items can be given there due attention through a super silent auctions and announcing them from the live auction stage. Prioritize Special Auction items through Super Silent Auctions>>



2) Too few Auction Items

Problem: We only have 2-3 quality auction items for the upcoming event.

Sometimes, a live auction event is not planned as thoroughly as an organization would have wished. Sometimes, an organization thinks that 2-3 auction items is all that they need!

It is just as easy to have too many auction items, as it is to have too few auction items.

So what do you do if you’ve never acquired more than 2-3 auction items?

First, ask. Ask past sponsors, board members, and local companies in the community for auction item donations or auction item backings. Nonprofit relationships are the backbone to any successful event. Growing and networking relationships builds a stronger organization during and after an event.

Second, use us! Our zero-risk Autographed Celebrity, Music and Sports Memorabilia and exclusive VIP Experiences and Vacation Packages are crowd-pleasers at any live auction event. Learn more!

3) Preparing for the Guest list

Problem: We are going to have more guests than ever before.

 As an organization grows, so do its supporters. A successful organization with a successful annual event will continue to increase its guest list.

But is there a limit to how big the guest list can be?

Our answer: No!

Whether your live auction event has grown from 50 to 100 guests or from 200 to 600 guests, the plausibility of the event rests in the preparation.

Handling a larger crowd than what is standard for your organization can be simple and straightforward – with the right help. Depending on the number of guests, this is where having an auctioneer at the helm of your event and possibly hiring professional bid spotters (ringmen) is necessary. Contact Charity Fundraising, so our fundraising professionals can offer their years of experience to help you with your specific charity auction event needs.